Black History Month

Description & History

Black History Month began in 1925 when Carter G. Woodson and the organization he founded, the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), conceived and announced Negro History Week. His intent was to raise awareness of African American's contributions to civilization and the event was first celebrated in February 1926 during a week that encompassed the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. In 1976, the nation's bicentennial, the celebration was expanded to a month by President Gerald R. Ford.


Professional Learning Resources

AASL Town Hall | Black History Month Reimagined
In 2021, then AASL President Kathy Carrol hosted a panel of experts to discuss Black History Month Reimagined during an AASL Town Hall.

Black School Librarianship: Navigating Race and Creating Change, Knowledge Quest, Volume 49, No. 4
Revisit this Knowledge Quest issue from 2022 as five libraries sharing their experiences in school libraries as Black women educators. This issue requires an AASL member login.

African American History in Real Life – The Black College Football Hall of Fame
School librarians must take the lead in diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. Read about Media Daniels’ efforts to use February as a launch for a deeper look at the history of Black college football with her high school students.

Black History Month Resources from the Anti-Defamation League
This curated collection from ADL includes Resources on Black History, Classroom Resources on Race and Racism, Classroom Resources on Racial Disparities and Social Justice, Classroom Resources on Voting Rights: Past and Present, Resources for Parents and Families, and Children and Young Adult Literature and Resources.


Learner Engagement Resources 

About Black History Month

Black History Month Themes
The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (previously the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History founded by Carter G. Woodson) provides a yearly theme to focus the attention of the public. The theme for 2024’s celebration of Black History Month is African Americans and the Arts. African American art is infused with African, Caribbean, and the Black American lived experiences. In the fields of visual and performing arts, literature, fashion, folklore, language, film, music, architecture, culinary and other forms of cultural expression, the African American influence has been paramount.

Resources for Teachers from
Browse ready-to-use lesson plans, student activities, collection guides, and research aids from the Library of Congress, National Archives, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Literature Connections

Coretta Scott King Book Awards Recipients
The Coretta Scott King Book Awards are given annually to outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values. This page lists award recipients and honor books from 1970 to current day.

Coretta Scott King Award
Follow along with Fallon Farokhi as she shares her celebration of the Coretta Scott King Award with elementary students, highlighting books that share MLK’s vision for equality.

Black History is American History: Why We Should Celebrate Year Round
In this article from the Knowledge Quest issue Black School Librarianship: Navigating Race and Creating Change, picture book author and illustrator Don Tate recounts his childhood experience learning about Black history and how a lack of inclusion in school lessons and library collections affected him. Don makes a case for celebrating Black history and Black stories throughout the year, instead of only during Black History Month, and provides a list of outlets, organizations, and other resources to help find picture book biographies to incorporate into the classroom and library.

Picture Book Recommendations for the Year
Celebrate Black History all year with picture books matched to historical events for each month of the year.



The Black Resistance Visual Book List
The theme for Black History Month is The Black Resistance. Use this visual book list as is or edit to include books from your own collection. There is a high school page and a middle school page. 



Lesson Sparks

Pairing Picture Books and Primary Sources: Revisiting a Pairing with Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race
Integrate primary sources, the picture book Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race, and augmented reality in this lesson pitch from Tom Bober and Amanda Jones.

Black History Month Picture Book Lesson Ideas
Each of the three picture books featured by Maureen Schlosser in this article could be the foundation of deep exploration into the environment, economics, or sustainability: Saving American Beach, Pies from Nowhere: How Georgia Gilmore Sustained the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and Harlem Grown.

National Museum of African American History and Culture
Offering educator lessons for grades 3-12. Specific learning units have been created, as well as reading resources and learning labs.

Black History Month STEM Event- A Space for Us All
Virtual vent on Friday, February 10th that is planned for middle and high school students talking about the NASA connection with African Americans.

NAACP Connect
NAACP has put together digital media events for Black History Month, including an online scavenger hunt starting February 2nd. Black History Resources
This link contains resources for grades K-12. Includes lesson plans, activities, videos and additional resources.