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Famous Black journalists


After learning basic information about historic and current Black journalists, students will create a project looking more in depth into one historical figure. Optionally, teachers may have students present their projects so the whole class can learn more about each figure.



  • Students will be able to recognize famous American Black journalists.
  • Students will be able to discuss barriers overcome by American Black journalists.
  • Students will be able to discuss the achievements of one Black journalist in depth.


Common Core State Standards



Come to discussions prepared, having read and researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence from texts and other research on the topic or issue to stimulate a thoughtful, well-reasoned exchange of ideas.


Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source.


Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.


Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that probe reasoning and evidence; ensure a hearing for a full range of positions on a topic or issue; clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions; and promote divergent and creative perspectives.


Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.



45 minutes with optional presentation time following lesson and project creation


Materials / resources

W.E.B. Du Bois (1903) — Excerpt from The Soul of Black Folk

Ida B Wells (1909)

Black American journalists reference list

Assessment rubric


Lesson step-by-step

  1. 10 minutes: Teacher will provide the list of Black journalists to students. Students will perform a cursory search on five to ten individuals for brief discussion of achievements. Encourage students to apply their knowledge of history and culture to determine possible obstacles each journalist would have had to overcome.
  2. 15 minutes: Students will report back to group about one of the journalists they learned and what they learned. Teacher will encourage discussion about the different journalists that students have learned about, encouraging them to connect to the journalists’ experiences and historical context and hardships.
  3. Optional: Teacher may share writings of other important Black journalists in history (see two above in resources) to further discuss further topics such as evolution of journalist writing style and historic sentiments on racism.
  4. 35 minutes: Students will choose one journalist from the list to do in-depth research on, including reading/watching some of the work for which the journalist is known.
  5. Long-term homework or in class projects: Each student will create a project highlighting the achievements of his/her journalist. This could be a paper, presentation, a poster, a video segment, a podcast, but it should contain some biographical information, the journalist’s major contribution to the world of journalism and background information about the time period and struggles Black Americans faced at the time.



As an extension, provide clips (or ask students to find clips) from different journalists for them to explore and analyze (see links above for some examples).

Students could also write current news stories from the styles of their chosen journalists.

Students could compare the style, popularity and story types from the different eras in the slideshow.

Students may choose to work with a partner for these projects.