Resources for African American History Month

February marks African American History Month and the Maine Department of Education has collected resources to help educators integrate African American history into the curriculum, not only this month but on a regular basis.

Resources to Support African American History Month:

Maine Related Resources for African American History:

Malaga Island:

African American Studies:

Civil Rights Movement:

  • Selma: The Bridge to the Ballot – This film tells the story of a courageous group of students and teachers who, along with other activists, fought a nonviolent battle to win voting rights for African Americans in the South.
  • Selma March 55th Anniversary in 2020 (Teaching Tolerance) – 2020 marks the 55th anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery march for voting rights.
  • Beyond the Bus – Beyond the Bus, a special publication of the Teaching the Movement initiative, brings together key elements from several resources Teaching Tolerance has developed to help educators recognize and fill instructional gaps when teaching about the civil rights movement.
  • Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Movement 1954-1985 – Individuals, groups and nations have responded to injustice throughout history.
  • Choices in Little Rock – Choices in Little Rock is a teaching unit that focuses on efforts to desegregate Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957—efforts that resulted in a crisis that historian Taylor Branch once described as “the most severe test of the Constitution since the Civil War.”.
  • Civil Rights Historical Investigations – In this resource students trace the development of the civil rights movement in the United States from the 1950s to the 1970s.
  • Library of Congress: Civil Rights History Project
  • Library of Congress: Rosa Parks Papers – The Library of Congress offers classroom materials to help teachers effectively use primary sources from the Library’s vast digital collections in their teaching about Rosa Parks and the Civil Rights movement.
  • Created Equal – The NEH Created Equal project uses the power of documentary films to encourage public conversations about the changing meanings of freedom and equality in America.
  • PBS Learning Media: Civil Rights – In 1954, the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Brown v. Board of Education declared segregated schools unconstitutional and sparked a decade of groundbreaking civil rights activism and legislation.
  • Selma Online – This website by the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University is a free, online teaching platform that seeks to transform how the civil rights movement is taught in middle and high schools across the country.
  • The Road to Civil Rights (a lesson plan from iCivics)
  • National Civil Rights Museum
  • Five Essential Practices from Teaching the Civil Rights Movement
  • Race and Civil Rights in the Nation – The Nation has put together a five-part Journey Through History on Race and Civil Rights:
    • Part I, From the Memphis riots of 1866 to the first anti-lynching conference, in New York City, in 1919.
    • Part II, From the “Red Summer” of racial violence in Chicago, in 1919, to Rosa Parks’s bus protest, in 1955.
    • Part III, From the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1957 to the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1968.
    • Part IV, From the ban on segregation in housing, in 1968, to freedom for Nelson Mandela, in 1990.
    • Part V, From the LA riots of 1992 to the release of Selma, in 2015.
  • Students “Sit” for Civil Rights – On February 1, 1960, four African American college students challenged racial segregation by sitting down at a “whites only” counter lunch counter in Greensboro, N.C. Politely asking for service, their request was refused. When asked to leave, they remained in their seats. Their sit-in inspired others to engage in nonviolent protests, which drew attention to the inequalities in civil rights at the time. Learn more about these sit-ins and books to use with your students.
  • Social Justice Books – a Teaching for Change Project
  • Curated Booklists – Teaching for change has carefully selected the best multicultural and social justice books for children, young adults, and teachers on more than 70 topics. Reviews and selections on the booklists come from the See What We See coalition and are generated at Teaching for Change.

