Uncovering a Hidden Curriculum: Teaching and Learning Black History and Culture

Dr. David Childs's picture

Your network editor has reposted this from H-Announce. The byline reflects the original authorship.

Call for Papers
February 21, 2021 to July 21, 2021
Ohio, United States


Uncovering a Hidden Curriculum:
Teaching and Learning Black History and Culture

Edited by David Childs, Mark Neikirk
(Northern Kentucky University)
& Patrick Lewis (Filson Historical Society)

Contact: (childsd1@nku.edu)  

For too long the serious study of African American history and culture in public schools and universities has often been an afterthought. African American history courses are normally not a part of required curriculum but are often optional. When the topic is discussed in K-12 schools it is often relegated to a short lesson on slavery or a mention of the Civil Rights movement, the curriculum is often missing the rich study of African American history and culture. Topics such as the knowledge and wealth of ancient African empires (I.e. Kingdoms of Ghana, Mali and Egypt, as well as the ancient Timbuktu library), the Harlem Renaissance and the history of African American music are rarely mentioned. With the recent rise of racial tension and blatant prejudice and racism in our society it is time for educators on all levels to take the study of Black history and culture seriously. 

We are seeking book chapters that cover a broad range of topics on African American history and culture along four trajectories that include: 1) Historical analysis essays, 2) Pedagogical challenges essays, 3) Essays on the teaching and learning of African American history, and 4) Lesson plans and teaching resources devoted to teaching African American history and culture.

Four Sections of the Book
1. Historical Analysis Essays

2. Pedagogical Challenges Essays 
3. Teaching and Learning African American History Essays
4. Lesson Plans and Teaching Resources

I. Historical Analysis essays should: 

  • Provide disciplinary content on the major topics detailed below. 

  • Provide an analysis of the major secondary literature on the theme. 

  • Include a description of key primary source documents. 

Sample Relevant topics include: 

  • Free blacks in the Antebellum times

  • Slavery during the early republic

  • The slave family

  • African Americans in the Civil War

  • African American during Reconstruction

  • The Harlem Renaissance

  • African Americans during World War I and II

  • The History of African American education

  • Music and African American history and culture

  • The history of Blacks in higher education

  • The history of the Civil Rights movement

  • African American Women in history

  • Select writings of Dr. Martin Luther King

  • The history of the arts in the Black community.

  • The historic Black preacher as public intellectual

  • A history of the Black church

  • Colin Kapernick and the history of African Americans in sports

  • Hip-Hop history and culture

  • African American spirituals

  • Black literature

  • African Americans in sports

  • Ancient African kingdoms

  • The intersection of Black and Native Culture 

  • African American Cowboys

  • The Black Panthers

  • Malcolm X

  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

II. Pedagogical Challenges essays should: 

Provide essays that discuss the challenges of teaching African American history in K-12 classrooms. Authors are invited to consider the following pedagogical challenges related to teaching African American history:

  • Teaching issues related to race in a meaningful and culturally sensitive manner.

  • Connecting the past and the present as it relates to African American history, especially in the context of contemporary civil rights issues.

  • Teaching about political Issues as it relates to African American history and culture.

  • Challenges in the development of African American history courses in high schools.

  • Challenges in making African American history courses a requirement in school districts.

  • Going beyond the traditional Eurocentric curriculum.

  • Unpacking racial stereotypes using innovative pedagogical practices.

  • Elevating the role of Black women in history curriculum. 

  • Helping students understand the importance of reading Black authors.

  • Teaching the important lessons in the Afrofuturist artistic genre.

III. Teaching and Learning African American History:
Chapters in this section should provide innovative ideas for teaching African American history, following the methodology of the scholarship of teaching and learning. The essays could conclude with unit plans in the last section of the paper that has a step by step outline for teacher use.

Sample Relevant topics include: 

  • Using popular culture to teach African American history

  • Teaching the spirituals

  • Using the history of baseball to teach African American history

  • Using music to teach African American history

  • Teaching little known topics such as the historic interconnectedness of African Americans and Indigenous peoples

  • Using Critical Race theory to teach Black History at the secondary level

  • Creative Strategies for teaching about Slavery

  • Creative Strategies for teaching about African American Religion

  • Using literature to teach African American history and culture 

  • Teaching Black Appalachian culture

  • Teaching the Civil Rights

  • Using primary sources effectively to teach African American history.

IV. Lesson Plans and Teaching Resources

K-12 educators are invited to submit stand-alone lessons and classroom-based approaches that offer creative and innovative examples for teaching African American history at the elementary, middle grades or secondary levels. Provide ideas on how to teach the content while addressing Common Core Standards, NCSS Thematic Strands, or the C3 Framework.

 Educators are asked to submit lessons in the Inquiry Design Model format. To find out more about this format, please visit http://www.c3teachers.org/inquiry-design-model/ and read Swan, Lee and Grant (2015) “The New York State Toolkit and the Inquiry Design Model: Anatomy of an Inquiry,” Social Education, 79(5), pp. 316-322.

General criteria and formatting:
Book chapters should be around 2500-3500 words each.
General formatting: Submitted manuscripts should conform to the following guidelines: 

  • MS Word .doc or .docx 

  • 12 point, Times New Roman font 

  • Double spaced 

  • 1” margins 

  • APA Style Citations 

Submission Timeline:
1. 300-500 Word Abstract Due Friday March 19, 2021.
2. Notification of acceptance issued by Friday April 30, 2021. 

3. Full papers due Friday July 11, 2021.
4. Publication is scheduled for Spring 2022.


Contact Info: 

Prospective authors may forward materials to Dr. David Childs, Associate Professor of Social Studies Education and History, Northern Kentucky University, at childsd1@nku.edu for questions.

Contact Email: