7th Grade Black History Month Research Project

Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by black Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of African Americans in U.S. history. Our class will be researching and promoting achievements by black Americans and other peoples of African descent to achieve equality. We celebrate our civil rights heroes because the struggle for social justice continues. You are going to research an African American hero who pushed the boundaries for equality or whose actions and accomplishments create a vision of how the world can look with cooperation and understanding.
What will you do?
1 Choose an important African American from history and gather research information about them.
2 Next, you will use the information you collected to write a five paragraph research paper that will be used as a grade in both Language Arts and Social Studies.
3 You will also use your essay and research notes to complete a final project in the form of a slide presentation or a Body Biography with an oral presentation.
  1. If you choose to create a slide presentation, it will be presented in Social Studies. You will dress as your person and give the presentation in first person.
  2. If you create a Body Biography, you and a partner will give an oral presentation that connects your work to the life and accomplishments of your civil rights hero.

Project goal: Answer two essential questions through research and reflection.
1. What exactly did this person do to make their mark on history and why is that important?
2. How can I connect to the barriers, and accomplishments, of this person as I continue to make decisions in my life?




Grade 8 - Stepping Into Selma
Voting Rights History and Legacy Today

On January 2, 1965, Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., came to Selma, Alabama, to recruit an army of nonviolent soldiers to wage a war against laws and customs that prevented blacks from voting. Being a black American living in Selma didn't mean you automatically became a part of this army. The decision to join up was a matter of individual conscience for each man, woman, and child. Many did not volunteer, but many did. You are going to help tell their stories. Our focus is on the “people’s history” of Selma that we all can learn from during this 51st anniversary year of the Selma to Montgomery March and the Voting Rights Act. It is needed, especially now, because excluding citizens from voting is still a live issue. Sheriff’s deputies may no longer be beating people to keep them from registering to vote, but institutionalized racism continues.For example, in 2013 the Supreme Court ruled in Shelby v. Holder that the Justice Department may no longer evaluate laws passed in the former Confederacy for racial bias. Many states like Texas and Pennsylvania tried to pass laws that made voting more difficult by requiring all voters to have a picture ID.

1 You and a partner will research one of the participants of the Selma March for voting rights. Each of you will use your research to answer questions about your person.

2 Next, you will use the information to write a five paragraph informational essay for both Language Arts and Social Studies.

3 Your final project will be one of the following:
  1. Create a slide presentation about your person and present it in Social Studies. You will dress as your person giving the presentation in first person.
  2. Create a Body Biography and present it in your ELA class.

The purpose of this project is to answer two essential questions through research and reflection.

1. What did this person do to make their mark on history, and why is that important?

2. How can I connect to the barriers, and accomplishments, of this person as I continue to make decisions in my life?