Black History Craft Ideas

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Black history can come alive for more students if you incorporate crafts that illustrate important themes and concepts. The crafts in this lesson will help you engage students in critical and meaningful work, making black history memorable and engaging.

Why Black History Crafts?

Have you ever wondered about how you can engage your students in a study of black history, even if they aren't strong readers and writers? Or perhaps you are wondering how to teach black history in a way that gets beyond the biographies of individual heroes. One answer to both of these problems is to incorporate more crafts into your study of black history. Crafts are a great way to engage students whose learning styles are more visual or tactile in nature. Also, crafts can demonstrate aspects of history that focus less on grand individuals, and more on the strength of community. Crafts not only offer a tangible product, but they also often involve a memorable process that will help bring black history alive for students. The crafts in this lesson can be modified depending on the ages and abilities of your students.

Kente Cloth

One craft you can do with your students is have them create Kente cloths. Kentes are traditionally Ghanian cloths used in ceremonies and traditions, made by weaving different strips of cloth together to create a larger piece. However, many African Americans have used Kente cloth over the course of history to celebrate pride in African heritage, as well as to represent how different things can come together to make a whole. You can have your students make Kente cloth by actually sewing different strips of fabric together. You can also have them make paper Kente cloths, drawing patterns on different pieces of paper and cutting them to glue together. Kente cloth requires geometric understanding and helps develop fine motor skills as well as an understanding of African and African-American history.


One of the most noble crafts in the African-American tradition is the quilt. Quilts, like Kente cloths, can represent how many different pieces can come together to make a coherent whole. At the same time, quilts can tell a whole story, such as a story of the abolition of slavery or a story of fighting racism. Show your students as many images of quilts as possible. Then, have them create a class quilt. Give each student a patch of fabric to decorate with images that represent a personal story or theme. Then, either sew or glue the patches together to make a whole quilt that you can hang in your classroom.

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