Resources for Black History Month

Original Photo by William Lovelace/Express/Getty Images with Illustration by Jennifer Miller

Compiled In Partnership with Pamela McVeagh-Lally

This month, we recognize in particular the need to teach the full history of the American story and indeed our World’s story and how it has impacted Black lives. We encourage you to ask the question whether in your family or school or both: How are you, in your own role, explicitly seeking to understand our history with Black Americans or as a Black American and what are you doing to create a more racially just world? Certainly, teaching our children about the history of slavery, the actions and champions of nonviolent change, the important work of abolitionists and understanding white privilege historically and currently is an important start. In order to maximize your support as you engage with your family or students, we are listing a wide range of resources here.

  • Check out this extensive list of anti-racism resources including articles, webinars, podcasts, books, policy statements, professional development and guidance on talking about race and anti-racism with children and teens from the American School Counselors Association. 
  • Inspired by our United States’ National Youth Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman, check out this Facing History and Ourselves’ lesson plan for students grades 6-12, and an article on a young Cleveland poet’s reactions to her poem, “The Hill We Climb.
  • Explore this rich resource developed by the Abolitionist Teaching Network, The Guide to Racial Justice and Abolitionist Social and Emotional Learning. We appreciate SEL for Ohio Leadership Team member, Rochonda Nenonene, at the University of Dayton for sharing! 
  • Teaching Tolerance’s Coshandra Dillard, provides insights here about focusing on liberation, creativity, and the identities and incredible contributions made by Black Americans. 
  • School Psychologist and founder of Lessons for SEL, Byron McClure says “Time’s Up”  in his inspiring and practical “Call to Commit to Culturally Affirming SEL.” Thanks to SEL for Ohio Leadership Team member, Juanda Jones, at Columbus City Schools, for introducing us to this resource!
  • Wondering how the new Biden Administration plans to address social and emotional learning with an equity, anti-racist lens in education? President Biden modeled these skills through the language he used in his Inaugural speech. Check out these reflections written by Kamilah Drummond-Forrester. 
  • The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture is offering a wide range of digital programs for all ages this February. Check out the list of adult and kid-friendly online opportunities.

Check Out these Six Questions Abolitionist Teachers (and Abolitionist Parents/Caregivers) Can Ask to Build Relationships with Students1:

1. What can you tell me that helps me better understand you as a person?

2. How can I be the best teacher for you?

3. How can your school be a place where you feel seen, valued, and excited to learn?

4. What matters most to you (i.e., in life, at school, in your community)?

5. How can I support you mentally, emotionally, and in your community?

6. What is your love language (see the following article for more information on children’s love languages)?

This month, my family and I (Jennifer Miller) will be visiting the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in my original hometown, Cincinnati, Ohio to learn and experience together. They have numerous online resources including understanding slavery today and how to get involved in being an abolitionist. How will you give your family an experience of Black history this month to deepen your empathy and broaden your perspective?

Finally, we appreciated that the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) revisited their research-informed definition of social and emotional learning this past year to ensure that equity and inclusion were explicitly outlined. Check it out here. Like CASEL, I hope you challenge yourself this month to question your own roles and institutions and find out what you can do to create greater inclusivity.


Abolitionist Teaching Network. (2020). Guide for Racial Justice and Abolitionist Social and Emotional Learning. Abolitionist Teaching Network.

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