Online Lesson Plans Make Black History Interactive - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine January-March 2019 Issue

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graduationeducation1Black History Month holds special meaning for many Americans this year as the world watches history unfold. The election of the nation’s first black president, Barack Obama, has many young black students taking a special interest in politics and their own education. But it’s hard to truly impart the meaning of Obama’s achievement without understanding the legacy of blacks in the United States.

Black History Month is the successor to Negro History Week, which was started Feb. 12, 1926 by Carter G. Woodson, the founder of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. Woodson started the commemoration out of concern that the contributions of black Americans were being overlooked or misrepresented. He chose February because it included the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, two people he believed had a strong impact on the lives of African Americans.

This year’s theme, “The Quest for Black Citizenship in the Americas,” is a chance to examine the evolution of our country and how African Americans helped draw us closer to becoming a more perfect union, Obama said earlier this month.

Here are a few Black History Month lesson plans that can be found online for parents and teachers:

The Verizon Foundation’s Website,, lets students navigate their way through the Underground Railroad with information about freedom fighters and landmarks at every stop. Students can also take a trip through the Harlem Reminiscence and explore the minds that birthed modern culture through interactive features. Teachers can divide each era or subject up for the entire month as this Website allows the learning to come alive. This lesson plan is suitable for grades K-12.

Reading is fundamental, of course, but for students, there’s nothing like getting up from their desks and being actively engaged. The National Education Association does just that and allows teachers to tailor their lesson plans. From creating a black history rap to making trading cards, these deceptively educational lesson plans will spark your student’s creativity while tying in current culture with that of the past.

Target and the Smithsonian Institution have partnered with Scholastic Inc. to help teachers and students commemorate Black History Month with Black Wings: African American Pioneer Aviators and Let Your Motto Be Resistance: African American Portraits. The free lessons include grade-appropriate lesson plans for K-12 students and follows the life of Bessie Coleman, an African American stunt pilot in the early 1900s, along with portraits of six other African Americans who influenced America. A video interview with Maya Angelou is also available on this site. The site also features Latino and Asian-Pacific lesson plans. also traces the Underground Railroad using slideshows with audio for children to read along. The lessons describe life on a plantation, show how slaves escaped on the Underground Railroad, introduce prominent abolitionists, and provide several interactive elements including a map of the United States that

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.