Teach the Black Freedom Struggle Campaign

Teachers around the United States face the challenge of how to prepare to teach in the midst of the pandemic and a rebellion in defense of Black lives.

Students are turning to teachers to help them make sense of this new reality. Textbooks and the traditional curriculum are of no help as they hide the long history of white supremacy and the Black Freedom Struggle.

The Teach the Black Freedom Struggle campaign of the Zinn Education Project (coordinated by Rethinking Schools and Teaching for Change) supports teachers with free lessons for teaching about racism and anti-racist struggles, distribution to school districts of the book Teaching for Black Lives, teacher study groups, a podcast, online classes for teachers, and more.

The campaign is made possible through the generous support of Doug and Tara Baldwin, Braden Bishop, the Carroll Family Fund, Tricia Davis and Ben Haggerty (aka Macklemore), Zach Quillen, the Seahawks Players Equality & Justice for All Action Fund, Ralph Lauren, and Bobby Wagner.

Lessons on the Black Freedom Struggle

The Zinn Education Project offers dozens of lessons on the history of the Black Freedom Struggle — from resistance to enslavement to redlining to the ongoing fight for voting rights and reparations. Find highlighted collections of lessons at Teach the Roots of the 2020 Rebellion, People’s History Lessons for Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, and Teaching with the New York Times 1619 Project.

Teacher Study Groups

The Zinn Education Project will support up to 100 Teaching for Black Lives Study Groups this school year. This is a free professional learning opportunity. Each group will receive:

  • A copy of the Rethinking Schools book Teaching for Black Lives for each participant
  • A Rethinking Schools subscription for each participant
  • Presentation, workshop, or discussion with one of the Teaching for Black Lives editors or contributors, or a people’s historian
  • Public recognition
  • Access to a network of other teacher study groups across the United States

Learn more and apply.

Book Giveaway 

We are sending teachers a copy of Teaching for Black Lives in appreciation for stories about using people’s history lessons.

Teaching for Black Lives, published by Rethinking Schools, grew directly out of the movement for Black lives.

Police violence and racial profiling loom large for my students, and often our solutions are legislative or civic. Teaching for Black Lives allowed me to bring hope and heart to a grueling and gruesome topic. . . Too often we are asking our students to wait and this allowed them to talk back immediately. — Liz Iverson, middle school teacher, Chicago, Illinois

Teaching for Black Lives provides practical resources and shows how teachers connect curriculum to young people’s lives and root their daily experiences in what is taught and how classrooms are set up. Teaching for Black Lives highlights the hope and beauty of student activism and collective action.

Read how to submit a teaching story and receive a book.

Teaching the Black Freedom Struggle Online Classes and Podcast

In the the 2020-2021 school year, the Zinn Education Project offered a series of People’s Historians Online classes on the theme of the History of the Black Freedom Struggle. Teachers learned directly from leading historians and also met peers from across the country.

The series will launch again in in the 2021-2022 school year with some of the same speakers and new ones.

We are developing a podcast series with historians of the Black freedom struggle and classroom teachers.

Related Efforts

Throughout the year we collaborate with and promote the Black Lives Matter at School Year of Purpose and Week of Action.

Add Your Support

Let's transform the teaching of history—Donate! | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's HistoryHelp us reach more schools with these resources and establish more teacher study groups. Donate today and indicate that your contribution is for the Teach the Black Freedom Struggle campaign.