Happy Black History Month!
If you are looking for more ways to celebrate the amazing contributions of Black Americans in history, here are 10 Studies Weekly Online videos you can use to engage students whether teaching in-class or remotely. Log into your Studies Weekly Online account and click the Watch Video button at the top-right side of the article to view and share these with your class.
The Supreme Court and Dred Scott
Dred Scott was born into slavery and sold to Dr. John Emerson. He moved with Emerson to the Wisconsin Territory where slavery was illegal, but Scott had to go to court to try and obtain his freedom. Eventually, his case went to the Supreme Court. Sadly, the Supreme Court denied Scott his freedom, but his determination inspired abolitionists like Abraham Lincoln to advocate for racial equality. Through Scott’s example, children see positive things can happen when you don’t give up.
In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation to free four million enslaved African Americans. However, many landowners refused to accept this proclamation. Determined to end slavery for good, President Lincoln and other abolitionists proposed the 13th Amendment, which Congress passed on January 31, 1865.
Abolitionists helped enslaved people escape to freedom by creating the Underground Railroad: a system of secret codes, paths, and hideaways with “conductors” at different stops to guide them along their journey. Even though the law severely punished abolitionists for helping people escape slavery, they did it because they knew it was the right thing to do. Their stories can inspire students to help others and make good decisions – no matter what.
Abolitionist Harriet Tubman was a real American hero. When her enslaver died in 1849, she made the daring journey from Bucktown, Maryland to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania alone. But she didn’t settle for a comfortable life of freedom. Tubman made 19 trips along the Underground Railroad and helped about 70 people escape slavery. Though enslavers offered a $40,000 award for her capture, she was never caught. After the Civil War, she worked to improve the lives of African Americans, women, and the elderly.
Author and abolitionist Frederick Douglass was born into slavery and separated from his mother when he was just a baby. He secretly taught himself how to read and escaped to New York at age 21. Realizing he could use the power of words to change society, he wrote a book about his life, which convinced many people that slavery was wrong. Douglas continued to advocate for equal rights until he died on February 20, 1895. His story teaches students that learning how to read and write can help them make a positive difference in their communities.
Booker T. Washington
Educator Booker T. Washington believed the best way for Black Americans to fight against racial prejudice was to get a good education and develop job skills. Unfortunately, segregation laws prevented Black children from attending the same schools as white children. To improve the lives of African Americans, Washington became a teacher and founded the Tuskegee Institute, a school where Black students could receive a quality college education. Now Tuskegee University, the school stands as a memorial to Washington’s efforts to promote racial equality.
Civil Rights Movement: The March on Washington
Although slavery had ended after the Civil War, African Americans were still not treated fairly. Segregation laws forced white and Black Americans to attend different schools, eat in different restaurants, and use different bathrooms.
This video gives students a good overview of how African Americans protested these laws during the Civil Rights Movement.
One day in December of 1955, Rose Parks stepped onto a city bus, tired after a long day’s work. She sat in the middle of the bus, knowing if more white passengers came on, she would have to move to the “colored” section in the back. But that day, Parks decided she’d had enough of racial inequality and refused to give up her seat. Her courage inspired a bus boycott that led to equal rights for Black American citizens. Today, she is known as the “mother of the Civil Rights Movement.”
Martin Luther King Jr.
Civil Rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. led peaceful demonstrations and met with government leaders to protest unjust laws against African Americans. On August 28, 1963, King gave his “I Have a Dream Speech” in front of over 200,000 people. Thanks to his influence, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, ending segregation for good.
Barack Obama Inaugurated
Barack Obama became the first African American president of the United States on January 20, 2009. About 1.8 million people came to his inauguration and many more watched it on television and online. It was the largest audience to witness a president take the oath of office.
This video helps students appreciate why the election of President Obama was a significant event in African American history.
- Ethnic Groups in Africa
- The Amistad
- Slavery and the Law
- Benjamin Banneker
- Missouri Compromise
- Henry Clay Intro
- Garrett Morgan
- Majory Stoneman Douglas
- The Black Wall Street
- The 15th Amendment
- Is the Reconstruction Complete?
- Sarah Breedlove McWilliams Walker
- The Tuskegee Airmen
- Thurgood Marshall
- Bessie Coleman
- Civil Rights Activist: Ruby Bridges
- Selma to Montgomery March
- Donna Beisel on Rosa Parks
- Civil Rights Movement: James Meredith
- Fannie Lou Hamer
- Ella Baker
- Obama Taking the Oath of Office
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