28 Days of Black History

Black history is American history. In 1926, Dr. Carter G. Woodson began a weeklong celebration that has since grown into an entire month dedicated to remembering the achievements, contributions, resilience, and legacies of Black Americans at a time when it was not commonly taught. In celebration of Black History Month, explore people, places, and stories from more than 400 national parks and communities across the country through National Park Service programs and partners and keep exploring African American heritage throughout the year.

Collage of images related to Black history in national parks
Share stories of Black history in national parks that inspire you on social media using #BlackHistory and #FindYourPark.

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☑ Instructions

Dr. Woodson and his colleagues created tools that teachers could use in schools to teach Black history during the weeklong (now monthlong) celebration. They made lesson plans, scripts for history plays, and educational posters featuring important dates and people in history. This is a day-by-day virtual calendar to use during February or any time to learn about Black history preserved in national parks or through National Park Service programs.

Screenshot of a video showing a historical portrait of Dr. Carter G. Woodson
Click on the image to view the "Why February?" video.

Image from an NPS Video

☐ Day 1

Start at the beginning of Black History Month—with its origins. Learn about Dr. Carter G. Woodson, known as the “Father of Black History,” and his vision when he created what is now Black History Month. Watch a video for a virtual ranger program on the origins of Black History Month. Plan a future trip to the Carter G. Woodson Home National Historic Site in Washington, DC.

Screenshot from a video of two people walking towards a statue memorial depicting the U.S.C.T.
Click on the image to view the "Twenty & Odd" video

Image from an NPS Video

☐ Day 2

Watch “Twenty & Odd,” a short film that reflects on more than 400 years of Black history and heritage exploring the trauma, resilience, and beauty of the African American experience in our country through the lens and storytelling of those closest to the stories. A companion guide reveals the symbolism and context of each scene of the film.

Statue of Harriet Tubman in a boat reaching for people in the water
Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park in Maryland

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☐ Day 3

There are more than 400 national parks across the country of very different shapes, sizes, and reasons they were set aside to preserve for current and future generations. Explore some of the parks that were created and named in honor of African Americans and about each person's incredible achievements and contributions to our nation.

African American Civil Rights Network Logo

Image designed by the NPS

☐ Day 4

In honor the birthday of civil rights icon Rosa Parks on February 4, explore the African American Civil Rights Network, which connects places in parks and communities across the country to tell a more complete story of the Civil Rights Movement. Take a virtual tour map to explore these places where history was made.

One-story green home with a prominent carport
Medgar and Myrlie Evers Home National Monument in Mississippi

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☐ Day 5

Learn about one of the newest places added to the National Park System: Medgar and Myrlie Evers Home National Monument, home of leaders in the Civil Rights Movement. The tragic assassination of Medgar Evers in 1963 for his efforts to promote racial equality and social justice was one of the key catalysts for passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as the nation reacted in horror to his death.

Outdoor bust of George Washington Carver
George Washington Carver National Monument in Missouri

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☐ Day 6

Celebrated as a great agricultural scientist, George Washington Carver was also a prolific essay writer and artist. Third and fourth graders can submit entries to an annual art and essay contest hosted by George Washington Carver National Monument every February focused around an annual theme. But everyone is welcome to share your own essay and art about this topic anytime on social media using @GeorgeWashingtonCarverNM, #BlackHistory, and #FindYourPark.

Mural of Maggie Walker with the Richmond city skyline
Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site

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☐ Day 7

Go on a virtual tour of Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site in Virginia. In spite of humble beginnings in post-Civil War Virginia, Walker became a prominent businesswoman and community leader who devoted her life to defeating racism, sexism, and economic oppression. She founded a bank, was a newspaper editor, and led a fraternity while also fostering entrepreneurialism in the African American community in Richmond.

Historic Portrait of Charles Young in uniform
Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument in Ohio

Historical image courtesy of the National Afro-American Museum & Cultural Center

☐ Day 8

Learn about the legendary Buffalo Soldiers and one of their most distinguished leaders by taking a virtual trip to this month’s National Park Getaway Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument in Ohio. Download an entire exhibition to help teach their history. Make your own virtual or physical exhibit about a history topic and share it on social media using #BlackHistory and #FindYourPark.

Two-story brick historic home with a sign reading Paul Laurence Dunbar House Historic Site
Paul Laurence Dunbar House Historic Site in Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park in Ohio

NPS / Tom Engberg

☐ Day 9

Born in 1872, Paul Laurence Dunbar was one of the first African American poets to gain national and international recognition during his life. In honor of Dunbar, write a poem or host your own poetry slam with family and friends. Share on social media using #BlackHistory and #FindYourPark to inspire others with your words. Plan a future visit to the Paul Laurence Dunbar House Historic Site in Ohio.

