Teaching African American History



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Brown v. Board of Education - See our separate Brown v. Board of Education page.

California Newsreel
"...a non-profit film distribution organization that specializes in films from Africa and the African Diaspora. It is one of the oldest and most notable independent media distributors in the US
Our Library of African Cinema has a diverse collection of films from throughout the African continent; they are thematically focused on issues such as post-colonial conflict, gender relations, economic development, health, human rights and cultural life. The majority of the films are made by African producers and directors. By providing historical and cultural contexts for all its titles, the 64-page Library of African Cinema catalog also serves as a resource guide for those with an interest in African representation on film and video.
California Newsreel's African American Perspectives series covers a range of subjects from American slavery to post-colonial theory, including African American cultural life, history, and literature. Its 50 titles comprise the country's most-comprehensive collection of distinguished and critically acclaimed documentaries on the black experience."

Columbia University - Center for Contemporary Black History

Columbia University - Institute for Research in African-American Studies

DiscoverySchool.com - (dead link)

  • Understanding Slavery
    "Learn about the history of slavery around the world. Follow the journey of one man who was enslaved in both Africa and the United States. Then, travel back in time to Richmond, Virginia in 1845 to witness a slave auction. Along the way, you'll learn just how pervasive the institution of slavery was in the United States and how it differed from slavery abroad."

Florida Memory Project

  • Mary McLeod Bethune
    "...founded the Daytona Normal and Industrial School for Negro Girls, now Bethune-Cookman College. Bethune was active in the fight against racism and served as an unofficial advisor to President Roosevelt...The records include photographs, letters and drafts of sections of the biography."

The History of Jim Crow
Explore the complex African-American experience of segregation from the 1870s through the 1950s
"...an educator's site that presents teachers with new historical resources and teaching ideas on one of the most shameful periods in American history, an era of segregation, lynching, and disfranchisement of African Americans that tore at the very fabric of the nation."
Sections include: Television ; History ; Geography ; American Literature ; Teacher's Resources.

Jump, Jim Crow, or What Difference Did Emancipation Make?
"A teaching resource in American History created by Lynn Jones, a librarian at the Teaching Library, UC Berkeley, for the California Heritage Project, and the BANDL Librarians' Network."
Sections include: What's Jim Crow ; Jim Crow Timeline ; Freemen's Bureau ; Black Codes ; Stories ; Laws ; Images ; Songs ; Glossary ; For Teachers ; Related Web Resources.

Mariners' Museum

National Geographic Online

  • African-American Cowboy Photo Gallery
    "Many people are unaware about how black cowboys were highly instrumental in settling the West. Get roped in at..."
  • Blues Highway Photo Gallery
    "Travel the Blues 'Highway' that millions of blacks traversed as they migrated from the South to Chicago through the images of photographer William Albert Allard. See the places and people that keep the blues alive..."
  • Touchstone: A Visit to the Civil Rights Memorial
    "Take five minutes to travel with Peggy Steele Clay to the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama. Watch the memories unfold..."
  • The Underground Railroad
    "Retrace the perilous route taken by slaves and learn about the abolitionists, both white and black, that risked their safety in order to help liberate fleeing slaves."

PBS - Africans in America
"America's journey through slavery is presented in four parts. For each era, you'll find a historical Narrative, a Resource Bank of images, documents, stories, biographies, and commentaries, and a Teacher's Guide for using the content of the Web site and television series in U.S. history courses."

PBS - American Experience - Citizen King (January 2004)
Companion website to the PBS broadcast of the documentary by Orlando Bagwell and Noland Walker.
"Citizen King explores the last five years in King's life by drawing on the personal recollections and eyewitness accounts of friends, movement associates, journalists, law enforcement officers, and historians, to illuminate this little-known chapter in the story of America's most important and influential moral leader."
Sections include: Video ; Opinions ; The Film & More ; Special Features ; Timeline ; Maps ; Teacher's Guide.

PBS - American Experience - The Murder of Emmett Till (January 2003)
Website companion to the TV broadcast
"The brutal killing that mobilized the civil rights movement."
Sections include: Confession: Read the killers' shocking admission of guilt ; Segregation: Chicago and Mississippi, then and now, through the eyes of teens ; Forum: Experts answer questions about civil rights and Emmett Till's story ; The Film ; Special Features ; Timeline ; People & Events ; Teacher's Guide.

PBS - American Experience - The Time of the Lincolns (January 2004)
"A companion to the film Abraham and Mary Lincoln: A House Divided, produced and directed by David Grubin...offer insights into topics in American history including women's rights, slavery, abolition, politics and partisanship, the growth of the industrial economy, and the Civil War."
Sections include: Partisan Politics ; Slavery & Freedom ; A Rising Nation ; Americans at War ; A Woman's World ; Teacher's Guide ; Maps ; Foot Soldiers ; Virtual Tour [slave cabin and examine the conditions of slavery].

PBS NOVA - Forgotten Genius
Companion website to the February 2007 TV broadcast. Watch episode online. Includes Teacher's Guide and Library Resource Kit.
"Against all odds, African-American chemist Percy Julian became one of the greatest scientists of the 20th century...is a fascinating and largely unknown story of scientific triumph and racial inequality. It covers the extraordinary life journey of Percy Julian, one of the great chemists of the 20th century."

PBS - P.O.V. Interactive - Two Towns of Jasper (January 2003)
Website companion to the film by Whitney Dow and Marco Williams.
In 1998 in Jaspers, Texas, James Byrd, Jr., A black man, was chained to a pick-up truck and dragged to his death by three white men. Two film crews, one black and one white, set out to document the aftermath of the murder.""
Section include: Race in America ; America in Black and White ; Talking Back ; Resources ; Jasper Update ; Special Features ; Behind the Lens ; Classroom ; About the Film.

  • Classroom
    Sections include: Examining Prejudice Lesson Plan ; Examining White Privilege Lesson Plan ; Discussion Guide ; Delve Deeper.

PBS - The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow
"A landmark four-part series [Fall 2002], THE RISE AND FALL OF JIM CROW explores segregation from the end of the civil war to the dawn of the modern civil rights movement."
Episodes: Promises Betrayed (1745-1896) ; Fighting Back (1896-1917) ; Don't Shout Too Soon (1918-1940) ; Terror and Triumph (1940-1954).
Sections include: A Century of Segregation ; Jim Crow Stories ; A National Struggle ; Interactive Maps ; Tools & Activities ; For Teachers ; Resources.


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PBS - Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson
Companion website to the January 2005 film by Ken Burns.
"Jack Johnson ó the first African-American Heavyweight Champion of the World, whose dominance over his white opponents spurred furious debates and race riots in the early 20th century..."
Sections include: About the Film ; Rebel of the Progressive Era ; Sparring ; The Fight of the Century ; Knockout ; Ghost in the House ; For Teachers [study guide for high school students].

The Port Chicago Disaster
A Resource for the Classroom
"...on July 17th, 1944, the worst home front disaster of WWII, occurred at a Naval pier in the San Francisco Bay Area. Five thousand tons of ammunition in ships being loaded by black sailors exploded, sending a blast more than 12,000 feet into the sky."
Sections include: The Site ; The Explosion ; The Mutiny ; The Court Martial ; The Pardon.
By Contra Costa County Office of Education

Seattle Times: Martin Luther King Jr.
A nice K-12 site including an Electronic Classroom with quizzes, study guides and more.

Social Studies School Service Black History Index
"...several lessons, student exercises, and reviews of special materials that present exciting ways to bring African-American history into your classroom via the web."

Teaching the Journal of American History (JAH)



Maintained by Mike Madin.
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