As the white mom of three black children, I feel an extra burden to ensure that they know about African American heroes they can look up to. I want them to know that there are no heights that they cannot reach.
I make sure that the house has many books and movies about African American heroes and that we study people that they can aspire to emulate in one way or another.
I make sure that my children know that all of these heroes are human and not perfect but they each have character qualities that are admirable and many of them paved the way for those who would come behind them.
These are just some of the many African American heroes that you can study with your children. Below, I have listed some movies and books that may help you in teaching your children and lead you and them to even further study of the heroes who possess character qualities they can aspire to achieve.
Martin Luther King, Jr. – Martin Luther King Jr. was an activist, pastor, husband, father, and leader of the civil rights movement. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. He gave his life for freedom.
Barack Obama – In 2009, Barack Obama became the first African American President of the United States.
Condaleeza Rice – Condaleeze Rice served as the 66th United States Secretary of State. She was also the first woman to serve as a National Security Advisor.
Rosa Parks – Rosa Parks is often called the “first lady of civil rights”.
Denzel Washington – Denzel Washington is obviously an accomplished actor but he is also a family man, Christian and positive role model.
Matthew Hensen – This man was the first African American Arctic explorer and is credited by many as having been the first person ever to reach the North Pole.
Oprah – There is no denying the impact Oprah has had on the entertainment industry and the doors that she opened for those who came behind her.
Harriet Tubman – It is difficult to sum up a true hero in a few sentences. Harriet Tubman was born into slavery, born black and born a woman. Those things did not stop her from freeing over 300 slaves through the Underground Railroad and fighting for justice to the end of her days.
Percy Jullian – Percy Jullian was a scientist who made huge strides in the world of chemistry.
Thurgood Mashall – Thurgood Marshall became the first black justice of the United States Supreme Court in 1967.
Jackie Robinson – Jackie Robinson was the first black major league baseball player. Number 42 will always be known as his.
Colonel Guion F. Bluford – Astronaut Colonel Bluford was the first African American in space.
Dr. Ben Carson – Dr. Ben Carson made medical advances as a pediatric neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He is best known as being the first surgeon to separate twins conjoined at the head.
Gifted Hands, Revised Kids Edition: The Ben Carson Story (ZonderKidzGifted Hands: The Ben Carson StoryGifted HandsA Picture Book of Sojourner Truth (Picture Book Biography)When Harriet Met SojournerSojourner Truth’s Step-Stomp StrideA Picture Book of Harriet Tubman (Picture Book Biography)Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom (CaldecottWho Was Harriet Tubman?Harriet Tubman: Conductor on the Underground RailroadMinty: A Story of Young Harriet Tubman (Picture Puffin)A Picture Book of Frederick Douglass (Picture Book Biography)Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass: The Story Behind an AmericanRuby BridgesThrough My EyesThe Story Of Ruby Bridges: Special Anniversary EditionSelma Lord SelmaA Picture Book of Thurgood Marshall (Picture Book Biography)42Who Was Jackie Robinson?Stealing Home: The Story of Jackie RobinsonJackie Robinson and the Story of All Black Baseball (StepA Picture Book of Jackie Robinson (Picture Book Biography)Dream Big: Michael Jordan and the Pursuit of Olympic GoldSalt in His Shoes: Michael Jordan in Pursuit of aWho Is Michelle Obama? (Who Was?)Meet President Barack Obama (Scholastic News Nonfiction Readers)Barack Obama: Out of Many, One (Step into Reading)Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of HopeThe Rosa Parks StoryA Picture Book of Rosa Parks (Picture Book Biography)RosaRosa’s Bus: The Ride to Civil RightsIf A Bus Could Talk: The Story of Rosa ParksWho Was Rosa Parks?I Am Rosa Parks (Penguin Young Readers, Level 4)Back of the BusI Have a Dream (Book & CD)A Picture Book of Martin Luther King, Jr. (Picture BookIf You Lived At The Time of Martin Luther KingMartin Luther King Jr.: A Celebration for ChildrenMartin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King,Who Was Martin Luther King, Jr.?Martin Luther King, Jr. – Biography for Kids (Just theBook of Black Heroes from A to Z: An IntroductionA Kid’s Guide to African American History: More than 70The Civil Rights Movement for Kids: A History with 21If You Were a Kid During the Civil Rights MovementBlack Pioneers of Science and Invention100 African-Americans Who Shaped American History (100 Series)Black Stars: African American Women Scientists and InventorsBlack Firsts: 4,000 Ground-Breaking and Pioneering Historical EventsAmerican Educational African-American Scientists and Inventors Historical PosterGreat African Americans Coloring Book (Dover History Coloring Book)