This Free Black History Curriculum Helps High School Students Go Deep Into Current Events (2024)

Black history is American history, but finding (or creating) interactive lessons that help students draw connections between history and what’s going on today can be challenging. That’s why we’re so grateful for the 306: African American History and 306: Continuing the Story high school curricula from EVERFI. You’ll have everything you need to plan lessons and engaging activities for grades 8–12 that are meaningful, turnkey, and free.

What Does “306” Mean?

Did you know that the number 306 has significance in Black history? When Dr. Martin Luther King stayed at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, the site of his assassination in 1968, he preferred to stay in room 306. To support creative and intellectual expression during the Harlem Renaissance, artist Charles Alston founded “Group 306.” And when the Supreme Court issued its decision in the Dred Scott v. Sanford case, it was on March 6, 1857. This common thread and countless key moments in Black history are often left out of textbooks.

Teaching Black History in 2023

Our students crave context from what they see in the news and online. Students also crave representation in what they consume, watch, read, and learn. EVERFI’s 306: African American History and 306: Continuing the Story offer lessons from the full spectrum of our shared history and help us strive for a better future. Students will be introduced to key figures and events as they embark on this important journey at their own pace:

306: African American History

  • Slavery in the United States
  • Emancipation and Reconstruction
  • Jim Crow
  • Civil Rights and Beyond

306: Continuing the Story

  • Untold Stories
  • Black Business Titans
  • Black Contributions to Medicine

For example, the topics covered in “Untold Stories,” the first module of 306: Continuing the Story, include Juneteenth, the Million Man March, affirmative action, and modern protests against police brutality.

The topics covered in the second module, “Black Business Titans,” include both historical examples such as Black Wall Street and the Tulsa Race Massacre as well as present-day examples of Black entrepreneurship.

Here’s a quick video that shares more about the courses:

Capstone Essay

After working on the digital lessons, students will complete a capstone essay to finish the course. They will deconstruct one of two primary sources analyzing the writer’s perspective and experiences as well as the general historical context of the text in relation to themes like perseverance, civic action, and strategic planning.

Through the use of guided questions and a revision checklist, students will write a 250-word analytical essay on Frederick Douglass’ Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass or “The Demands of the March” from the March on Washington.

Students will also select a secondary topic from the course and then create an outline for a 250-word analytical essay by answering a set of guiding questions. They’ll use a revision checklist to review their draft before selecting from several layout options for the final copy.

Key learning objectives: This project will provide the opportunity to work on topic selection, scaffolded outline, essay composition, essay revision, and layout selection.

306: Continuing the Story

Once students have completed 306: African American History, they’ll explore the impact of historical influences on our lives today with 306: Continuing the Story. This digital course integrates into Social Studies, U.S. History, and/or English Language Arts curriculum and serves as an eye-opening bridge to the present.

Students will think deeply and critically about the connection between the events of the past and what they see unfolding in the world around them today as they uncover answers to questions like “Has progress been made?” “Is the resistance to change different today than it was years ago?”

The search for answers will expose students to new Black leaders that were the “first” in their fields, analyze post–Civil Rights Era events, and challenge myths and stereotypes.

Teacher Resources

Within the EVERFI teacher dashboard, you’ll find:

  • Curriculum guides
  • Lesson outlines
  • A rubric and instructions for the capstone essay
  • Extension lesson plans
  • Customizable student activity sheets

Additionally, you’ll have a handy guide that identifies which Common Core standards are addressed in each digital lesson.

Discussing Black history is essential in our classrooms, and navigating the complex stories and topics can be intimidating for many. Delving deeper into a subject often requires us to question our own understanding and beliefs; Black history is no different. The good news is that you don’t need to have all the answers or be an expert to be successful in using these digital resources. As you prepare to lead your students through the lessons, always remember: The goal is progress, not perfection.

Learn More About 306: African American History and 306: Continuing the Story

We know that Black History Month happens every February, but why stop there? Our students deserve a deeper understanding that isn’t limited to the shortest month of the year. You might build on the lessons about Black women in 306: African American History and 306: Continuing the Story during March’s Women’s History Month, for example, or focus on Black entrepreneurs during April’s Financial Literacy Month. There are opportunities and touch points to discuss Black history all year long, and you can find even more resources from EVERFI on their Cultural Literacy Hub.Don’t miss out on this amazing, important resource!

