Ideas for Black History Month Projects

Instructor: Adam Nystrom

Adam owns a Master's degree in Professional and Digital Media Writing. During his time as a graduate assistant, he developed lesson plans for upper-level English courses.

February is Black History Month, and makes a perfect time to start a class project. Here are some ideas for students and teachers to use as the month approaches.

Showtime at the Apollo

What better way to celebrate the art of the Harlem Renaissance than to turn your class into the club itself? Students can recreate the works of Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, and the scores of famous black musicians who helped the theater rise to prominence. The more performance-inclined students in your class can sing, while those who are a little shy can help decorate the classroom and set the lighting.

Q&A with Authors

Pair off your students into groups of two, where one will play an interviewer, and the other will portray a famous black author. Both students can focus their research on the life and works of the author, but it will be interesting to see each student's take on the material. The interviewer can ask questions about the author's poetry or fiction, and the student playing the author can use his or her knowledge of biographical material to answer them.

Classroom Story Quilts

In the south, women traditionally stitched quilts that told entire narratives of family and community life. Ask your students to make individual squares about who they are. Assemble them to make one complete work. The end results will make for a great discussion about how the pieces relate to each another.

Other Project Resources

If you're looking for more resources for your Black History Month projects, has some lessons and chapters that can help you research project ideas:

This 1920s America chapter covers 1920s culture as well as the works of famous African American musicians.

Students looking for information on writers including Frederick Douglas, Zora Neale Hurston and Ralph Ellison will find plenty of lessons in this African American Writers chapter.

The Civil Rights Movements in America chapter includes lessons on pivotal events and key figures in the 1950s and 60s.

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