Racial Justice Resource Collection for Educators

We are living through a national reckoning on racial justice. Throughout 2020 we witnessed the true nature of racial terror and injustice in its most distilled form. Despite this, a reawakening has emerged across many sectors of American life, and a new commitment to racial equity and dignity for all has become a guiding light headed into this new year of 2021.

As part of our commitment to anti-racism and non-discrimination, HRE USA has created a Racial Justice Resource Collection to help educators engage their students on issues of racism through a human rights lens. For educators, the classroom is a unique space where both racial justice education and human rights education can play a transformative role in reshaping young people’s minds and actions as engaged citizens.

This collection was developed in partnership with contributing members of the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) Human Rights Education Community and Human Rights Educators USA (HRE USA). We welcome all educators to infuse in their practices with these resources and share additional resources to help augment the important interrelated learning and activism of racial justice and human rights education.

The fully annotated resource entitled, “Racial Justice Resource Collection for Educators” can be downloaded here.


Although race is now generally understood to be a social construct without scientific significance among human beings, concepts of race continue to affect people’s lived experience through racism, the institutionalized practices of preference and discrimination based on differences of what is presumed to be race. 

The UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD, Race Convention, 1965) addresses all forms of distinction, exclusion, restriction, or preference based on race as a violation of fundamental human rights and defines “racial discrimination” to mean:

… any distinction, exclusion, restriction, or preference based on race, color, descent, or national or ethnic origin that has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms …

Since its beginning the UN has established as one of its fundamental goals “to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person” without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.[1] The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR, 1948), the foundation document of the human rights framework, declares in Article 1:
                     “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”

As the human rights framework developed over the decades, the understanding of discrimination has steadily expanded to include any distinction that results in any person’s enjoyment of their full human rights, including any form of racism.



Lesson: Black Lives Matter, The Killing of George Floyd, and the Long Fight for Racial Justice (Choices Program)
Unit: Racial Slavery in the Americas: Resistance, Freedom, and Legacies (Choices Program)
Lesson: Resistance 101: A Lesson on Social Justice Activists and Strategies (Civil Rights Teachings)
Lessons: Teaching a People’s History of Abolition and the Civil War (Rethinking Schools)
Lesson: Confronting History, Transforming Monuments (Facing History)
Curriculum: Race and Membership in American History: The Eugenics Movement (Facing History)
Lesson: Voting Rights in the United States (Facing History)
Curriculum: Teaching Guide on Furthering Racial Justice by Examining the Right to Vote and Participate in One’s Government (The World As It Could Be)
Lesson: First Light Film and Learning Resources (Upstander Project)
Lesson: Dawnland Film and Teachers Guide (Upstander Project)
Lessons: Akomawt Educational Initiative Teachers Material (Norman B Leventhal Map & Education Center)
Unit: Race and the Law: The Story of Housing and School Segregation in the US (Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute)
Unit: Talking Back to Empire: Investigating International Issues & Human Rights With New Lenses (Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute)
Unit: Latinx History (Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute)
Unit: An Approach to Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry (Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute)
Unit: Using Afrofuturism to Re-Vision My Place in the World (Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute)
Unit: Teaching Race in the Classroom: A Thematic Approach to Race & Law in the US History Curriculum (Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute)
Unit: Decolonizing the Imagination: Teaching about Race Using Afrofuturism and Critical Race Theory (Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute)
Unit: Identity and Social Justice (Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute)
Unit: Incorporating Native American History and Settler Colonialism in the AP United States History (Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute)
Lessons: Teaching Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You (Zinn Education Project)
Lesson: Repair: Students Design a Reparations Bill (Zinn Education Project)
Lesson: Riots, Racism, and the Police: Students Explore a Century of Police Conduct and Racial Violence (Zinn Education Project)
Collection: Frederick Douglass primary source documents (Gilder Lehrman)
Collection: Human rights focused lessons plans, books, and films for teaching about racism (HRE USA)
Collection: Resources for teaching about racism, anti-racism, and human rights (NCSS)
Collection: Teaching about Racism, Injustice and Structural Inequality, Resources (Rutgers School of Education)
Collection: National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition’s Resource Database


