Opinion
Social Studies Opinion

The Black History That Moves Us: A Resource List for Educators

Books, documentaries, websites, and social media accounts for teaching students—and yourself
By Daphanie Bibbs, Abigail Henry, Dawnavyn M. James & Gregory Simmons — January 31, 2024 5 min read
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Beyond February: Teaching Black History Any Day, Every Day, and All Year Long, K–3 (book)

This guide by Dawnavyn James (who also contributed to this resource list) supports elementary educators in their Black history instruction. Because Black history is often taught during February, this book dives into ways that Black history can be taught throughout the school year.

The book includes examples from the classroom and additional resources for educators to use in their classrooms. There are templates for educators, frequently asked questions about elementary Black history instruction, and strategies for reading Black-history-centered picture books.

See Also

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Camilla Sucre for Education Week

Beyond February gives examples of what Black history can look like in social studies, literacy, math, and science instruction and weaves in personal stories of the author’s experience teaching Black history in elementary classrooms.

Black Lives Matter at School, edited by Denisha Jones & Jesse Hagopian (book)

This text chronicles National Black Lives Matter at School, a movement that began in Seattle in 2016, through interviews, essays, poems, lessons, and depictions of campaigns.

The book includes writings from leading voices in anti-racist education like Bettina Love and Wayne Au but also highlights the work of teachers, community and union activists, and, most importantly, the students who have built this national movement through a variety of activities, events, and its annual week of action in February. (This year, the week of action will occur Feb. 5-9.)

Part activist guide, part autobiographical account, it reveals the struggles and challenges to institutional racism in schools by focusing on the movement’s four key demands: 1) ending zero-tolerance discipline practices, 2) mandating Black history and ethnic-studies classes, 3) hiring more Black teachers, and 4) funding counselors, not police officers, for schools.

Coded Bias” (documentary)

This Netflix documentary was created by MIT Media Lab researcher Joy Buolamwini to expose the racial bias, sexism, and flaws of artificial intelligence, facial-recognition technology, and software algorithms. This documentary encourages educators to more closely analyze the role of technology, specifically generative artificial intelligence, and to advocate ethical and inclusive technology.

Included are stories of algorithmic discrimination related to policing, surveillance, hiring practices, technology, and housing. Each story gives viewers an in-depth exploration of how data and algorithms can reinforce existing inequalities and harm marginalized communities.

Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness by Simone Browne (book)

This book examines the intersection of surveillance and race. Browne delves into the history of surveillance technologies and practices, highlighting how Black bodies have been surveilled, controlled, and commodified throughout history, from the era of slavery to modern surveillance technologies.

Dark Matters informs us of the history, strategy, planning, and technologies behind the creation of the slave ship. When it comes to teaching slavery in the United States, we can no longer shy away from the brutal truth of transporting, branding, owning, selling, and tracking Black bodies across land and sea.

High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America” (docuseries)

This Netflix docuseries centers not just on the richness of African American cuisine but also on the richness of Black history. Food journalist Stephen Satterfield and culinary historian Jessica B. Harris trace the origins of different dishes and highlight the history of Black people, their culture, and a variety of cooking techniques and recipes.

“High on the Hog” can be used by educators and families alike to educate children and themselves about the people and places that cultivate the culture and meals that nourish the souls of Black people.

Through the two seasons of this docuseries, viewers get to hear stories of resistance and agency, meet historical and modern chefs, and learn innovative recipes.

Histematics (video)

Histematics, a concept created by former Philadelphia public school teacher Akil Parker, is a combination of history and mathematics. Parker offers a unique approach when encouraging pre- and in-service teachers to combine subjects, specifically history and mathematics. Through the concept of Histematics, he has been able to attract and engage the attention of many as his theory of mathematics education continues to evolve.

Last Seen: Finding Family After Slavery (online archive)

After the Civil War, finding family members was a priority for formerly enslaved people. Launched in 2017 as a collaboration between Villanova University’s graduate history program and Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia, Last Seen is an extensive collection of primary-source ads from across the country placed by family members searching to reconnect with loved ones. The ads reveal the perseverance, hope, and problem-solving of the Black community during and after Reconstruction.

The ads can be searched by location, specific term, and name, and a variety of filters can be used to narrow down results. An interactive global map indicates the locations where ads were placed or appeared. Last Seen also includes several lesson plans for elementary through high school on how to use the primary sources to learn about the domestic slave trade, the lives of the enslaved, resistance, and family separation.

Teaching White Supremacy by Donald Yacovone (book)

This 2022 book chronicles the deliberate creation of a white supremacist narrative that has been pervasive in our country’s educational system, especially in K-12 textbooks and curriculum. Yacovone explores how ideologies of white supremacy have deep roots in education starting with the nation’s inception and continuing to the present day and have become a major part of our collective national identity.

For teachers, this resource provides an argument to teach diverse perspectives and to critique what (and most importantly who) is considered an American. In these divisive times, this book provides important historical context to current attacks on teachers, books, and school boards teaching about race, racism, and white supremacy in the classroom.

Suggested Instagram Pages:

  • @iamblacklit: a Black, woman-owned bookstore featuring all-Black authors
  • @HBCUprepschool: a Black-owned shop with books and other instructional and learning materials created for children by founder Claudia Walker
  • @justice4blackgirls: a Black, women-owned platform to amplify voices of Black girls and women

Explore the Collection

Read more from historians and educators celebrating the history and progression of Black history education. In this special Opinion collection, explore the history of the discipline and find resources for teachers today.

Equity & Diversity Opinion You Should Be Teaching Black Historical Contention
How to responsibly teach this critical component of Black history instruction —and why you should.
Brittany L. Jones
4 min read
A student raises their hand to ask a question before a group of assorted historical figures.
Camilla Sucre for Education Week
Social Studies Opinion The Instructive Story of This Jim Crow Era Black History Contest
What an overlooked initiative in the segregated South tells us today about teaching Black history to white students.
Christine Woyshner
4 min read
012024 op BHM Woyster 1
Camilla Sucre for Education Week
Social Studies Opinion What the Country's First Mandatory Black History Course Can Teach Us Today
Decades before AP African American Studies came along, Black women were the driving force behind an unprecedented education reform.
Ashley D. Dennis
5 min read
012024 op BHM Dennis 2
Camilla Sucre for Education Week
Social Studies Opinion I Train Teachers to Teach Black History. Here’s What I’ve Learned
Here’s how I’ve tried to reclaim Black history from the margins—and how you can do the same.
Abigail Henry
4 min read
A group of teachers gather around a textbook excited about the content.
Camilla Sucre for Education Week
Social Studies Opinion The Black History That Moves Us: A Resource List for Educators
Here are some books, documentaries, websites, and social media accounts to help you teach Black history in all its complexity.
Daphanie Bibbs, Abigail Henry, Dawnavyn M. James & Gregory Simmons
5 min read
012024 op BHM Resources
Camilla Sucre for Education Week
Social Studies Opinion Who’s Improving Black History Education for Everyone? Three Stand-Outs
Recent highlights in Black history education, from the Center for K-12 Black History and Racial Literacy Education’s LaGarrett J. King.
LaGarrett J. King
2 min read
Overhead view of people interacting with colorful books on a table.
Camilla Sucre for Education Week

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