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Jen Hoyer
February 15, 2019

Brooklyn Connections is the education outreach program in the Brooklyn Collection, focused on cultivating 21st Century learning skills in students and supporting teachers on the incorporation of archives materials into curricula. This blog post is part of a series from the Brooklyn Connections team, sharing skills and ideas for using archives primary source material in the classroom. As part of our work, we create Primary Source Packets to help students and teachers access primary source material from the Brooklyn Collection about local history topics. Each Packet contains one secondary source which provides a general introduction to the topic, followed by at least ten primary sources accompanied by document based questions.

Interested in doing research for Black History Month with your students? Our Black Brooklyn primary source packet is a great place to start!

Learn about the history of Weeksville, one of Brooklyn's earliest free black communities, and the people who lived there:

Weeksville Lady c. 1880
Weeksville Lady. c. 1880


Celebrate the history of Black advocacy work by Shirley Chisholm, first black congress woman, and Civil Rights organizing by Brooklyn CORE.

Shirley Chisholm speaks at Brower Park Branch.
Brower Park Branch. 1970. Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn Collection.


NY Daily News article on Operation Clean Sweep
“Brooklyn Group Flaunts Debris.” New York Daily News. Sept. 1962.


And, examine primary sources that help us celebration Black fashion, arts, and more -- old and new -- across our borough!

Dance Africa 2014 advertisement
Dance Africa Festival. 2014. Brooklyn Academy of Music.


To explore some of these subtopics in more detail, check out our Weeksville Primary Source Packet as well as our Civil Rights in Brooklyn Primary Source Packet.

Are there other primary sources that you use to celebrate Black History Month in Brooklyn? Let us know in the comments below!

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