Black History Month Collection

The history of African Americans in Georgia dates back to the earliest days of slavery in the colony. From the Antebellum era to the end of the Civil War slaves toiled on farms and plantations across Georgia. After freedom from slavery, African Americans waited nearly one hundred years for the promises of the 14th and 15th amendments to be kept. Along their journey, their cultural and economic successes and challenges became a part of their history.

  • The Civil Rights Movement | Virtual Learning Journey

    In collaboration with Georgia Department of Education, Georgia Public Broadcasting produced a standards-based, virtual learning journey that transports students to a critical period of time in United States history. Brimming with comprehensive, cross-curricular content, including 14 videos, primary source images and documents, compelling photo galleries, interactive maps, artwork, music, and more, this virtual collection invites students into an engaging exploration of some of the most significant events of the Civil Rights Movement.

    Grades: 5-10
  • The Economic Aspects of the Civil Rights Movement | Georgia Stories

    The Civil Rights Movement was about more than justice and equality for African Americans, it also was about economic opportunity. This story looks at the economic impact of the movement on local Georgians. Felder Daniels owns and works a 101 acre farm near Americus. The farm was passed to him from his sharecropper parents who saved enough money for its purchase. Tena Butler attended segregated schools in Savannah. She knew everything was different for African Americans, but it was accepted as the norm.

    Grades: 7-10
  • Television Stories | Georgia Stories

    While many things on television may be forgettable, every now and again, there is something that stays with us. Events, big and small, that we witness can have an effect on us later in life. Tony Grooms, an author and poet living in Atlanta describes how events he saw on television as a young boy became topics in his stories. One big event that he watched on television was news coverage of children in Birmingham protesting during the Civil Rights movement. In one story, Grooms describes the police using powerful fire hoses to stop the protesters. Some of the children mocked the police by dancing in the water spray. Their actions in the face of danger inspired his story.

    Grades: 7-10
  • Civil Rights in the Classroom | Georgia Stories

    Art like "Freedom School" shows how far we have come, provoking the viewer with its images and symbols to ask questions about that time in history. Mabel Cochran describes the school she attended and how students made do with battered and worn textbooks handed down from white schools. She states that white people fought school integration because they knew education would change a person's world. "If you can't read or write, think or figure, than someone else will control you. Education will free you," she said. Today's schools are very different with many races and nationalities represented in classrooms.

    Grades: 7-12
  • The Beat of Civil Rights | Georgia Stories

    While there were many famous Civil Rights leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr., the movement would not have succeeded without thousands of unknown heroes who marched and protested. African Americans marched in the streets and were arrested. They protested the arrests and when they were not protesting, they were in churches organizing and planning. Harris became part of a group called the Freedom Singers. She describes how singing empowered her. Albany churches were filled with people singing about freedom.

    Grades: 7-10
  • Atlanta's Example | Georgia Stories

    The Civil Rights movement brought great upheaval and change to American society. Southern cities like Birmingham and Nashville witnessed violence and hostility, but Atlanta was different. The end of segregation in Atlanta began in 1960 with a series of sit-ins and boycotts organized by students from the six colleges in the Atlanta University complex. Atlanta students decided to challenge segregation and focus on integrating public accommodations and lunch counters.

    Grades: 7-12
  • African-American Inventors | Georgia Stories


    Chris Mitchell teaches Georgia students about African American inventors using original patents, documents, and photographs. Among African American inventors she recognizes are Garrett Morgan from Cleveland, Ohio who designed the traffic signal we see every day. Lewis Latimer proposed the use of the carbon filament for light bulbs that allowed them to burn longer. He was hired by and was the only African American in Thomas Edison’s laboratory. Frederick McKinley Jones holds 60 patents. He designed the technology that adapted silent movie projectors and allowed them to show talking movies. His invention of the refrigerated truck allows fruits and vegetables to remain fresh when they are shipped across the country.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Race Riot of 1906 | Georgia Stories

    How can we avoid repeating our past mistakes? One of the best ways is to understand what happened and why it happened so we can avoid doing the same thing in the future. One such event in Georgia's past was the race riot of 1906. As economic conditions worsened after the Civil War, poor whites joined blacks moving to Atlanta where both groups competed for work. In mid-September, a riot started in Atlanta when violent mobs of whites began randomly attacking black men, beating and killing them.