Elementary Booklist African American History

  • Africville By Shauntay Grant and Eva Campbell (Illustrator)
  • Beautiful Shades of Brown: The Art of Laura Wheeler Waring By Nancy Churnin and Felicia Marshall (Illustrator)
  • Before She Was Harriet By Lesa Cline Ransome, James E. Ransome
  • Buzzing with Questions By Janice N. Harrington
  • Carter Reads the Newspaper By Deborah Hopkinson, Don Tate (Illustrator)
  • Child of the Civil Rights Movement By Paula Young Shelton, Raúl Colón (Illustrator)
  • Circle Unbroken: A Story of a Basket and Its People By Margot Theis Raven, E. B. Lewis (Illustrator)
  • Down on James Street By Nicole McCandless and Byron Gramby (Illustrator)
  • Dream Builder: The Story of Architect Philip Freelon By Kelly Starling Lyons
  • Ellen’s Broom By Kelly Starling Lyons
  • The Escape of Robert Smalls By Jehan Jones-Radgowski
  • Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table By Jacqueline Briggs Martin, Eric-Shabazz Larkin (Illustrator), Will Allen (Afterword by)
  • Freedom’s School By Lesa Cline-Ransome, James E. Ransome (Illustrator)
  • Going Down Home with Daddy By Kelly Starling Lyons
  • The Great Migration: Journey to the North By Eloise Greenfield, Jan Spivey Gilchrist (Illustrator)
  • Harlem’s Little Blackbird By Renee Watson, Christian Robinson (Illustrator)
  • Hip Hop Speaks to Children: A Celebration of Poetry with a Beat By Nikki Giovanni, Alicia Vergel De Dios (Illustrator), Damian Ward (Illustrator)
  • A History of Me By Adrea Theodore and Erin Robinson (Illustrator)
  • It Jes’ Happened By Don Tate, R. Gregory Christie (Illustrator)
  • Little Melba and Her Big Trombone By Katheryn Russell-Brown
  • Love to Langston By Tony Medina, R. Gregory Christie
  • Maritcha: A Nineteenth-Century American Girl By Tonya Bolden
  • Me and Momma and Big John By Mara Rockliff, William Low (Illustrator)
  • Milo’s Museum By Zetta Elliott
  • My Story, My Dance By Lesa Cline Ransome, James Ransome
  • New Shoes By Susan Lynn Meyer
  • No Mirrors in My Nana’s House By Ysaye M. Barnwell, Synthia Saint James (Illustrator)
  • The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read By Rita Lorraine Hubbard and Oge Mora (Illustrator)
  • Opal’s Greenwood Oasis By Quraysh Ali Lansana, Najah-Amatullah Hylton and  Skip Hill (Illustrator)
  • Opening the Road: Victor Hugo Green and His Green Book By Keila V. Dawson and Alleanna Harris (Illustrator)
  • Papa’s Free Day Party By Marilyn Nelson and Wayne Anthony Still (Illustrator)
  • A Ride to Remember By Sharon Langley and Amy Nathan
  • Sing a Song: How “Lift Every Voice and Sing” Inspired Generations By  Kelly Starling Lyons
  • Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down By Andrea Davis Pinkney, Brian Pinkney (Illustrator)
  • Someday Is Now: Clara Luper and the 1958 Oklahoma City Sit-ins By Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich, Jade Johnson (Illustrator)
  • So Tall Within: Sojourner Truth’s Long Walk Toward Freedom By Gary Schmidt, Daniel Mintor (Illustrator)
  • Sprouting Wings: The True Story of James Herman Banning, the First African American Pilot to Fly Across the United States By Louisa Jaggar,  Shari Becker,  and Floyd Cooper (Illustrator)
  • Steamboat School By Deborah Hopkinson
  • Sugar Hill: Harlem’s Historic Neighborhood By Carole Boston Weatherford, R. Gregory Christie (Illustrator)
  • Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt By Deborah Hopkinson
  • Take a Picture of Me, James Van Der Zee! By Andrea Loney, Keith Mallett (Illustrator)
  • Tea Cakes for Tosh By Kelly Starling Lyons
  • This Is the Rope: A Story from the Great Migration By Jacqueline Woodson
  • Thurgood By Jonah Winter, Bryan Collier
  • Uncle Jed’s Barbershop By Margaree King Mitchell
  • When the Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip Hop By Laban Carrick Hill, Theodore Taylor (Illustrator)
  • William Still and His Freedom Stories: The Father of the Underground Railroad By Don Tate
  • Zora Hurston and the Chinaberry Tree By William Miller, Cornelius Van Wright
  • Ruby Bridges Goes to School – My True Story by Ruby Bridges
  • Sojourner Truth’s Step-Stomp Stride By Andrea Davis Pinkney  Illustrator Brian Pinkney
  • Great Black Heroes: Five Brilliant Scientists By Lynda Jones  Illustrator Ron Garnett
  • Great Black Heroes: Five Notable Inventors By Wade Hudson  Illustrator Ron Garnett
  • Five Brave Explorers By Wade Hudson  Illustrator Ron Garnett
  • Henry’s Freedom Box By Ellen Levine  Illustrator Kadir Nelson
  • 28 Days: Moments in Black History that Changed the World By Charles R. Smith, Jr.  Illustrator Shane W. Evans
  • Granddaddy’s Gift By Margaree King Mitchell  Illustrator Larry Johnson
  • The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind By William Kamkwamba , Bryan Mealer  Illustrator Elizabeth Zunon
  • Amistad By Patricia C. McKissack  Illustrator Sanna Stanley
  • Gordon Parks By Carole Boston Weatherford  Illustrator Jamey Christoph
  • Delivering Justice: W.W. Law and the Fight for Civil Rights By James Haskins  Illustrator Benny Andrews
  • Talkin’ About Bessie By Nikki Grimes  Illustrator E. B. Lewis
  • Rosa By Nikki Giovanni  Illustrator Bryan Collier
  • Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince And His Orchestra By Andrea Davis Pinkney  Illustrator Brian Pinkney
  • Champion By Jim Haskins  Illustrator Eric Velasquez
  • Martin Rising: Requiem for a King By Andrea Davis Pinkney & Brian Pinkney  Illustrator Andrea & Brian Pinkney
  • Lessons and Resourced for Teaching about Black History Month