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Black History Month Resources for Educators and Families

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels.com

Looking for ways to help the children you know celebrate Black History Month? We’re here to help! Whether you are a teacher making plans for this month’s lessons, or a parent or grandparent who wants to help children learn more about African American history or culture, these resources offer a path of exploration for students of all ages.

eMediaVA.org is our online platform that provides Virginia educators with innovative digital content to spark creativity and engage their students. But much of the content is also available to the public with no required log-in. Plus, teachers at all grade levels can create playlists for Black History Month using eMediaVA resources that highlight famous African Americans, their cultural contributions, and their struggles for equality.

Here is a small sampling of the content that is available.

Historical Background

Black History Month | All About the Holidays Video, Suggested for Grades K-5 The month of February honors the important role African-Americans play in the story of our country. Across the United States, schools and communities organize to learn more about black history and culture.

African American History Video Series

WHRO created this video series in partnership with the Virginia Department of Education. These videos are part of the African American History online course content. Find a sampling below, or view the whole playlist.

African American History: The Underground Railroad in Coastal Virginia

Watch this video to learn how enslaved blacks escaped the institution of slavery using the waterways in Hampton Roads, Virginia.

African American History: John Punch

Watch this video to learn about John Punch and his precedent-setting trial as an enslaved African for escaping from a master in Virginia.

African American History: Zenda

Watch this video to learn about Zenda, a community that developed after four million formerly enslaved blacks were given their freedom.

Notable Names

Great African American Authors: 1938 - 1953 Video, Suggested for Grades 10-12 As the Great Depression ended, new African American literary voices took up the civil rights issues facing black families from the industrialized north to the rural south. This program looks at how black authors Richard Wright, Gwendolyn Brooks, Ralph Ellison, and James Baldwin, challenged the racial inequalities of mainstream America and created the idea of black is beautiful.

Great African American Authors: 1954 - 1967 Video, Suggested for Grades 10-12 and postsecondary Examine the works of great African American playwrights as well as other black authors during the second great black literary movement - the Black Arts Movement - against the backdrop of growing racial tension in 1960s America.

Booker T. Washington Video, Suggested for Grade 5-12 Born a slave in Franklin County, Virginia, Booker T. Washington attended college at Hampton University. He is known as an outstanding educator, author and leader of the African American community from the early 1890's until his death in 1915.

Jesse Owens | Yellowhammer History Hunt Video, Suggested for Grades 3-5 Jesse Owens was born in Alabama in 1913 to poor Black sharecroppers. In 1936 he won four gold medals at the Olympics in Germany and showed Hitler and the world that athletic skill, not race, makes winners. .

Lucy Laney Video, Essay & Discussion Questions, Suggested for Grades 9-12 Lucy Craft Laney, a former slave who established the first school for black children in Augusta, Georgia, is profiled in this video from The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow.

Frederick Douglass | The African Americans Video, Suggested for Grades 6-10 This video from The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross describes the life of Frederick Douglass and his rise to prominence in the abolitionist community.

Andrew Young and the Civil Rights Movement Video, Suggested for Grades 5-12 Andrew Young, one of the most prominent figures of the Civil Rights Movement and US Ambassador to the United Nations, talks about his experiences as an activist for social equality.

The Underground Railroad

Is This a Map of the Underground Railroad? Video, Teaching Tips & Activity, Suggested for Grades 6-12 In this segment from History Detectives, Anne Zorela, a map collector, believes she's found a map that outlines the routes of the Underground Railroad.

Coded Spirituals Video, Lesson Plan, Essay & Worksheets, Suggested for Grades 6-12 Learn how spirituals were used by the enslaved to exchange messages with others about an impending escape or other topics that they did not want the owners to understand.


Captive Ship Video & Discussion Questions, Suggested for Grades 5-12 Learn about the history of the slave ship, Henrietta Marie, and slavery in early western Virginia.

Traces of the Trade: The History and Legacy of U.S. Slavery Video & Lesson Plan, Suggested for Grades 6-12 Students explore the history and legacy of U.S. slavery and whether or not reparations should be made to the descendants of slaves.

Diary of an Anti-Slavery Plantation Daughter | Georgia Stories Video & Discussion Questions, Suggested for Grades 4-10 British Shakespearian actress Fanny Kemble was very troubled by slavery and wrote of her Georgia experiences in her diary, which was later published and helped rouse anti-slavery sentiment in the North.

Current Topics

A Conversation with My Black Son: Understanding the History Behind Modern Racial Profiling Video, Suggested for Grades 9-12 Can black boys and men rely on the police to “protect and serve” them while also recognizing that the institutional bias of our justice system presents a direct risk to their safety? What lessons can we learn from our past that can inform our actions in the future?

I, Too, Am an Appalachian Video & Activity, Suggested for Grades 8-12 Learn more about the meaning behind the terms "African-Appalachian" and "Black Appalachian."

Want more? We’ve put together a collection of Black History Month Collection for you.

Also, check out these two productions from WHRO Public Media that highlight local historic people and places.