Teaching Black History: Connecting Current Events to the Past

Celebrate black history with your students by using current events to get them to look back into the past. This collection of resources highlights key themes in black history that we think your students will love to explore this month.

Teaching History: Connecting Current Events to the Past Webinar

Join a panel of Newsela educators as they share their best practices when teaching history in the classroom. Educators will explore using current events to trace contemporary topics back to historic moments that shaped who we are today. Multiple webinar dates and times offered. 

Watch a recording of Teaching History: Connecting Current Events to the Past Webinar

To see all the Newsela articles associated with the collection of resources we have created, you can visit this Text Set.

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Resource Collections


Rosa Parks is best known for her calm act of defiance when she refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a Montgomery bus in 1955. She is one of many great black heroes integral in the fight for civil rights. Use the news article and primary sources we have curated to help your students put themselves in Rosa Parks’ shoes.

Current Protests

There are countless connections between the Black Lives Matter movement (2013-present) and the civil rights movement (1954-1968). Have students make historical connections by using an article and primary sources about a specific event from the civil rights era.

Music and Freedom 

Music has been a source of inspiration and strength for many people, but it holds special significance for blacks as they used song from the times of slavery up to today to reflect on struggles and urge themselves forward. Have your students listen to and analyze some of the most influential songs in black history.

Celebrating Black Artists 

Misty Copeland broke ground as the first black female principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre. Using the resources provided, students will analyze Misty’s success in “mainstream art”.  They will also trace the success of black artists from the Harlem Renaissance to today.

Symbols of the Past

Some argue that the Confederate flag is a symbol of Southern pride and heritage, while others see it as a symbol of hate, specifically toward the black community. This set of activities and resources will spur students to think critically about the meaning of the flag and understand its connection to the challenges faced in black history.

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