Black History Month Songs & Curriculum

Lift Every Voice for Black History Month curriculum resources.

On This Page

  • *Song Info Lift Ev’ry Voice, Sister Rosa, Bessie Jones documentary, What Can One Little Person Do?
  • *Musician & Song Database Google Sheets database
  • *Resources African Drumming/Dance, Music History Is Black History, Culture Bearer-Namibia, Black Stringband music, History of We Shall Overcome, African American Women and Rock and Roll, Paying Royalties, American History through the lens of Black American music (Diaspora)
  • *Bulletin Boards

Song Info

Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing (Black National Anthem)

Kings Return

Sister Rosa by The Neville Brothers

Documentary About Bessie Jones

What Can One Little Person Do? by Sally Rogers

A composed song about important black leaders and the power of one.

Musician & Song Database

I’ve tried to use songs written by Black artists that are accessible to children. There is a multitude of current songs (or within the past 10 years) that could be used as well that I haven’t added to the list. Also, there are SO MANY amazing Black performers who weren’t composers that you can highlight as well.

Resources

African Drumming & Dance

In this series, dancer Rujeko Dumbutshena and drummer Farai Malianga show you how to dance traditional African dances and drums and their place in African history. This is a YT playlist from the Kennedy Center.

Music History, Is Black History

This resource page by Reverb has lots of information about Black musicians who were innovators and had groundbreaking achievements.

Teaching Idea: Let students choose a musician to research, putting all the research together into a timeline of Black music history.

The final student product could be online or hard-copy.
ONLINE-a Google slide, Flipgrid video presentation
HARD-COPY-poster board, report on 8.5 x 11, info on record-shaped album

Namibia Culture-Bearer, Garth Prince

Prince is a musician, vocalist, drummer, and educator who has knowledge of traditional folk songs of Namibia.

Black Stringband Music

This resource, by musician Jake Blount, has some essential and relevant information about Stringband music but other information about Black music and musicians. Mr. Blount has such thoroughly researched information.

A History of We Shall Overcome

A fascinating and thorough search of the evolution of this famous song. After watching, I definitely subscribed to Genie Deez’s channel because he is amazing!

His YT playlist on Culture & History includes great information on Funk, Civil Rights, syncopation, and so much more.

Black Diamond Queens: African American Women and Rock and Roll.

In Black Diamond Queens, Maureen Mahon draws on recordings, press coverage, archival materials, and interviews to document the history of African American women in rock and roll between the 1950s and the 1980s.”

AMAZING video. I highly recommend watching for teachers and upper middle school/high school students.

Paying Royalties

The United Parish in Brookline introduced a unique program to help carry on the legacy of this music in Roxbury, and they’re hoping to be a model for others.

“There was growing discomfort around how to use Negro spirituals, appropriately and respectfully,” said the congregation’s minister of music Susan DeSelms.

Black Music of the African Diaspora

This blog post is from two educators who created a new seminar that looks at American history through Black American music. The greatest thing is that they have shared their playlist on Spotify!

Bulletin Boards

Find Kids’ Songs By Subject In The Big Database

Does your concert have a theme? This GROWING database currently has songs categorized by subject and includes animals, food, geography, numbers, positivity, and The 80s. Many more coming soon!

Current Subjects: animals, Black History Month, bugs, colors, food, geography, love/valentines, numbers, places/travel, positivity, The 80s, westerns/cowboy, World Music.

Theme & Title Ideas Below


Concert Theme Ideas & Titles

  • Broadway
  • Decades (50s, 70s, etc)
  • Patriotic
  • Candyland (candy and treats)
  • Colors
  • Seasons “One Spring Day”, “Time and Seasons”,
  • Water
  • Worksongs
  • Spirituals & Freedom Songs
  • Jazz “And All That Jazz”,
  • Connections (songs about other school subjects)
  • Emotions “If You’re Happy and You Know It”
  • Ocean “Octopus’ Garden”, “Under the Sea”, “Songs of Land and Sea”
  • Movies “A Night at the Movies”, “Pass the Popcorn”
  • Global “Around the World in Song”, “The Global Beat”,
  • Animals “We’re Going to the Zoo”, “Creatures of the Earth”, “I Went to the Animal Fair”
  • Boy Bands
  • Space “Out of this World”, “Journey to the Moon”, “Big Blue Ball”,
  • Journeys/Road Trip/Geography/Travel “Where’s Waldo?”,
  • Music (songs with music in the title) “
  • Silly Songs (songs with nonsense words)

Video List With Genre, Length, and Grade Level for Teachers

Image by Jan Alexander from Pixabay 

Disclaimer: This is a list of videos that teachers have used in their classrooms. The videos in this list have NOT been officially rated for content (especially the musicals) so you will need to view any video you want to show and make sure it is appropriate for your students.

Every school is different so it is very hard to determine the appropriate grade level for some of the videos. If you have suggestions for particular videos and an appropriate grade level, please let me know. I would love your input!

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