Statue of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with the Washington Monument in the distance
Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in DC

NPS / Bill Shugarts

☐ Day 10

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the most influential leaders of the Civil Rights Movement and moved hearts and minds with his speeches and writings. Take a few minutes to read aloud some of Dr. King’s quotes immortalized on the walls of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. Also listen to a park ranger share his personal reflections of hearing Dr. King deliver his famous “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial in person and how that impacted his life. Write your own speech to share what is important to you. Let us hear your voice by sharing on social media using #BlackHistory and #FindYourPark.

Screenshot of a virtual tour showing a line of townhouses and tour prompts
Click on the image to begin a virtual tour of Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site

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☐ Day 11

Take a virtual tour through Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site in Washington, DC to meet a 20th-century leader with a very impressive resume in education and civil service. From her home near both the White House and Dr. Carter G. Woodson's home, the National Council of Negro Women spearheaded civil rights campaigns aimed at supporting African American women and created the National Archives for Black Women’s History.

Statue of Abraham Lincoln
Lincoln Memorial in DC

NPS / Terry Adams

☐ Day 12

Abraham Lincoln’s birthday on February 12 partially influenced the timing of Black History Month. While his history with emancipation is complex, Lincoln was historically called the “Great Emancipator” and his birthday was a traditional day of celebration in Black communities in the decades following his death. Read the Emancipation Proclamation, which Lincoln considered one of his most important actions, and reflect on this pivotal moment in US history.

Two screenshots of tours in the NPS App
Manhattan Project National Historical Park has guided tours stories in the NPS App

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☐ Day 13

Manhattan Project National Historical Park tells the story of one of the most transformative events of the 20th century: the creation of atomic bombs. It explores the transformation the Manhattan Project had on three communities in New Mexico, Tennessee, and Washington as it took place in their neighborhoods. Download the free NPS App to tour sites in these towns to learn how the African American experience during the Cold War and involvement with the top secret project.

Living historian portraying Frederick Douglass
Frederick Douglass National Historic Site in DCHe  hosts an oratorical contest every year.

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☐ Day 14

Frederick Douglass’ birthday on February 14 has been a longstanding traditional day of celebration by Black communities, which also influenced the timing of Black History Month. Born into slavery in 1818, Douglass escaped his enslavement and dedicated his life to fighting for justice and equality. He is considered one of the nation's greatest orators and authors often giving speeches and writing about civil rights issues. Write a speech a about something you are passionate about changing.

Logo for the Agitators podcast

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☐ Day 15

Plug in your earphones to listen to the new podcast series “The Agitators,” made in partnership with the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission and PRX. It explores the enduring yet complex relationship between Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony as they both advocated for voting rights during the 19th century.

Brick building with lettering "George Washington Carver Museum"
Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site in Alabama

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☐ Day 16

Booker T. Washington wanted to improve higher education opportunities for African Americans in the South, so he built Tuskegee Institute, now a national historic site. As a professor at the institute, George Washington Carver wanted to improve the lives of lower income farmers, so he created innovative new farming techniques. Explore an online exhibit about Carter’s work at the Institute. What innovative way would you improve the lives of others?

Aerial view of farms
Aerial photograph of New Philadelphia townsite in Illinois

Courtesy of Tommy Hailey

☐ Day 17

Follow the journey of a new park over the coming years. New Philadelphia Naitonal Historic Site in Illinois was added to the National Park System in December of 2022. New Philadelphia was the first known town planned and legally registered by an African American before the Civil War. Today, historical documents, oral histories from town descendants and community members, and artifacts keep the town's story alive. The Naitonal Park Service and our partners will develop plans to welcome visitors and share the site's history more widely.

Historic farm buildings on a prairie
Empire, Wyoming

BLM / Jason Vlcan

☐ Day 18

During the 19th century, thousands of African Americans homesteaded across the Great Plains creating communities, homes, and often a new life. As you take a closer to learn their stories captured by Homestead National Historical Park, watch a short film discussing how African Americans settled the West, hear from people conducting family research, and find records to start your own.

Historic World War II era fighter plane
Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site in Alabama

NPS / Aaliyah Jones

☐ Day 19

Famously known as “Red Tails,” the first African American military pilots tested their wings in the skies over Tuskegee, Alabama. The Tuskegee Airmen were initiated into the U.S. Armed Forces on February 19, 1942. Plan a future visit to Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site and tour an online exhibit to learn more about these pilots who opened doors—and the skies—to African American military pilots.

Young jazz band walking along a sidewalk
New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park in Louisiana

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☐ Day 20

The roots of jazz were largely nourished in the African American community but became a broader phenomenon that drew from many communities and ethnic groups in New Orleans. Check out New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park on social media to find interactive live stream concerts, recorded concerts, and interviews with musicians all month (and year) long!

Historic portrait of Harriet Tubman on top of a modern photo of a pine forest
The Travel with Tubman itinerary takes you on across many states

NPS / Amanda Pollock

☐ Day 21

One of the most famous and successful “conductors” on the Underground Railroad, Harriet Tubman was dedicated to causes improving the lives of African Americans, women, and people with disabilities. Take a short video tour of where she began her journey as an American legend. Travel with Tubman to see more places around the country related to her remarkable life either in person or online.

