[semester equivalent = 4.00 credits]



Wendi Fein



It's February, known for Black History Month, and we reintroduce to our students Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Maya Angelou, John Lewis, and other notable African Americans that have transformed our history. During these challenging times of racial unrest and social injustice, we need to do a better job educating ourselves and our students on black history from the perspective of unsung he/sheroes and go beyond Black History Month.

This course will look beyond Black History Month and focus on unsung heroes and sheroes that don't always make history books but have contributed to America in many profound ways. Using the required text, Four Hundred Souls, you will be engaged in the history of African Americans from 1619 to the present time through 90 diverse authors' powerful short stories, personal vignettes, essays, and poems. We will examine microaggressions and ever-changing voting rights legislation. In addition, you will have the opportunity to examine a plethora of websites, videos, and resources, as well as to adapt and create your lesson plans to integrate Black History into a year-long, interdisciplinary curriculum.

This course is appropriate for teachers K-12.

LEARNING OUTCOMES: Upon completion of this course, participants will have:

1)         Increased their knowledge of black history from 1619 to the present
            through a selected series of short stories, poems, essays, and
            personal vignettes from the required text, Four Hundred Souls.
2)         Become more aware of microaggressions, current voting rights
            legislation, Juneteeth, and other relevant issues related to the black
            experience in America.
3)         Researched and compiled a list of unsung black heroes and sheroes
            from a variety of disciplines.
4)         Researched and compiled a list of books appropriate to participant's
            grade level and subject area.
5)         Examined quality websites, videos, and resources related to teaching
            black history and social justice issues.
6)         Adapted and created at least 10 meaningful interdisciplinary black
            history lessons for students and/or professional development.

Completion of all specified assignments is required for issuance of hours or credit. The Heritage Institute does not award partial credit.

The use of artificial intelligence is not permitted. Assignment responses found to be generated by AI will not be accepted.

Completing the basic assignments (Section A. Information Acquisition) for this course automatically earns participants their choice of CEUs (Continuing Education Units), Washington State Clock Hours, Oregon PDUs, or Pennsylvania ACT 48 Hours. The Heritage Institute offers CEUs and is an approved provider of Washington State Clock Hours, Oregon PDUs, and Pennsylvania ACT 48 Hours.



Continuing Education Quarter credits are awarded by Antioch University Seattle (AUS). AUS requires 75% or better for credit at the 400 level and 85% or better to issue credit at the 500 level. These criteria refer both to the amount and quality of work submitted.

  1. Completion of Information Acquisition assignments 30%
  2. Completion of Learning Application assignments 40%
  3. Completion of Integration Paper assignment 30%


CREDIT/NO CREDIT (No Letter Grades or Numeric Equivalents on Transcripts)
Antioch University Seattle (AUS) Continuing Education Quarter credit is offered on a Credit/No Credit basis; neither letter grades nor numeric equivalents are on a transcript. 400 level credit is equal to a "C" or better, 500 level credit is equal to a "B" or better. This information is on the back of the transcript.

AUS Continuing Education quarter credits may or may not be accepted into degree programs. Prior to registering, determine with your district personnel, department head, or state education office the acceptability of these credits for your purpose.



The required text is available from $15-$25 depending on the format and condition of the book.
Kendi, Ibram and Blain, Keisha Brown. Four Hundred Souls.   Penguin Random House LLC. New York. 2021

None. All reading is online.





Assignments done in a course forum will show responses from all educators who have or are taking the course independently. Feel free to read and respond to others' comments. 
Group participants can only view and respond to their group members in the Forum. 

Assignment #1: Introduction and Reflection

In either a 400-500-word essay or as a video introduction (your choice), please respond to the following questions, reflecting on your own teaching and learning:

  1. What is your current teaching role?
  2. In your teaching, what brings you the greatest joy and biggest frustrations?
  3. What is the racial composition of both the students and educators in your school/district?
  4. Describe how you have participated in readings/professional development related to antiracism, equity and social justice issues, and culturally responsive teaching.
  5. Do you have any personal or professional experiences with institutional racism and generational poverty?
  6. How have your incorporated black history into your curriculum during and beyond Black History Month?
  7. How is your school/district supporting goals of equity, CRT, racism and other social justice topics? What improvements are necessary?

