Black History Month: Dig Deeper with Seven PBS LearningMedia Collections

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Images/ The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross

PBS LearningMedia provides several notable collections from award winning documentaries around black history.  These collections feature extensive multimedia resources, lesson plans and student guides that extend learning beyond Black History Month. 

The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross
Using video clips, this collection of lesson plans address a wide range of themes of the African-American experience from 1500 to the present. Noted Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. recounts the full trajectory of African-American history in his groundbreaking series The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross. The series explores the evolution of the African-American people, as well as the multiplicity of cultural institutions, political strategies, and religious and social perspectives they developed — forging their own history, culture and society against unimaginable odds. Collection highlights include quotation posters and lesson plans.

Freedom Riders
With this collection, students learn about a courageous band of civil rights activists called Freedom Riders who in 1961 challenged segregation in the American South. The video segments document the events and accomplishments of the Freedom Rides, and introduce students to the real human stories of those who helped change history. Collection highlights include newsreel footage and archival photos.

Finding Your Roots
This collection contains media-rich resources on a range of topics including colonialism, immigration, migration, the history of jazz, the American civil rights movement, and slavery. The basic drive to discover who we are and where we come from is at the core of the 10-part PBS series Finding Your Roots. The series explores major historical events through the ancestries of prominent Americans. Collection highlights include media-rich hands on lessons.

The March on Washington
Last year marked the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and was commemorated by teachers and students across the country and around the world. These resources help students appreciate the significance of this event – and its role in the larger Civil Rights Movement using this collection of digital content. Collection highlights include audio recording and flyers from the event with lesson plans and interactive timeline.


The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow
The landmark four-part series The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow explores segregation from the end of the civil war to the dawn of the modern civil rights movement. It was a brutal and oppressive era in American history, but during this time, large numbers of African-Americans and a corps of influential black leaders bravely fought against the status quo, amazingly acquiring for African-Americans the opportunities of education, business, land ownership, and a true spirit of community. Collection highlights include a geography lesson plan.

Civil Rights
In 1954, the Supreme Court's landmark ruling in Brown v. Board of Education declared segregated schools unconstitutional and sparked a decade of groundbreaking civil rights activism and legislation. Using archival news footage, primary sources, and interview segments filmed for Eyes on the Prize, this collection captures the voices, images, and events of the Civil Rights movement and the ongoing struggle for racial equality in America.

The Supreme Court: Civil Rights & Civil Liberties
These resources from the award-winning PBS series The Supreme Court chart the Court’s unique evolution through archival footage, graphic techniques and interviews with legal historians and experts. Together, they help unfold complex legal concepts and key Constitutional issues. Explore the personalities and beliefs of individual Supreme Court justices as well as the dynamic social and political forces that have and continue to shape legal precedent in the United States. Collection highlights include lesson plans exploring key court cases.