Large high school building
Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site in Arkansas

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☐ Day 22

Five crucial court cases in the 1940s and 50s challenged racial segregation in public schools. Follow the efforts of parents, teachers, secretaries, ministers, students, and other community members pushing for equality in education at Brown v. Board of Education National Historical Park. Continue the journey at Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site, which tells the story of putting desegregation of public schools into practice.

Memorial's depiction of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment soldiers
he Robert Gould Shaw Memorial on the Black Heritage Trail in Massachusetts

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☐ Day 23

The African American community of Boston were leaders in the fight against slavery and racial injustice during the 18th and 19th centuries. Take a virtual trip on the Black Heritage Trail and join virtual ranger programs at Boston African American National Historic Site to learn their stories of resilience, identity, and empowerment participating in a fight for their own rights.

Mural of a greyhound bus
Freedom Riders National Monument in Alabama

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☐ Day 24

In 1961, a small interracial band of “Freedom Riders” peacefully challenged laws requiring separation of races in interstate travel by riding on buses through states together over seven months. The world reacted in shock as the these buses were viciously attacked, even firebombed. A mural of a bus is painted on a brick wall at Freedom Riders National Monument. Design a mural of history or a cause that is important to you. Share it on social media using #BlackHistory and #FindYourPark.

Screenshot of a video with a living historian portraying Booker T. Washington writing at a desk
Click on the image to watch the "Measuare of a Man" video

NPS Video

☐ Day 25

Booker T. Washington went from growing up in a slave cabin to building ways for all Americans to succeed. Washington was a nationally-respected author, orator, and adviser to many US presidents. He was not satisfied with higher education options for African Americans in the late 19th century—so he built his own school now Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site. Plan a future visit to Booker T. Washington National Monument in Virginia and watch “Measure of a Man” to learn his story.

Screenshot from a video with text "Oh Nicodemus"
Click on the image to watch the "O Nicodemus" video

NPS Video

☐ Day 26

Watch and listen to “O Nicodemus” short film to hear a community’s enduring spirit from its roots as a town created by former enslaved Americans who migrated to Kansas in 1877 to build a new life. Write or recite a poem about the pride you have for your own community and share on social media using #BlackHistory and #FindYourPark to inspire others with your words. Or recite a poem that moves you, like this rendition of "O Nicodemus".

A foggy field at sunrise
Camp Nelson National Monument in Kentucky

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☐ Day 27

Follow in the footsteps of freedom at Camp Nelson National Monument, site a massive recruitment and training center for African American soldiers (United States Colored Troops) and a refugee camp for their families during the Civil War. Take a closer look at the campaigns, people, places, and stories connected to Camp Nelson's history.

Typewriter on a desk with papers
Carter G. Woodson Home National Historic Site in DC

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☐ Day 28

One of Dr. Woodson’s goals for an annual celebration of Black history was to recognize people’s achievements and great contributions to our nation. Make a list 28 Americans in history who inspired you. Join the conversation on social media using #BlackHistory and #FindYourPark to share your list with others.

☑ A Few More Days

Black History Month is during the shortest month of the year. Here are a few more days of suggestions to commit to learning Black history throughout the entire year in the spirit of Dr. Woodson's original vision for the celebration.

Screenshot of a video showing a historic portrait of a family
Click on the image to watch a video of Valerie Craigwell White sharing her thoughts on why oral history is important, especially within the African American community.

NPS Video

☐ Day 29

Uncover and share your family history. There are many tools and resources available to compile and share your familiy's history through libraries, databases, and more. You can also start at home talking to family members, collecting photographs, and sharing traditions. Get started recording your own family’s oral history to help it continue to be passed to the next generations.

A historic two-story home in a large field
The Sroufe House was part of the journey of at least three people escaping enslavement. Documentation for the National Register was prepared by a Girl Scout.

Courtesy of Kentucky State Historic Preservation Office

☐ Day 30

Become a historian of your own neighborhood. The National Register of Historic Places recognizes more than 95,000 historic places in communities across the entire country. Use the database like a professional historian to find places in your area or about a topic that you are interested in. If you take a walk or drive to see these place in person, just remember to be respectful as many of these places are privately owned.

Intern sitting on steps of a memorial
The Historically Black Colleges & Universities Internship (HBCUI) Program empowers the rising generation of leaders in park stewardship.

NPS / Nicole Segnini

☐ Day 31

Be a Steward of Your Public Lands. Consider joining our National Park Service team through employment, volunteering, or interning in a surprisingly wide variety of career fields located in parks and offices across the country. Partnerships play a key role in welcoming visitors to parks, preserving the history, lands and living things in parks and extending the benefits of parks into communities.

Last updated: February 1, 2023