Black History Month Activities

Instructor: Nicky Davis
February is Black History Month, and there are a number of notable figures and eras in African American history to study in celebration. Keep reading to find a variety of educational black history activities.

Activities for Black History Month

From art and music to social justice and politics, African American cultural history is rich with engaging stories and figures. The activities below cover a number of periods in African American history and include resources to help you learn more about essential topics.

Poetry in the Jazz Age

Read poems from the great black poets of the 20's like Claude McKay and Langston Hughes, and listen to the music of the era. Pay attention to ways the themes in the music compared to those in the poems. Then, try writing your own poem inspired by the music of the Harlem Renaissance era.

Introducing the Leaders

For this group activity, each participant is assigned a different African American historical figure to study. Then, arrange a day for a convention, where each person can dress up as their subject, and all the figures can interact with and learn from each other.

  • Find out about leaders like Ida B. Wells and Booker T. Washington in a lesson on African American issues in this chapter on the Progressive Era.

Dream Speeches

After reading or listening to Martin Luther King's 'I Have A Dream' speech, write a response to the speech. How have the things in MLK's speech come to fruition? What work still needs to be done? Research the state of modern civil rights and racial equality to help you respond.

Then, write your own, modern day version of the famous speech. What civil rights issues are you impassioned about? How might you inspire the campaign for equal rights today?

Culture through Music

Study African American history through the history of black music, from slave songs to rap music. Examine the way that different genres have reflected the black cultural issues of their moment. Look at sampling in modern hip-hop and how contemporary musicians use pieces of old songs to communicate about modern problems.

  • Read up on jazz music. Then, learn about other African American musical movements such as blues and ragtime, and major black musical figures like James Brown and Muddy Waters, in this chapter on modern era music.

Modern Legends

Choose an important figure in current African American culture that you believe should be canonized for their contribution to modern history. First, write a profile of them that describes the important role they have played. Then, imagine and write a dialogue between that person and a historical predecessor who made their work possible. If you're feeling extra creative, act out the conversations between past and present!

  • Explore more about modern historical figures, such as President Barack Obama, in this chapter on contemporary America.

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