We believe it is important to educate ourselves and our community about the Black experience in the United States and African history. Our content team helped pull together a list of Khan Academy’s resources on Black history, politics, and culture. Here are a few hand-picked videos and articles if you want to learn more about these important topics.
Black history in the United States
Before the Civil War: Watch a video about the role of slavery in early America and read about the lives of African Americans in the early republic. Read about what life was like for enslaved men and women, and hear the story of the Scott family in the heart-wrenching Supreme Court decision Dred Scott v. Sandford.
After the Civil War:
Learn about the origins of Juneteenth, when the last enslaved people received news of the abolition of slavery.
Read about how life did—and didn’t—change for African Americans after the abolition of slavery. Learn more about the failure of Reconstruction and the emergence of Jim Crow segregation. Hear two Constitutional scholars debate the lasting impact of the Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court decision, which permitted “separate but equal” public accommodations.
The Civil Rights Movement: Read about how the post-World War II economic boom left out African Americans and how Black veterans were excluded from the benefits of military service. This lesson on the Civil Rights Movement covers the major events, ideas, and people from Emmett Till to Black Power. Dive into primary documents by reading Dr. King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail and examining it closely with help from Sal. Hear from Constitutional scholars about the lasting impact of the Brown v. Board of Education decision.
The history of Africa
Want to learn more about African peoples and empires? Go back in time to learn more about Nubia and Ancient Egypt, Aksum, and Nok. Read about the states and empires of West Africa and the Bantu Migration. Experience African history through a Ghanaian lens with three videos from the World History Project:
African American art
The next best thing to visiting a museum in person, the Seeing America project puts art front and center in the history of the United States. Learn more about the work of Black artists in these videos and articles:
African American trailblazers
From Khan Academy’s middle-school English language arts curriculum, you or your child may be interested in learning about these Black trailblazers:
Marley Dias: An 11-year-old activist who brought attention to the importance of representation in what we read
Katherine Johnson: A pioneering mathematician who helped launch a man into space
Sojourner Truth: A formerly enslaved woman and abolitionist who speaks about the importance of equality for race and gender (includes a fictional play that is based on true events)
Mae Jemison: The first African American woman in space
Granville T Woods: An inventor who helped save lives
CJ Walker: The first self-made woman millionaire and social activist
Want to learn more about Black history in the United States? Check out these seven books and Khan Academy lessons recommended by our employees.