At the National Archives we have primary sources and educational activities for teaching about African American history during Black History Month or any time of the year.
You can access hundreds of photographs, letters, legislation, Constitutional amendments, videos, and more related to African American history on DocsTeach, our online tool for teaching with documents.
Find topics such as:
- Civil Rights
- Voting Rights
- School Desegregation
- The March on Washington
- The Freedmen’s Bureau
- Fugitive Slave Laws
- Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
- Harriet Tubman
- Black Soldiers in the Civil War
- Thurgood Marshall
- Jackie Robinson
If you’re looking for primary sources for another topic, visit our document search page and type in your keyword. You can narrow down your results by historical era or document type.
For example, a variety of documents from school segregation court cases available on DocsTeach illustrate how the “separate but equal” doctrine was eroded over time:
- Alice Lorraine Ashley v. School Board of Gloucester County, 1948
- Davis v. Prince Edward County, 1954
- Green v. New Kent County, 1968
We also have several teaching activities ready to use in the classroom or online with your students on DocsTeach.
In Examining Where Rosa Parks Sat, students examine a diagram of the bus from this famous incident. Ms. Parks’s name has been blacked out using our White Out/Black Out tool.
In the activity U.S. v. Amistad: A Case of Jurisdiction, students explore this famous court case in which the Supreme Court stated that the Africans aboard the Amistad were free individuals, illegally kidnapped and transported, and were never slaves.
You can find many more teaching activities related to Civil Rights, voting rights, slavery, segregation, and much more on DocsTeach.
Our special Rights in America page also includes a variety of primary sources and teaching activities exploring the ways Americans, including African Americans and others, have fought for, attained, and protected their rights.
In addition to our education resources, you can find a variety of articles, blog posts, videos, recorded programs, and upcoming events on our African American History Month Resources page on archives.gov.
Images in this post:
- Moton High School Classroom, ca. 1951. From the Records of District Courts of the United States.
- Voter Registration Drive, 9/1973. From the Records of the Environmental Protection Agency.
- Official Program for the March on Washington, 8/28/1963. From the Collection JFK-164: Post-Administration Records Collection; John F. Kennedy Library, Boston, MA.
- Dealing Out of Rations in Uniontown, Alabama. From the Records of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics.
- President Barack Obama Sits on the Famed Rosa Parks Bus, 4/18/2012. From the BHO-WHPO: Records of the White House Photo Office (Obama Administration); Barack Obama Presidential Library.
- Regiment of the United States Colored Troops at Port Hudson, Louisiana, 1864. From the Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs.