African American History Feature

To celebrate African American History, Teaching with Historic Places is featuring on the Web the following complete lesson plans that consider important aspects of African American history. Created by National Park Service interpreters, preservation professionals, and educators, these lessons are free and ready for immediate classroom use by students in history and social studies classes.

Play ball! This lesson uses the Daytona Beach ballpark where Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color barrier to explore racism and sports in American history.

An American Success Story: The Pope House of Raleigh, NC (124)
Meet Dr. Manassa T. Pope, an African-American doctor and entrepreneur in the early 20th century, and learn about his efforts to gain civil rights well before the modern Civil Rights Movement.

Brown v. Board: Five Communities that Changed America (121)
Learn about the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case that declared segregation in public schools unconstitutional. (Monroe Elementary School [now Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site] is a unit of the National Park Service/Robert Russa Moton High School, Sumner and Monroe Elementary Schools, Howard High School, and John Philip Sousa Middle School are National Historic Landmarks.)

Chicago's Black Metropolis: Understanding History through a Historic Place (53)
Examine the history of this "city-within-a-city," a self-supporting African-American community that prospered from the late 19th century until the 1930s.

From Canterbury to Little Rock: The Struggle for Educational Equality for African Americans
Understand the magnitude of the struggle involved in securing equal educational opportunities for African Americans and examine how Prudence Crandall challenged the prevailing attitude toward educating African Americans in New England prior to the Civil War. (Little Rock Central High School is a National Park and National Historic Landmark/Prudence Crandall Museum is a National Historic Landmark)

Discover Colonel Young's Protest Ride for Equality and Country: A Lightning Lesson from Teaching with Historic Places, featuring the historic Colonel Charles Young House (Lightning Lesson 2)
Trace the paths an African American cavalry officer took in his life and chart the one he took during World War I, riding horseback from his historic Ohio home to confront racism in Washington, DC.

Glen Echo Park: Center for Education and Recreation (24)
Trace the evolution of this Maryland site from a chapter of the Chautauqua movement, to a racially segregated amusement park, to a national park. (National Park)

Iron Hill School: An African-American One Room School (58)
Discover how an early 20th-century philanthropist reformed Delaware's education system for African-American children.

"Journey from Slavery to Statesman": The Homes of Frederick Douglass (147)
Follow Frederick Douglass on his journey from life as a slave to that of a respected statesman and investigate how three homes reflect the different phases of his life. (Wye House, the Nathan and Polly Johnson House, and Cedar Hill are National Historic Landmarks. Cedar Hill and the Nathan and Polly Johnson House are each a resource of a National Park.)

The Liberty Bell: From Obscurity to Icon (36)
Analyze the influences that shaped the symbolic meaning of the bell, including why some civil rights protestors chose the Liberty Bell as their symbol for African American equality. (National Park)

The Mary McLeod Bethune Council House: African American Women Unite for Change (135)
Learn about Mary McLeod Bethune and how she and the organization she founded promoted political and social change for African American women. (National Park)

Memories of Montpelier: Home of James and Dolley Madison (46)
Visit the Madisons' plantation home and their world of social prominence, and explore some contemporary views of slavery. (National Historic Landmark)

New Kent School and the George W. Watkins School: From Freedom of Choice to Integration (104)
Learn about the U.S. Supreme Court case that forced the integration of public schools and meet the individuals who experienced segregation, fought to dismantle the institution, and integrated the public school system of New Kent County, Virginia. (National Historic Landmark)

New Philadelphia: A Multiracial Town on the Illinois Frontier (130)
Learn about Free Frank McWorter and how archeology can help tell the story of the interracial town he founded in the years before the Civil War.

President Lincoln's Cottage: A Retreat (138)
Explore President Abraham Lincoln’s life at a country retreat during summer months and examine the work he completed there on the Emancipation Proclamation. (National Historic Landmark)

The Old Courthouse in St. Louis: Yesterday and Today (9)
Compare two images of St. Louis's handsome Courthouse--as a gathering place for pioneers heading west and as a dramatic focus for Dred Scott's heroic efforts to free his family from slavery. (National Park)

The Rosenwald Schools: Progressive Era Philanthropy in the Segregated South (159)
Discover how community activism and a partnership between a white businessman and a leading black educator built 5,000 schools for African American students in the early 20th century.

The Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights March: Shaking the Conscience of the Nation (133)
Learn how people in Selma, Alabama, and national civil rights organizations worked together to end the unconstitutional denial of voting rights to African Americans in the South. (Brown Chapel AME Church and the First Confederate Capitol are National Historic Landmarks)

Separate But Equal? South Carolina's Fight Over School Segregation (158)
Discover South Carolina's 1951 "separate but equal" school building program and learn about the Briggs v. Elliott case, one of the lawsuits combined with Brown v. Board of Education.

The Shields-Ethridge Farm: The End of a Way of Life (145)
Investigate sharecropping as a way of life in upland Georgia during the early 20th century and examine the efforts of one farm owner to diversify as market fluctuation and urbanization threatened that life.

The Siege of Port Hudson: "Forty Days and Nights in the Wilderness of Death" (71)
Understand the importance of the Mississippi River to both the North and South during the Civil War, as well as the critical role African American soldiers played in the Civil War and how their fighting changed general public perception of their abilities. (National Historic Landmark)

Two American Entrepreneurs: Madam C.J. Walker and J.C. Penney
Examine the historic places associated with two of America's most famous 20th century business people.(National Historic Landmarks)

The Vieux Carré: A Creole Neighborhood in New Orleans (20)
Examine New Orleans's distinctive French Quarter, a vibrant reflection of its Creole heritage, and recall the city's role in American westward expansion. (National Park/National Historic Landmark)

Ulysses S. Grant and Julia Dent Grant at White Haven Farm: The Missouri Compromise in American Life (154)
Discover the personal experiences of Americans in a nation divided politically on the issue of slavery through the early life of Ulysses S. Grant, who lived on a Missouri farm with his wife Julia Dent Grant and her slave-holding family in the 1850s. (National Park)

When Rice Was King (3)
Investigate early rice plantations in Georgetown, South Carolina, to learn how rice cultivation transformed the native environment and promoted the South's dependence on a plantation economy. Recent revision to this lesson includes the examination of the origins of rice production and the cultural genesis of students' communities.

For more information about African American History, visit the National Register of Historic Places feature.

To learn more about TwHP's other lessons, visit the Lesson Plan Descriptions page.

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