Assignment #2: Understanding Microaggressions

1)    Click on the link below to get a better understanding of microaggressions
        and strategies for the classroom.

2)    After reflection, create an age-appropriate lesson plan that would explain
       the concept of microaggressions to your students and includes role-playing
       activities and real-life scenarios. Students should be active participants.

Addressing microaggressions in the classroom.

  • What are microaggressions?
  • Video examples of microaggressions.
  • Strategies for dealing with microaggressions in your online, hybrid, or face-to-face classroom

Assignment #3: Required Text Readings - Four Hundred Souls

 Please get some format (hard/softback, E-book, or Audiobook) of the required text:

 Kendi, Ibram and Blain, Keisha Brown. Four Hundred Souls.   Penguin Random House LLC. New York. 2021

The book focuses on the history of African Americans from 1619 to the present day through 90 diverse authors’ perspectives in a variety of genres, including short stories, historical essays, poetry, and personal vignettes. You are required to read at least 30 of the 90 articles/poems.

1)   Read at least 3 articles/poems from each of the 10 parts of the book for a
      total of 30, divided chronologically.  Please vary your selections to include a
      variety of genres: short stories, essays, poetry, and personal vignettes.

2)   Read both the introduction and conclusion.

3)   Pick 10 of the 30 chosen articles/poems to write and reflect on by using the
      following guiding questions. In each of the 10 reflections, including the dates,
      title, and author. You can use a chart, essay, or another format that works
      for you.  Please consider varying the genres and include at least 1-2 poems
      in your reflection.

  • What was the perspective and theme of each article/poem?
  • Discuss 3 important takeaways and your reaction to each.
    You can include an excerpt or quote from the article/poem that
    resonates with you.
  •  How would you use each article in your classroom or in a professional
    development opportunity?

Please enter your response in the Forum Essay box.

Assignment #4: Black Lives Matter, Teaching Black History, Talking about Race articles

1) Pick at least 6 articles from the list below or others of interest to you with at least one from each category:

  • Black Lives Matters
  • Teaching Black History/Talking about Race
  • Teaching the Civil Rights Movement.

2) As teachers, we need to find creative ways to assess knowledge. Instead of writing a reflection of each article, find another way to demonstrate your understanding of the articles. This gives you flexibility and can allow you to use other learning modalities. If you need suggestions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

View the articles:  Black Lives Matter, Teaching Black History/Talking about Race, and Teaching Civil Rights Movement.  

Black Lives Matter

Teaching Black History/Talking About Race

Teaching the Civil Rights Movement

Assignment #5: Juneteeth Articles & Resources

1) Read at least 3 of the following articles:1

2) Watch one of the following videos:

3) Watch the video and read the article:

4) Share your knowledge of Juneteenth by designing an infographic or other type of visual poster that can be used in your classroom or in a professional development activity. You can use the following free webtools to create an infographic:

Please enter your response in the Forum Essay box.

Assignment #7: Student Book Lists, Book Report Ideas

1)   Click on this link to review the following websites for relevant books and resources:

2)  Compile a list of 12 or more books from the suggestions above or from

      your own resources that are appropriate for your grade/subject level.
      Peruse the summary or reviews of each book.

3)   Create or adapt a list of 8-10 different ways students could present a “book
      report” that focuses on varied learning modalities. Here are some suggestions.

Assignment #8: Black Heroes/Sheroes

1)   Research at least 20 black heroes/sheroes that are less familiar to you and
      your students, including at least 2 from each of the following areas.

2)   Create a list by adding a short summary of each person’s background and
      contribution. You can get creative as to how you display the list. Focus on
      ordinary individuals that have made extraordinary contributions. Think locally,
      regionally, and globally.

  • Historical and Contemporary
  • Arts and Humanities
  • Science
  • Technology
  • Mathematics
  • Politics/Law
  • Civil Rights

Click on this link for a few suggestions.



In this section, you will apply your learning to your professional situation. This course assumes that most participants are classroom teachers who have access to students. If you do not have a classroom available to you, please contact the instructor for course modifications. Assignments done in a course forum will show responses from all educators who have or are taking the course independently. ​Feel free to read and respond to others' comments. Group participants can only view and respond to their group members in the Forum. 


