AFT - American Federation of Teachers

Shortcut Navigation:
Email ShareThis

Classroom Materials

Black History Month: February

Beginning in 1926, Black History Week was established during the second week of February, which coincided with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. In 1976, the week was expanded to Black History Month.

According to U.S. Census data, more than 42 million African-Americans live in the United States today—slightly more than 13 percent of the total U.S. population. By 2050, it is projected that the U.S. African-American population will grow to more than 65 million.

The AFT has identified a variety of resources to help educators celebrate Black History Month in their classrooms. This site highlights key historical events, influential figures and the continuing contributions African-Americans are making to our nation and the world. For instance, did you know that African- Americans were largely responsible for developing our railway system? More than 40 different patents were awarded to African-Americans for inventions of machinery and parts vital to the function of trains, tracks and passenger safety.

This Web site features a special focus on the landmark desegregation case Brown v. Board of Education, including profiles of its leaders, key events, recommended readings for grades K-12, and links to primary documents and lesson plans.

Watch excerpts highlighting AFT's role in civil rights from the AFT history video, "A Proud Tradition."