Thinkport Bulletin: Black History Month Activities

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February 2017 (Special Feature)

Black History Month

Make history come alive in your classroom during Black History Month. This collection of resources will take students back in time to study the events, people and places that played a significant role in our freedoms and human rights. You will also find upcoming programs on MPT, and multimedia activities from PBS.

Online Learning Modules


Pathways to Freedom: Maryland and the Underground Railroad
Travel the steps of brave men and women who fought for freedom. In MPT’s interactive exploration, students become  eyewitnesses to history and must make life-changing decisions about their future. They will uncover clues, explore covert byways and secret hidings places used by slaves, and learn about the lives of local freedom-fighters from Maryland. Grades: elementary and middle school

Role of AACW

The Role of African Americans in the Civil War
African Americans played a significant role in the American Civil War and faced difficulties as union soldiers. In this self-paced literacy and writing activity, students examine content and sources surrounding the war in order to write an explanatory essay.  Resources include standards, educator materials, a writing checklist, and interactive activities. Grades: middle school


Maryland's Champions of Freedom
In Maryland, the crusaders to end slavery included two abolitionists, Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman. Students will learn about the lives of these famous freedom-fighters through a combination of  primary and secondary sources, and apply that knowledge in order to write an informative essay. Resources include objectives, writing tips, graphic organizers, and practice and review activities. Grades: middle school


Women in Modern World History
Wangari Maathai became the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her contributions to sustainable development, democracy and peace. In one of several activities on the site, students read articles about Maathai’s life, and gather information in order to write informative and explanatory texts. Activity includes graphic organizers, a writer's checklist, and teacher resources. 
Grades: high school

PBS Programs and Activities

PBS LearningMedia

Visit PBS LearningMedia’s resource portal and conduct a search by keyword to find interactives, images, videos and content to teach students about Black History Month. Grades K-12

PBS NewsHour
Access a collection of Black History Month lesson plans, activities and multimedia. Topics cover everything from civil rights and poetry, to music and the Talladega murals. 


Black Culture Connection
Find inspirational films, classroom resources and activities that showcase and honor black history, culture and heritage.

Connecting Kids

Connecting Kids with Black History
Teach children about the historical accomplishments and struggles of African Americans. PBS Parents offers tips and ideas to help kids connect to the past.

Black History Month Programming on MPT

During Black History Month, MPT is airing a variety of programs and films honoring the lives and achievements of activists, freedom-fighters, pioneers and others who made their mark on history. We have included some highlights below, and there is much more to see!

Please access MPT’s online program schedule for more programs and air dates. 

August Wilson

American Masters
August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand
February 7, 8:00 pm (on MPT2/Create)
Capture the legacy of the man some call America's Shakespeare, from his roots as an activist to his indelible mark on Broadway. View clip.

MLK Rise

Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise
February 12, 5:00 pm
Henry Louis Gates, Jr. explores America's changing racial landscape, celebrating how far we have come toward equality. Visit the official website for more information and classroom resources.

The Talk

The Talk: Race in America
February 20, 9:00 pm
In the wake of recent tragic and fatal events between men of color and law enforcement, learn how black and Hispanic families counsel their kids to stay safe if they are stopped by the police. See a preview and join the conversation.


American Masters: Maya Angelou
February 21, 8:00 pm
Journey through the prolific life of the I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings author and activist who inspired generations. Learn about the film and access classroom resources.