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Black History Month Lesson Plans and Teaching Resources


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A Brief Overview of Black History Month

Black History Month officially began in 1976, when President Gerald R. Ford asked Americans to "seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history." Every year since then, every American president has dedicated February as African American History Month.

The first celebration of African American contributions to the United States was established by the historian Carter G. Woodson. The event was held in February 1926 and was called Negro History Week. The week in February included the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809) and Frederick Douglass (born in February 1818). Over the years, more Americans, black and white, joined the celebrations each February. In the 1960s, the civil rights movement further emphasized the impact of African Americans in American culture and throughout United States history.

Bring the celebration of Black History Month into your classroom with these activities, lesson plans, book resources, and interactive histories.

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Susan Cheyney

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