Assignment #9: Videos

Videos of Choice:

1)    On your own, find at least 10-15 relevant movies, documentaries, or other
        full-length or short videos that are related to the themes of black history,
        racism, overcoming obstacles, court cases around racism/discrimination,
        or other similar areas of interest. The options are flexible to meet varied
        grade levels and subject areas.

2)    Create and share the list and watch at least 2-3 of them, depending on length.

3)    In 750+ words, create a movie review of at least 2 of the videos. Please

  • Short summary/review of the video.
  • How you would use it in the classroom or in professional development.
  • Effective/ineffectiveness parts of it.
  • Other feedback.

Assignment #10: Lesson Plans

  1. Create at least 5-6 lessons that can be integrated throughout the year, are cross-curricular in focus, and are related to the topics of study in this course. Please include at least ONE lesser-known black hero and ONE lesser-known black shero from Assignment 8. Also, include 1 lesson from each of the following disciplines:
  • Art/Music/PE
  • Math/Science
  • Technology
  • Literature

   Assignment #10-A:

  1. Adapt or create a 5-6 lesson unit, reflecting what you’ve learned in this course.
  2. Implement your lessons with students in your classroom.
  3. Write a 250-500 word commentary on what worked well and what could be improved.
  4. Include any student feedback or noteworthy student products.
  5. Submit your lesson units to your instructor
  6. Share what you've learned with other teachers taking our courses by checking the lesson library box when you submit your lesson. 

Assignment #10-B:
***Use this option if you do not have a classroom available.

  1. Adapt or create a 5-6 lesson unit reflecting what you’ve learned in this course. (Do not implement it.)
  2. Write a 500+ word article concerning any noteworthy success you’ve had as a teacher with one or more students.
  3. Please refer to the guidelines for our blog What Works: Teaching at its Best prior to writing your article.
  4. When you submit your article to your instructor, please also email a copy to Renee Leon, blog curator,
  5. Indicate whether or not you are OK with having your article considered for publishing on our website.
  6. Submit your article to your instructor
  7. As you submit your lesson, consider sharing it with other teachers taking our courses by checking the lesson library box when you submit your lesson

Assignment #11: (500 Level ONLY) Additional Text Reading, Voting Rights

1)   Research and investigate current-day policies in at least 4 states
      (Georgia, for example) that have enacted legislation limiting voting rights.

2)   In a 300–400 word essay or another format of your choosing:

  • Cite states and specific laws.
  • Describe the current and potential effects of these laws.
  • Share your insight and opinion.
  • Describe how you would use this information in your classroom or in a PD setting.


3)   Read an additional text from the bibliography or a book of choice from the list you
      created in assignment 7 or another option with prior instructor approval.

4)    Using any learning modality that works best for you, share with your
        instructor what you learned from the text and its personal and
        professional value to you, your community, colleagues, and students.


5)  Contact  2-3 teachers from another school in your district or a neighboring
     district and share how Black History Month and beyond is taught in their school(s).
     Share resources and what is successfully being done or can be improved.
     In a 200-300 word essay, share your findings and goals for improvement.


Assignment #12: (Required for 400 and 500 level)

(Please do not write this paper until you've completed all of your other assignments)

Write a 400-500 word Integration Paper answering these 5 questions:

  1. What did you learn vs. what you expected to learn from this course?
  2. What aspects of the course were most helpful and why?
  3. What further knowledge and skills in this general area do you feel you need?
  4. How, when and where will you use what you have learned?
  5. How and with what other school or community members might you share what you learned?


Instructors will comment on each assignment. If you do not hear from the instructor within a few days of posting your assignment, please get in touch with them immediately.


Wendi Fein, M.A., enthusiastically brings her years of teaching experiences since 1980 to the development and implementation of her courses. Presently, she is teaching Adult Education, Developmental Math and English as a Second Language at Tacoma Community College in Tacoma Washington.  

She spent 25 years teaching in K-12 public schools with a focus on special education, math, dance, PE, study skills and English/World Cultures. In addition, Wendi has traveled and volunteered extensively, bringing her stories and passion for human rights and equity into the classroom. Wendi holds a B.A. from the University of California, Santa Barbara and an M.A. in Special Education.



Alexander, Michelle. The New Jim Crow. New York: The New Press, 2012. The book discusses race-related issues specific to African-American males and mass incarceration in the United States, but Alexander noted that the discrimination faced by African-American males is prevalent among other minorities and socio-economically disadvantaged populations.

