Sampling African America

Introduction | Internet Activities | Conclusion | Dictionary


Sometimes what makes studying a topic hard is not that the topic is especially difficult or complex, but that you don't feel personally connected to it: it doesn't reach you emotionally, you might not care about it, you might feel it doesn't touch your life. If you have any of these feelings about the study of Black history, we encourage you to try this Subject Sampler. Instead of getting you to learn a lot of facts on the subject, a Sampler tries to get you connected to the topic, to find something about it that interests you. Each of the activities asks you to make a personal commitment to what you like, believe, or feel about a topic. We think that once you care about a subject, it will be easier to learn about it.

The following links come from all over the World Wide Web and represent a variety of aspects related to African America. You may complete the following Internet activities alone or by working in a group. You also may complete all or only some of the activities depending on your goals. Also, feel free to use the Merriam-Webster's WWWebster Dictionary whenever you need to.

Good luck and explore yourself at least as much as you explore the links below.

Note: Clicking on the bolded Internet links on this page will open a new browser window so you can get back to these instructions and activities easily. When you've finished, close the new browser window and move on to another activity that interests you.

Sampling Activities

Choose at least one of the links below to explore. Then answer the three questions that follow the link. Your answers should be honest and personally felt. The goal here is not for you to collect factoids of information, but for you to connect with issues related to African-American life and history.

  1. Powerful Days in Black and White, images by Charles Moore (Eastman Kodak)
    1. Explore the images on this site until you find something that really hits you.
    2. What exactly is it about this thing that makes you connect to it?
    3. What action does this image make you feel like taking?

  2. Africans in America: America's Journey through Slavery from PBS Online
    1. Explore the links on this page until you find something that really hits you.
    2. What exactly is it about this thing that makes you connect to it?
    3. Can you personally relate to the experience, feelings, attitudes related to what you found powerful in the Webpage?

  3. The Moonlit Road, folklore from the American South by Craig Dominey
    1. Choose one tale to read / listen to.
    2. What aspect of the story was most touching for you?
    3. What would you have done if you were the main character?

  4. Buffalo Soldier , a song by Bob Marley
    1. Read through the lyrics. In one sentence, what's the main thing Marley's saying?
    2. How does the song compare to the daily life of the colored cavalry?
    3. How do these lyrics and information about Buffalo Soldiers make you feel?

  5. Civil Rights Movement Veterans, "This website is of, by, and for Veterans of the Southern Freedom Movement of the 1960s."
    1. Surf through five topics in the Civil Rights Movement that you think are important.
    2. Choose the one of the five that you feel is most important. Copy the section of the passage that you think is the key to it.
    3. Put the section you've copied into your own words or if it is obvious, say why you felt this was a key passage for understanding something important about the Civil Rights Movement.

  6. A Photo Tour of Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement, from the Seattle Times
    1. Browse through the small photos and choose the most interesting one to you.
    2. Click on the small photo to see the larger version. Examine it and read the text that tells about it.
    3. Ask yourself why you thought this was an important photograph.

  7. The Human Face of Hate Crimes, from the Education Leadership Conference (
    1. Read through the description of hate crimes committed against African Americans.
    2. Find a fact, quote, or example that really bothers you.
    3. How do you feel as an American? What could you do to make the situation better?

  8. The Official Malcolm X homepage
    1. Read the eulogy or the timeline, trying to get an impression of Malcolm X. What kind of person you think he was?
    2. Read through the quotations. Find one that angers or inspires you.
    3. What exactly do you agree or disagree with? Would you reword the quotation differently?

  9. Martin Luther King, Jr., by the Seattle Times
    1. Explore the Website, looking for evidence of why King was such an inspiring person.
    2. What picture, fact, or statement did you find?
    3. Why did you find this particular thing inspiring?

  10. Robert Kennedy's Speech on Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Death
    1. Read through the speech.
    2. Find a line that you think is particularly touching.
    3. When you realize that Kennedy died later the same year, how does that make you feel?

  11. The Portsmouth, New Hampshire Black Elders, highlights from an oral history project
    1. Browse through the short journals from the black elders.
    2. Select one to look at more closely. Find specific events or experiences that seemed to be especially memorable for the person.
    3. Use your imagination to focus on what might be the most memorable events you expect to encounter in your life. Are any similar to those experienced by the Portsmouth Elders?

  12. The Image of Black, images of black people in Western European art
    1. View the images in the gallery and choose one that strikes you.
    2. What was it about this image that drew your interest? How would you feel if you were the black person portrayed in this work of art?
    3. Read the notes that accompany the image. How does this background information affect the way you feel about the image?


You've now had the opportunity to explore some important aspects of Black history. We hope that through looking at the topic from a personal perspective that you've found something inside yourself that connects to the people and experiences that make up this history. If you're game to learn more, you can try the Black History Treasure Hunt or explore the Tuskegee Tragedy or the Little Rock Nine WebQuests. Use the home button below to learn more about these and other Black history activities.

Patchwork of Africa American Life
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Created January, 1996. Last revised February, 2005
Created by Tom March, tom at ozline dot com
Applications Design Team/Wired Learning