It is hard to find good resources for teaching kids about Black history in the United States in Spanish. With the growing number of dual language and elementary Spanish programs, this will surely change in the next few years, but for now many elementary teachers will have to adapt and create materials. Here are a few resources to draw on as you create Black history materials for Spanish language learners.
- Open Wide the World has a Spanish edition of a 66-page packet Black History Month: 10 Historic Figures. It is one of the few Spanish resources I have seen that is specifically made for elementary students. The pdf includes bulletin board displays with both photos and clip art depictions, a matching worksheet, a bingo game and journal pages.
In terms of language content, there are 10 very short biographies of famous Black Americans. These biographies include basic vocabulary associated with African American history and also use many cognates. As an example, for Frederick Douglas the biography reads: Nació como esclavo. Escapó de la esclavitud. Fue un escritor, editor, y orador abolicionista. Fue el primer afroamericano nominado a la vicepresidencia de los Estados Unidos.
If you are teaching Spanish language learners, you can easily make a vocabulary list from the key words in the biographies. The activities provide for important repetition and can be adapted to a variety of levels. The Spanish edition of Black History Month: 10 Historic Figures is available for $4.00 from Open Wide the World.
- A few picture books about the underground railroad and important African Americans have been translated into Spanish. Here is a sampling:
- If you have a subscription to EdHelper.com, they have several readings related to the theme of Black History Month. Just scroll down for the list of readings in Spanish.
- The I Have a Dream speech in Spanish. There are many translations of the speech online.
- Biografías y Vidas – This website has a searchable collection of thousands of biographies. It includes both historical and contemporary figures.
- Information and short biographies of Black Americans from the US Embassy in Mexico. This pdf includes biographies of contemporary figures such as Toni Morrison, Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama. Although the biographies are short, the language is fairly complex.
- YouTube video from the American Embassy in Bógota, Colombia. Each year the US Embassy in Colombia celebrates Black History Month. This short 2011 video is of highlights of the celebration and draws parallels between the racial diversity and African heritage in Colombia and in the United States. There are videos from other years with similar content.
- Breve historia de la lucha de la comunidad afroamericana por sus derechos civiles – This 4-minute video highlights important events in the civil rights movement. It uses photographs and footage which would not be appropriate for young children.