Educational resources for:

Africa and African-Americans


Detroit's prominence as a center of African-American life attracted attention abroad, especially as African nations accelerated the century-long process of throwing off colonialism and solidifying economic and social ties with descendants in the United States. In addition, this period witnessed the demise of the apartheid state in South Africa, an event in which African-Americans expressed keen interest as ABJ guest Archbishop Desmond Tutu well understood. ABJ shows demonstrate the city's international influence, punctuated by interviews and special programs involving visiting African dignitaries and African-American authors who were inspiring a revival of interest in the African roots of the African-American experience.

Featured Show Clips & Comprehension Questions

Related Videos

Baba Ishangi discusses African culture

Commentary on Nelson Mandela's appearance in Harlem by Susan Watson and Emery King

Desmond Tutu answers questions about similarities between the antiapartheid movement in South Africa and the Civil Rights Movement in the United States

Desmond Tutu responds to a question from Susan Watson about why Americans should get involved in the struggle against apartheid

Gregory describes African Americans' priorities and the situation in South Africa

Highlight footage of Nelson Mandela's visit to Michigan

Jesse Jackson discusses South Africa

Katherine Blackwell talks with students and the host about her work

Thematic Questions

What do these show excerpts tell you about the priorities and values of Africans and of African Americans?

What do you think explains the interest of so many African Americans in the history, culture, and politics of African peoples and nations?

Why do you think Nelson Mandela received such a warm welcome on his visit to the United States?


PBS Newshour Extra – Lesson Plan "South Africa After Ten Years of Freedom"
Lesson plans targeting middle and high school grades. Detailed plans for two class periods. Includes handouts, video clips and exercises. Lessons are meant to be tied in to a Newshour Extra feature story from April 2004.

Stanford University Libraries – "Africa: South of the Sahara"
A Stanford University Libraries site of selected internet resources organized by country, region and topic. A useful tool to begin internet research on the country, its resources, its history and its people.

TeacherLINK at Utah State University - Lesson Plans for Teaching About Africa in the Lower Elementary Grades
Lesson plans targeting the lower elementary grades. Plans cover topics such as: Africa and the United States; African Names; Music, Art and Beauty of Africa; Apartheid/South Africa.

The African Presence in the Americas, 1492-1992
An exhibition portfolio from The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Includes a section for teachers, as well as resources including internet links, bibliography, and selected readings for children.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Official site for South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa Report
Official report of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Related Films

Mandela in America.
Directed by Danny Schechter. New York: A Vision Entertainment, 1990.
A documentary of Nelson Mandela's 1990 visit to the United States where he visited nine cities in eleven days. The film covers both the public appearances and private moments of Mandela's trip.

Roots, 30th Anniversary Edition.
Directed by Marvin J. Chomsky. Los Angeles: Warner Home Video, 2007.
A twelve hour television mini-series originally aired in 1977. Based on Alex Haley's novel by the same name, it chronicles the slave experience of African and African-Americans in America.

Africans in America: America's Journey Through Slavery.
Directed by Orlando Bagwell, Susan Bellows, W. Noland Walker, Jacquie Jones, and Llewellyn Smith. South Burlington, VT: WGBH Video, 1998.
A six part documentary that covers 400 years of slavery in America, from 1607 to 1861. It explores the tension between the ideologies of freedom and democracy and the reality of slavery. See also related PBS-hosted website: Link text


Allen, John. Rabble-Rouser for Peace: The Authorized Biography of Desmond Tutu New York: Free Press, 2006.
The biography of the spiritual leader of the people of South Africa. Focuses on both his civil rights activities within the country as well as his efforts to bring the plight of South Africans to an international community.

Haley, Alex. Roots. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1974
A novel following the experience of seven generations in slavery and freedom, beginning with African origins.

Mandela, Nelson. Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela. Boston: Back Bay Books, 1995.
Mandela's memoir from birth through his inauguration as president of South Africa in 1994. Mandela discusses his life under apartheid, his struggles - both personal and political - as an activist, and his twenty-seven years spent in prison.

Mintz, Sidney W. and Richard Price. The Birth of African-American Culture: An Anthropological Perspective. Boston: Beacon Press, 1976.
Two anthropologists posit that Africans enslaved and brought to America do not "have a shared culture" and that African American was created through the "cooperative efforts" of Africans to develop a new society.

Nesbitt, Francis Njubi. Race for Sanctions: African Americans Against Apartheid, 1946-1994. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2004.
This work chronicles the development of African-Americans' anti-apartheid movement from the 1940s through the 1980s. It focuses on three key groups: TransAfrica, the Free South America Movement; and the Congressional Black Congress and its efforts to pass sanctions against South Africa.