This Free Black History Curriculum Helps High School Students Go Deep Into Current Events (1)

This Free Black History Curriculum Helps High School Students Go Deep Into Current Events (2024)


Why is it important for students to learn about Black history? ›

Promoting critical thinking.

Regardless of a student's interest or major, the study of African American history encourages the development of critical thinking. The segregation wall at Morgan provides an excellent example.

Why is it important to continue learning about Black history beyond February? ›

Delving deeper into Black history allows students to make connections and see how every aspect of American life has been shaped by the Black experience.

Why is Black history important in history? ›

African Americans have played a central role in shaping U.S. history. From slavery and its abolition to the Great Migration, the civil rights movement and military, scientific, cultural and political achievements, explore key moments, milestones and figures in Black History.

What are the benefits of Black History Month? ›

This month-long observance in the US and Canada is a chance to celebrate Black achievement and provide a fresh reminder to take stock of where systemic racism persists and give visibility to the people and organizations creating change.

Who has the biggest impact on Black history? ›

These leaders have also had a significant impact in shaping the world we live in today.
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. One of the most well-known civil rights leaders, Martin Luther King, Jr. ...
  • Rosa Parks. ...
  • Barack Obama. ...
  • Frederick Douglass. ...
  • oprah Winfrey. ...
  • Harriet Tubman. ...
  • Medgar Evers. ...
  • Jackie Robinson.
Mar 2, 2022

What are 5 important Black history events? ›

African American HistoryEvents
  • The Charleston Cigar Factory Strike (1945-1946) ...
  • Nashville Operation Open City Movement (1961-1964) ...
  • UCLA Shootout between the Panthers and US (1969) ...
  • The Chicago Sit-In (1943) ...
  • Royal Ice Cream Sit-In (1957) ...
  • The First Black Power Conference (1967) ...
  • The Read Drug Store Sit-Ins (1955)

What is the main idea of Black history? ›

Black History Month was created to focus attention on the contributions of African Americans to the United States. It honors all Black people from all periods of U.S. history, from the enslaved people first brought over from Africa in the early 17th century to African Americans living in the United States today.

What is a good topic for Black history? ›

  • Slavery.
  • Abolition and Emancipation.
  • Reconstruction.
  • Segregation and Black Migration.
  • Civil Rights.
Aug 15, 2016

What are 2 important facts about Black History Month? ›

It was first celebrated during the second week of February in 1926 to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln (February 12) and abolitionist/editor Frederick Douglass (February 14). In 1976, as part of the nation's bicentennial, the week was expanded to a month.

How does Black History Month affect us today? ›

Black history is world history. Black History Month represents Black influence around the world. Today, we not only celebrate the Black astronauts, scientists, inventors, artists, and activists of the past; we also celebrate the rise of Black business, arts, and literature that will influence the future.

What does black history mean to me? ›

It honors all Black people and important events from all periods of U.S. history. We celebrate to honor those who helped the movement for racial justice thrive and flourish so one day we all can live in a world of peace and love.

Why is the Black culture important? ›

It encompasses collective values, traditions, and social structures that promote unity, mutual support, and resilience in the face of adversity. Black culture has been instrumental in driving social movements and activism, fighting against racial injustice and promoting equality.

Why is it important for Black people to be educated? ›

African Americans had other reasons for making literacy a priority after slavery ended. Many hoped that education would improve their economic circ*mstances and offer some protection from fraud and exploitation. They also saw education as important preparation for participating in civic life.

Why is it necessary to begin the study of African American history on the continent of Africa? ›

Oppression is a part of African American history. However, starting there ignores a full and complete story that existed before Africans came to what would become the United States. Starting with African history helps students come away with a fuller understanding of slavery and its complexities.

Why is it important to learn about Black scientists? ›

The hard work and dedication of these and many other Black scientists have helped shape our world, changing how we approach science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

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