Black History Month (also known as African American History Month) is an important and wonderful time to teach kids about the people and events that have advanced civil liberties in America. It serves as a time to examine America’s difficult past and to learn about those who sought to correct it. Making your own black history word searches will help kids to understand more about this history and how they, too, can become a part of a more equitable America.
Black History Word Searches and Famous Figures
When making and solving black history word searches for famous figures in black history, choose and highlight key words to add to your word search. The word search below about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. uses words that allows students to understand and remember the most important parts of his life and work.
Through a few key words, students can gather and remember the following information:
- Key components of his life and work (“Coretta,” “Montgomery,” “Activist,” “Assassination”).
- The significance of his life and work (“Equality,” “Fairness,” Civil Rights”).
- The goals he set for himself and how he achieved those goals (“Boycott,” “Activist,” “Nonviolence”).
- How his personal life affected his professional life (“Religious,” “Preacher,” “Race”).
Word searches like these will reinforce a child’s understanding of any figure in black history. The “MLK and Malcolm X” word search below highlights the impact of these two great men and the similarities between them.
You could also start by having kids solve a black history word search with no prior information to see if kids can surmise the history from the word search. Kids might not be familiar with Paul Robeson, for example, but the words in this word search will help them identify key elements of his life story and his place in history.
This word search would also pair well with other activities for Black History Month, such as watching historical videos. Watch Paul Robeson sing “Old Man River,” or view a speech given by Martin Luther King, Jr., for example.
Expanding the Scope of Black History Word Searches
Black history word searches might not focus on just one person. In a black history word search, focus on one event, or list important people throughout a certain time in history (such as during the Civil Rights movement, or those who were involved in the Underground Railroad). Then have kids identify the timeline after they solve the word search.
Similarly, add important events in black history into the word list, then have students circle the names of key people in those events in the word search. For example, the word list of your word search might list “The Montgomery Bus Boycott,” and the answer in the word search would be “Rosa Parks.” Simply add the person to the “Add Your Words” section, then change the word in the word list to the moment in history. The image below provides an example.
Don’t forget to add the history being made today as well. This Black History Month word search highlights people of the past along with people, organizations, and movements advancing the rights of black people in the present.
As the saying goes, “Those who do not understand history are doomed to repeat it.” Black history does not get the representation it needs and deserves in everyday life, but Black History Month provides a step in the right direction. By making black history word searches and crossword puzzles today, you can help the next generation understand a difficult past in order to become part of a better future.
Kristen Seikaly used her artistic background, research skills, and love for the internet to launch her first blog, Operaversity. Now she uses the skills to connect teachers, parents, and game enthusiasts with Crossword Hobbyist and My Word Search. She studied music at the University of Michigan, and now lives in Philadelphia.