Bolgatz, J. Talking Race in the Classroom. New York: Teachers College Press, 2005. This book will help new and veteran teachers develop the knowledge, skills, and confidence needed to successfully address racial controversies in their classrooms. The author first explains what race and racism mean and why we need to talk about these topics in schools

Blain, Keisha and Kendi IbranIbram X Kendi, Four Hundred Souls. Penguin Books. 2021.– a resounding history of African America   REQUIRED TEXT

Derman-Sparks, Louise, and Patricia Ramsay. What If All the Kids Are White? Anti-Bias Multicultural Education with Young Children and Families. New York: Teachers College Press, 2006. Tackles a frequently asked question about multicultural education: How do I teach about racial and cultural diversity if all my students are white?

Irving, Debbie. Waking Up White in the Story of my Race. Chicago: Elephant Room Press, 2014..                      She is sharing her sometimes cringe-worthy struggle to understand racism and racial tensions, she offers a fresh perspective on bias, stereotypes, manners, and tolerance. As Irving unpacks her own long-held beliefs about colorblindness, being a good person, and wanting to help people of color, she reveals how each of these well-intentioned mindsets actually perpetuated her ill-conceived ideas about race. She also explains why and how she's changed the way she talks about racism, works in racially mixed groups, and understands the antiracism movement as a whole.

Lee, Enid, Deborah Menkart and Margo Okazawa-Rey, eds. Beyond Heroes and Holidays: A Practical Guide to K-12 Anti-Racist, Multicultural Education, and Staff Development. Washington, DC: Network of Educators on the Americas [NECA], 1998.

Loewen, James W. Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong. The New Press, 2013. It critically examines twelve popular American high school history textbooks and concludes that the textbook authors propagate false, Eurocentric, and mythologized views of American history

Michael, Ali. Raising Race Questions: Whiteness and Inquiry in Education. New York: Teachers College Press, 2015. Raising Race Questions invites teachers to use inquiry as a way to develop sustained engagement with challenging racial questions and to do so in community so that they learn how common their questions actually are. It lays out both a process for getting to questions that lead to growth and change, as well as a vision for where engagement with race questions might lead.

Pollock, M. Colormute: Race Talk Dilemmas in an American School. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. 2004. This book considers in unprecedented detail one of the most confounding questions in American racial practice: when to speak about people in racial terms. Viewing “race talk” through the lens of a California high school and district, Colormute draws on three years of ethnographic research on everyday race labeling in education. Based on the author’s experiences as a teacher as well as an anthropologist, it discusses the role race plays in every day and policy talk about such familiar topics as discipline, achievement, curriculum reform, and educational inequality.

Pollock, M. (Ed.) Everyday Antiracism: Getting Real About Race in School. New. York: The New Press. 2008.The groundbreaking book on race in schools that has become an essential handbook for teachers working to create antiracist classrooms In the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement and nationwide protests

Steele, Claude M. Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do. New York: W. W Norton & Company, 2010.  This acclaimed social psychologist offers an insider’s look at his research and groundbreaking findings on stereotypes and identity

Stevenson, Howard C. Promoting Racial Literacy in Schools: Differences That Make a Difference. New York: Teachers College Press, 2015.  Based on extensive research, this provocative volume explores how schools are places where racial conflicts often remain hidden at the expense of a healthy school climate and the well-being of students of color

Tatum, B. D. “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?” and Other Conversations About Race. New York:  Harper/Collins. 2017 revised. Beverly Daniel Tatum, a renowned authority on the psychology of racism, argues that straight talk about our racial identities is essential if we are serious about enabling communication across racial and ethnic divides. These topics have only become more urgent as the national conversation about race is increasingly acrimonious. This fully revised edition is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the dynamics of race in America.

Tatum, B.D. “Can We Talk About Race?” and Other Conversations in an Era of School Resegregation. New York: Beacon Press, 2007.

Van Ausdale, D. & Feagin, J.R. The First R: How Children Learn Race and Racism. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. 2001.

Watson, Dyan, Hagopian, Jesse, and Au, Wayne. Teaching For Black Lives Black students' minds and bodies are under attack. We're fighting back. Rethinking Schools Publication. 2018