Teaching BIG Histories Without Breaking a Sweat

African American family leaves Florida

Note: This free resource will expire three weeks from its post date.

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When millions of African Americans left the South for northern cities at the start of the 20th century, they forever changed the social, political, and cultural face of America. The Great Migration is one of the most significant turning points in American history, so it comes as no surprise that some of us can feel a bit weary when approaching how to explore the breadth of this topic with our students.

Be kind to yourself and start here, with this investigate activity on the Great Migration, curated with meaningful primary and secondary sources to answer this foundational question on the topic:

Why did many African Americans move north during the Great Migration?

This inquiry-based curriculum package includes:

  • A background essay
  • Primary sources with focusing guiding questions to deepen investigation
  • A worksheet to help organize ideas

This primary source is part of ABC-CLIO’s The African American Experience database, a comprehensive survey of African American history and its struggles, major movements—political, social, artistic, and literary—and most notable events and legislative reform. Click here to learn more about this database and gain access to:

  • Nearly 8,000 primary and secondary sources including narratives, speeches, court cases, and quotations
  • Biographies of famous political and social figures including W.E.B. Du Bois, Barack Obama, Frederick Douglass, Mary McLeod Bethune, Drake, and Oprah Winfrey
  • Investigate activities to drive student inquiry into African American history as it relates to the present
  • CLIOview tool that allows students to make comparisons between African American demographics and to graph statistical data in categories such as voter registration, household income, and more

This resource is brought to you by ABC-CLIO products for classrooms and libraries: