Tech Resources for Black History Month Lessons: The Underground Railroad

The Education Techie writes about tech tools that can help students and teachers. In February, to honor Black History Month, the Techie will be compiling digital resources useful toward creating lessons for this observance. Today's article focuses on the Underground Railroad. Schools offering Gender Diversity Studies degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

frederick douglass portrait

Frederick Douglass

The Underground Railroad is a great topic for teachers to cover at any point in the school year, but if you haven't yet explored the subject in-depth, Black History Month provides the perfect opportunity to do so. Lessons on the Underground Railroad can help show students that with dedication and perseverance, any obstacles can be overcome. It's also a great symbol of everyday citizens exhibiting courage and righteousness during a dark period in our nation's history.

There are many ways to incorporate technology into a lesson on the Underground Railroad. Here are some helpful Internet resources for teachers in elementary, middle and high school classrooms.

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

Visit the online home of this Cincinnati, Ohio, museum to find digital resources for lesson planning and classroom presentations. Teachers can guide classrooms through a brief virtual tour of the museum's exhibits, including a slave holding pen. Information about the pen can help to illustrate for students the terrible conditions in which slaves were forced to live.

Another cool feature of this online resource is a collection of digitized documents written by abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass. Among these selections are handwritten quotations, personal notes and published pieces of writing. To access these documents and other educator resources, visit the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center website.

America's Library from the Library of Congress

frederick douglass information

Due to its simplicity and presentation, the information on this site is probably best for younger children. Profiles of Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman are straightforward enough for elementary students to navigate on their own. If you're an elementary school teacher looking for an activity that will allow kids to engage in some self-guided study, this would be a good option. Profiles feature biographical information and commentary about the efforts of Douglass and Tubman in the abolitionist and Underground Railroad movements.

The National Parks Service's 'Aboard the Underground Railroad'

underground railroad map

'Aboard the Underground Railroad' provides background on this historical route, including a list of important sites along the way. All of these locations have been officially registered in the National Registry of Historic Places. For each place, there is a link to information and, in some cases, a photograph of the site. The list is intended to serve as a sort of trip itinerary, so contact information, visiting hours and location details are provided for most places. There are also maps and state-by-state lists of historically relevant locations. Information can be incorporated in lessons for all age levels.

Stay tuned throughout the month of February for more Education Techie articles about digital resources for Black History Month lessons.

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