MSU offers Black History Month learning resource guides

February 5, 2021

The Michigan State University Office of K-12 Outreach has compiled two resource guides to help students, educators and others engage in learning in recognition of Black History Month.

The guides include a summary of easy accessible online resources and a list of recommended Black and Black-authored books. They were compiled thanks to the efforts and insights of outreach specialist Ted Ransaw.

“These tools are designed to raise awareness and provide an access point for education about Black history, accomplishments, leaders, culture and key figures,” said Ransaw.

The roots of Black History Month date back to February 1926 when Carter G. Woodson and the (now titled) Association for the Study of African American Life and History initiated the first such celebration in a weeklong format. In 1976, President Gerald Ford helped expand Woodson’s observance into the monthlong occasion that is now Black History Month.

Today, each February signals a chance to emphasize that Black history is not limited to “the subjugation of slavery” but that it has “significantly impacted the development of the social, political and economic structures of the United States and the world.” It is also a chance to ensure that Black history has a solid place in education.

View the resource guides

The Black History Month Online Resources links to topical websites like those from the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Library of Congress. Then, the collection notes upcoming events designed to help celebrate Black History Month, archives centered on Black history and resources from school districts and universities aimed at educators looking to lesson plan and develop curriculum around this content. Further, the document includes links to online apps and portals to help readers explore places like the National Archives and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum even as COVID-19 limits in-person travel and experiential learning. Finally, the guide has links to Black Lansing artists like Julian Van Dyke and Brian Whitfield. Specifically, for students, the document includes a National Geographic Kids Guide along with a list of “28 Black History Month Resources for Kids of All Ages.”

Black and Black Authored Books starts with an online search tool for these texts so that users can find exactly what speaks to their interests. Then, the resource guide goes through an extensive list of recommended readings that might interest a wide variety of young and adult readers.

“We hope readers will disseminate these resources to people they know the documents will positively impact,” Ransaw said. “With these tools and other ones that are shared, the Office of K-12 Outreach is optimistic that it can help the public meaningfully engage with Black history and culture this February and beyond.”

This post is based on content from the Office of K-12 Outreach Spotlight, a monthly e-mail newsletter written by Tyler Thur. Subscribe today.