For Immediate Release
Posted: January 31, 2022

Celebrating Black Achievement During February’s Black History Month 

Stories of Courage

CONCORD, NH — The New Hampshire Department of Education, in collaboration with the Woodson Center, have produced a series of videos recognizing Black History Month. 

The four videos, based on lessons created by the Woodson Center, offer life lessons from largely unknown, heroic Black American figures from the past and present who triumphed over discrimination and other adverse conditions. Each week throughout the month of February, NHDOE will release and feature one short video designed to help young people develop character-based strengths such as resiliency, optimism, tough-mindedness and courage. 

“As we prepare to observe Black History Month, it is important to reflect on the pursuit of education and equal opportunities for every child,” said Frank Edelblut, education commissioner. “This video collaboration presents several history lessons that spotlight noteworthy contributions that Black Americans have made to the United States, and how they persisted in spite of racial discrimination. That we were able to partner with the Woodson Center on this project is an honor all of New Hampshire can be proud of.” 

The videos and lesson plans, which may be utilized by schools, aim to provide a robust and complete story of American history and the Black American experience while focusing on individuals who overcame difficult life circumstances, including discrimination and bias. 

The first video features Booker T. Washington and the Rosenwald schools – a story of hope in the face of poverty and racial discrimination. Having experienced the profound racial disparities in the rural South firsthand, writer and education reformer Booker T. Washington (1856-1915) dreamed of a school-building project for Black communities that could lead to economic opportunity. In this history lesson, students examine Washington’s collaboration with philanthropist Julius Rosenwald (1862-1932), and learn how Washington’s hopeful dream slowly became the reality of nearly 5,000 new schools.

“I am continually amazed at how many teachers and students are not aware of this visionary collaboration between Booker T. Washington and Julius Rosenwald that led to one of the greatest literacy programs of all time. It is the true measure of human achievement,” said Ian Rowe, a Senior Visiting Fellow at the Woodson Center, and narrator of the videos.  

The first video is available here, and materials for its corresponding lesson plan are available here: Rosenwald1_1.pdf Rosenwald2.pdf Rosenwald3.pdf Rosenwald4.pdf Rosenwald5.pdf Rosenwald6.pdf Rosenwald7.pdf Rosenwald8.pdf Rosenwald9.pdf.

About the Woodson Center:

For nearly 40 years, the Woodson Center has worked with 2,600 grassroots leaders to revitalize low income neighborhoods through programs that empower people to be agents of their own uplift.

Caption: Between 1912 and 1932, Booker T. Washington and Julius Rosenwald built nearly 5,000 Rosenwald Schools. (Still photograph from video produced in partnership with the New Hampshire Department of Education and the Woodson Center, with assistance from independent videographer Luke Crory of New Hampshire.)