Black History is American History – Classroom Connections

This month, as we honor and celebrate Black History, we also recognize that Black History is not a box to be checked during the month of February alone. Black History is American History, and these resources are critical to the conversation, this month and every month of the year.

YALSA’s 2021 Excellence in Nonfiction Celebration is tonight (click here to register), and a booktalk event featuring the full list of nominated titles will take place on February 24. On that list is the excellent Lifting as we Climb: Black Women’s Battle for the Ballot Box by Evette Dionne.

Lifting As We Climb by Evette Dionne

This Coretta Scott King honoree focuses on the vital and often overlooked role of Black Women in the Suffrage Movement and connects the dots from the abolition of slavery to women’s suffrage, on to the civil rights movement and today’s activism, where women were and continue to be necessary and significant leaders.

The Library of Congress Born in Slavery collection offers digitized narratives collected as part of the Federal Writers’ Project (FWP) in the New Deal-era Work Projects Administration (WPA). These oral histories and photographs preserve the first person accounts of formerly enslaved people.

Odyssey Award honoree and 2021 Amazing Audiobooks Top Ten title Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi gives voice to a version of history not often told. This not-a-history, narrated by the author, brings a vital piece of our past to life in ways that will challenge students and teachers alike.

Stamped by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi

Many who encounter Stamped are fascinated and immediately want to know more, and for them, it is important to also have the original by Kendi. Stamped from the Beginning is wholly different than the remix created by Reynolds, adding context and texture to the narratives Stamped introduces.

Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi

The Freedom Seekers curriculum takes an interdisciplinary and regional approach to exploring the Underground Railroad. Designed by and for teachers, this collection could also be helpful for librarians or students in need of additional resources for research or personal enrichment.

Freedom Seekers introductory video

And for those learning from the past to be the leaders of the future, try Lead from the Outside: How to Build Your Future and Make Real Change by Stacey Abrams.

Lead from the Outside by Stacey Abrams

Because today’s Black leaders are making history every day.