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Black History Month

February is here as is Black History Month! We have compiled some resources to help you educate your entire family on our country’s important history.

Rep. Graham Announces “My Dream For America” Essay Contest

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Representative Gwen Graham’s Congressional Office is holding a Black History Month “My Dream for America” Essay Contest. All middle school students in the 14 counties encompassing the Second Congressional District are invited to participate. The prompt was chosen to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy and encourage study of his famous “I Have a Dream Speech.”

“Our nation has come a long way since Dr. King delivered his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech in 1963, but we still have more work to achieve,” Rep. Graham said. “Each generation has a new dream for America. I’m looking forward to hearing how today’s students envision our country to progress toward equality.”

Essays can be hand delivered or mailed to Graham’s district offices in Tallahassee or Panama City. Essays must be submitted by Friday, February 27. Each participating student will receive a letter from Rep. Graham, and a winner will be chosen from each school to receive a special certificate.

Middle and High School Resources

PBS NewsHour Black History Month Resources
Celebrate Black History Month in your classroom this February with 17 lesson plans and resources that cover topics ranging from important civil rights anniversaries to discussions about race in current events. These resources provide authentic student-driven learning experiences that will help all kids understand and honor Black History Month.

Should Black History Be: More Than a month?
Both amusing and thought provoking, More Than a Month examines what the treatment of history tells us about race and power in America. Collection includes 3 lesson plans and film clips. This documentary is sure to create a jumping point for discussion with your class.

Black Spaces in White America
Through class discussion and film analysis, students explore the ways in which African Americans created their own spaces (“Black Spaces”) in “White America” and the effect that these spaces had on the success of African Americans. If you enjoy this media gallery, be sure to check out the larger collection by Hudson West.

Hip Hop in the Classroom
Using hip hop in the class room can be a creative way to get students to engage, especially in english and poetry classes. Be sure to check out PBS Learning Media’s multiple resources on hip hop, including a documentary on copyrights and hip hop and clips/lesson plans from Independent Lens on the history of hip hop.

Elementary School Resources

Visit the Official Black History Month Website
Here you will find resources gathered by the Library of Congress, the National Archives, the National Endowment for Humanities, the National Gallery of Art, and the National Park Service.

Reading Rockets Favorite Black History Month Books
Reading Rockets presents some of their favorite books for Black History Month (and anytime!). Some describe our different histories while others show the joys and challenges that are shared by children of all colors as they learn and grow.

Why do we have Black History Month?
How and when did it begin? This reading from the Department of State answers those questions and more. Includes a list of vocabulary words. Ideal for grades 2-6.


Frontline: The Long Walk of Nelson Mandela
This full episode of Frontinline depicts the life, character, and leadership of Nelson Mandela. Mandela’s political allies, personal friends, adversaries, jailers, and others offer insights into moments of his life, his marriage to Winnie Mandela, and his evolution from son of a tribal chief to urban lawyer and activist, rebellious warrior to symbol of forgiveness, reconciliation, and presidential leadership.

Resources to Honor the Life of Maya Angelou

Renaissance woman and civil rights activist Maya Angelou died this past year at the age of 86. Use these educational resources fromPBS NewsHour Extra to help your students honor the life of poet Maya Angelou.

The William Still Story: Collection

Underground Railroad: The William Still Storytells compelling and lesser known stories of one of North America’s greatest sagas. This documentary tells the dramatic story of William Still, one of the most important yet largely unheralded figures in the history of the Underground Railroad.

African American World from PBS
This collection dives into the history, arts and culture, and social issues of African Americans. It also profiles famous African Americans and their contributions. Includes a website just for kids and lesson plans for teachers.

African American History from History Detectives
Understanding the history of African Americans is crucial to understanding the history of America. The experiences of African Americans have shaped many aspects of the United States. These lesson plans are based on History Detectives episodes that examine artifacts from three distinct eras in American history: the Civil War, World War I, and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.

 On PBS This Month

In honor of Black History Month, PBS has released its programming lineup and online content offerings that will enrich viewers’ understanding of African-American history and culture. As part of its commitment to provide diverse programming and resources for all Americans year-round, PBS will offer special new episodes from popular titles, along with encore programming—all of which will stream online after broadcast on the PBS Black Culture Connection at

Beginning in February, ANTIQUES ROADSHOW,one of PBS’ most-watched ongoing series, premieres “Celebrating Black Americana,where, among other items, participants bring for appraisalan 1821 citizenship certificate for a free man of color and an African-American beauty book written by entrepreneur Madame C.J. Walker, the first American female millionaire. On GENEALOGY ROADSHOW, where professional genealogists use history and science to uncover fascinating family secrets, participants in New Orleans explore family links to the Civil War and connections to the famous New Orleans Voodoo Queen, Marie Laveau.

INDEPENDENT LENS airs two new documentaries: “Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People” tells the story of pioneering African-American photographers who have recorded the lives and aspirations of generations of people, from slavery to present; “American Denial” uses the story of Gunnar Myrdal’s 1944 investigation of Jim Crow racism as a springboard to explore the power of unconscious biases and how the ideals of liberty, equality and justice still affect notions of race and class today.

AMERICAN MASTERS premieres “August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand,” which examines the legacy of August Wilson, whom some call America’s Shakespeare, in honor of the 70th anniversary of his birth and 10th anniversary of his death. Film and theater luminaries such as James Earl Jones, Viola Davis, Phylicia Rashad, Laurence Fishburne, Charles Dutton and others share their stories of the career and life experience of bringing Wilson’s rich theatrical voice to the stage.

Also airing in February is SHAKESPEARE UNCOVERED, with programs that combine history, biography, iconic performances, new analysis and the personal passion of its celebrated hosts, including Morgan Freeman and David Harewood, to tell the stories behind the stories of Shakespeare’s greatest plays.

“PBS strives to create a Black History Month lineup that provides our audience with insight on a wide range of topics and events that helped shaped our nation,” said Beth Hoppe, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager of General Audience Programming for PBS. “We’re always looking for ways to delve deep into the stories of notable people and historical topics as only PBS can, telling stories of a diverse America not only during Black History Month, but all year round.”

In addition to on-air programs, the PBS Black Culture Connection (BCC),an extension of featuring black films, stories and discussion across PBS, will debut several new “Top 10” Lists with recommendations for must-see documentaries and must-read authors, as well as little-known black history facts.

If you’ve missed any of these episodes, or would like to watch again, visit

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