Black History Month: Modern Influencers – Reading Comprehension Activities

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Celebrate Black History Month and inspire your students with this reading comprehension packet featuring five influential African American women.

Use this packet during Black History Month or any time of the year, to help your middle school students learn about five important and influential African American women from different industries, including arts, entertainment, athletics, and the government.

Students will read about the achievements of these important modern-day influencers, complete journal prompts that provide opportunities for reflection, and choose their own modern influencers to research and write about.

What’s Included

In this Black History Month reading comprehension packet you’ll get:

  • Ready-to-use printable reading comprehension passages featuring profiles of five influential African American women
  • Activities including journal writing prompts and research activities
  • Printable worksheets and templates for each activity.

Black History Month Reading Comprehension Activities

Build students’ reading comprehension skills and help them to learn about influential famous African Americans. Download the packet for printable reading passages, influencer profiles, worksheets, and more.

Introduction to Black History Month: Modern Influencers

Introduce students to the origins of Black History Month and important historical figures and civil rights leaders. The reading passage highlights the impacts of important women in African American history, including Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and Fannie Lou Hamer.

Filmmaker: Ava DuVernay

Students can learn about filmmaker and director Ava DuVernay, before answering a writing prompt to reflect on how people can use their “reach” and influence to help others, as Ava has in the entertainment industry.

Poet: Amanda Gorman

Students can read about American poet Amanda Gorman before reflecting on how art and poetry can influence society using the writing prompt.

Athlete: Cori “Coco” Gauff

Students will learn about the life and achievements of American tennis player Cori “Coco” Gauff before answering a writing prompt to reflect on the relationship between responsibility and being a public, well-known figure.

Supreme Court Justice: Ketanji Brown Jackson

Students will learn about Ketanji Brown Jackson’s historic nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2022 and her significant career up to that point. Using the writing prompt, students are encouraged to think about what topics Jackson may choose to focus on as a woman and African American, and what issues they feel she should consider.

Doctor: Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green

Students will learn about Dr. Green’s background, career, and challenging path to success. Using the writing prompt, they will be encouraged to think about how can education unlock opportunities for people.

Choose Your Own Influencer

Students should choose their own influencers to research. They should choose someone from either the arts, entertainment, athletics, or government who is both female and of African American descent to create a profile for.

Looking for More Black History Month Activities?

Explore the full Black History Month collection for classroom activities, worksheets, lesson plans, and more.

About the author

Ashley Valentine


About Ashley

Ashley is a high school English teacher and instructional coach. Ashley has been teaching in New York State as a proud public educator since 2010. She has a Bachelor of… Read more

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