    Grades: 7-12
  • The Alonzo Herndon Family | Georgia Stories

    Alonzo Herndon, a former slave born in 1858 in Social Circle, was ambitious. He sought to better himself and ultimately became a millionaire in Atlanta. After emancipation, he tried sharecropping but realized his path to success meant learning a trade. He learned barbering and eventually opened his own shop in Atlanta called the Crystal Palace. The barbershop served Atlanta's white elite. Through constant hard work and investments in Atlanta property, Herndon became the richest black man in America.

    Grades: 5-12
  • Singing the Blues – Southern Music | Georgia Stories

    Today we can listen to music just about anywhere and from a wide variety of formats. That was not the case before the turn of the 20th century. If you wanted to hear music, you made it yourself or with your family. Norman and Nancy Blake and James Bryan play American string music and talk about it as the main form of entertainment in the home. Charles Wolfe, a music historian, describes how songs were a way of telling stories and spreading the news.

    Grades: 7-12
  • The Civil War and the Black Soldier | Georgia Stories

    Black Americans had a point to prove, and during the Civil War they did. First they fought for the right to fight when many whites did not want them to take up arms, and then they fought and died for a cause bigger than themselves. Within the Union ranks were 200,000 black soldiers–nearly 10 percent of the Union’s 2 million troops. One of the most famous companies of black soldiers was the 54th Massachusetts Colored Infantry.

    Grades: 8-13+
  • African Roots | Georgia Stories

    In the 1800s when there was no television to watch, movies to see or video games to play, people had other ways to entertain themselves. African slaves brought with them a strong oral tradition of storytelling, especially trickster tales, and told them in the evenings when the work was done. In trickster tales, the smaller and weaker character always manages to get the better of his larger, stronger protagonist by using his wits. These folktales were recorded by Joel Chandler Harris and known as the Uncle Remus stories when published.

    Grades: 8-13+
  • The Growth of Slavery | Georgia Stories

    The dream of freedom for slaves meant the freedom to be their own masters responsible for themselves and no more whips and chains. Some slaves made that dream a reality when they got on board the Underground Railroad. Savannah tour guide Ogbanna explains the Underground Railroad to students as he asks them to think differently when they hear the words train, tracks, and station.

    Grades: 8-13+
  • Georgia’s African Heritage | Georgia Stories

    Just a short ferry boat ride away from the Georgia coast lies Hog Hammock, an African American community on Sapelo Island with cultural traditions that tie it to Africa. Slaves came to Georgia bringing nothing more than memories from their African homeland. Cornelia Bailey, a descendant of slaves who worked the plantations on Sapelo, imagines the terrible sadness her ancestors felt knowing they were so far away from home with no way to return.

    Grades: 8-13+
  • Mary Francis Hill Coley | Georgia Stories

    Mary Francis Hill Coley became a renowned Georgia midwife who delivered thousands of babies during her life. She was born in a Georgia where women were often treated as less than equal citizens, and where, for poor and black women, the struggle was compounded. With little, if any, formal schooling, she became an accomplished and recognized midwife, an advocate for health care who saw no racial barriers, as documented in the award winning film, "All My Babies," in 1952.

    Grades: 6-12
  • The Story of William and Ellen Craft | Georgia Stories

    William and Ellen Craft were slaves from Macon, Georgia who gained celebrity after an adventurous escape from bondage in December 1848. The daughter of an African American woman and her white master, Ellen looked white and was able to dress as a southern slaveholder, while her darker-skinned husband, William, accompanied her by posing as her attentive slave valet. They journeyed by from Macon to Philadelphia , where they earned their freedom.

    Grades: 7-10