Explore the Stories of Black Artists This February

4 min read

| By Gale Staff |

Black History Month presents an extended opportunity for K-12 teachers and librarians to feature the perseverance and accomplishments of Black figures throughout history. Fuel your young learners’ critical-thinking skills and empathy by studying the biographies of influential Black artists this February. Biographies provide rich insight into the life experiences of key figures, allowing your students to make connections between an artist’s early life and their creative expressions.

Gale In Context: Biography is an all-inclusive resource for educators and students that provides access to hundreds of thousands of reliable biographical entries on important figures. Teachers, librarians, and students can utilize advanced search options, narrowing a query by an artist’s occupation, ethnicity, gender, birthday, and more. Learners can find a full scope of resources alongside the basic reference material, including videos and podcasts. Plus, with Biography your students can leverage easy citation tools and our suite of accessibility and support features.

No Matter Your Subject, Find Ways to Feature Black Artists

From household names like Beyoncé and Otis Redding to lesser-known artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat and Augusta Savage, Gale In Context: Biography provides content for subjects from U.S. history to English to music to art. Whether musicians, sculptors, writers, poets, photographers, or graffiti artists, Black Americans of all kinds are instrumental in the country’s zeitgeist.

Inspire your students with stories like that of Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller, a Black woman born not long after the Civil War who went to Paris to study sculpture. Her depictions of racial injustice were lauded by the likes of Auguste Rodin. Despite her success in Europe, white Americans shunned her from elite social circles. However, in 1907, Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller received a federal art commission to create a piece for the Jamestown Virginia Settlement’s 300th anniversary—she was the first Black artist to receive this honor.

The biographical entries in Gale In Context: Biography are well-organized and easy to navigate, and content is categorized by reading level and Lexile measure. Audio recordings of texts are also available to download to support accessibility for all learners.

Access Lesson Plans and Activities

Not sure where to start? Our support site contains project ideas that K-12 teachers and librarians can use in their lesson plans for Black History Month. It even features a whole-themed collection for Black History Month 2023. Start with the graphic organizers featuring Black artists like W.E.B. Du Bois and James Baldwin. These printable worksheets offer structure to your students’ research, guiding them to focus on and summarize each artist’s life, famous works, and other significant facts. Most importantly, students are asked to consider their own impressions of the artist’s work and how those artistic contributions impacted society as a whole.

Consider assigning students the Gale In Context: Biography Black History Month Profile Project, which guides them toward selecting a lesser-known figure and sharing that individual’s accomplishments via a visual worksheet.

Activity Idea: Using the Black History Month: Celebrate Black Artists portal, assign students a Black artist to research in depth using the profile worksheet as a guide. Consider posting those worksheets around the classroom or library space throughout February.

Master Gale In Context Tools

When schools and libraries invest in edtech resources, teachers and librarians don’t always have the bandwidth to master the ins and outs of new software to guide their students and patrons. That’s why we’ve specially curated a printable tip sheet to clearly illustrate how to take advantage of the search features within Gale In Context: Biography.

When your institution is a Gale subscriber, teachers and librarians have more support to create meaningful, hands-on activities that prepare students for future success. Librarians can find Black History Month marketing materials like themed banners and social media posts to add to their websites, and all users can navigate to webinars and tutorials to help them master the workflow tools in our collections.

Not a Gale In Context: Biography subscriber? Learn more about the resource or reach out to your rep.

Want more? Read the adjacent blog “Using Art to Inspire During Black History Month”!

Leave a Comment