Article: Black History Month through an Asian American History Lens (AAPIP)
Article: How to Teach American History in a Divided Country: Chuch Yarborough on helping kids make connections between past and present (The Atlantic)
Article: Working for Racial Justice as a White Teacher: Robert Roth on an anti-racist approach to high-school history (The Atlantic)
Article: How about a civics project instead of another MCAS test? (CommonWealth)
Article: How to Broaden Students’ Sense of History (Edutopia)
Article: The United States is not a democracy. Stop telling students that it is (Hechinger Report)
Article: 1982 murder of Vincent Chin (History.com)
Article: Citizenship, the 14th Amendment, and Trump’s War on Undocumented Immigrants (History News Network
Article: Remembering the Holocaust in the Context of U.S. Memory (Holocaust & Humanity Center)
Article: Learning About Christopher Columbus By Putting Him on Trial (KQED)
Article: Kansas City Social Studies Teachers Find Lessons on Racism and Other Tough Topics at Area Museums (KCUR)
Article: Decolonize the classroom: These teens want to dismantle America’s racist history curriculum (Mic)
Article: The impact of leaving out POC history (NBC)
Article: History on Slavery in Australia
Article: Denver School Principal On How Black Students Led Swift Changes to History Curriculum (NPR)
Article: The Need to Teach the History Behind Current Events Has Rarely Been Clearer. Here’s How Some Teachers Are Getting Ready (Time)
Article: History educator: Let’s teach as if democracy depends on it – because it does (Washington Post)
Article: Teaching the Tulsa massacre (Zinn Education Project)
Article: Whose History Matters? Students Can Name Columbus, But Most Have Never Heard of the Taino People (Zinn Education Project)
Article: Black Boys are More than Inequality Statistics (ASCD)
Article: Healing Black Student’s Pain (ASCD)


International Journal on Human Rights Education, Vol 5: Human Rights Education & Black Liberation
Carl A. Grant & Melissa Leigh Gibson (2013) “The path of social justice”: A Human Rights History of Social Justice Education, Equity & Excellence in Education, 46:1, 81-99
Cheryl E. Matias & Tanetha J. Grosland “Digital Storytelling as Racial Justice:  Digital Hopes for Deconstructing  Whiteness in Teacher Education” Journal of Teacher Education 2016, Vol. 67(2) 152–164
Grosland T, Matias C. “Fervent Fortitudes: Curriculum at the Intersections of Emotion and Race”, Journal of Curriculum Theorizing, Vol. 32, Number 2, 2017.
Grosland T, Roberts L. Leading with/in emotion states: The criticality of political subjects and policy debates in educational leadership on emotions. Policy Futures in Education. 2021;19(1):97-110
Tanetha Jamay Grosland (2019) Through laughter and through tears:emotional narratives to antiracist pedagogy, Race Ethnicity and Education, 22:3, 301-318


Alexander, Michelle. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. The New Press, 2010.
Baldwin, James. The Fire Next Time. (originally published in 1962)
Bigelow, Bill. The Line Between Us: Teaching about the Border and Mexican Immigration. Rethinking Schools, 2006.
Dittmer, John. Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi. University of Illinois Press, 1995.
Lowery, Wesley. “They Can’t Kill Us All”: Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era in America’s Racial Justice Movement. Little, Brown, and Company, 2016.
Purnell, Brian & Jeanne Theoharis, eds. The Strange Careers of the Jim Crow North: Segregation and Struggle Outside of the South. New York University Press, 2019.
Reynolds, Jason & Ibram X. Kendi. Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You. Little & Brown, 2020
Self, Robert O. American Babylon: Race and the Struggle for Postwar Oakland. Princeton University Press, 2003.
Sugrue, Thomas. The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit. Princeton University Press, 2005
Taylor, Keeanga-Yamahtta. From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation. Haymarket Books, 2016.
Thomas, Angie. The Hate You Give. Balzer + Bray, 2017.


DocumeFilm: 42. Directed by Brian Helgeland, performances by Chadwick Boseman, Harrison Ford, Nicole Beharie. Warner Bros. Pictures, 2013.
Film: 13th. Directed by Ava Duvernay. Netflix, 2016.
Film: When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts. Directed by Spike Lee. 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks, 2006.
Documentary: Dear Georgina, Directed by Adam Mazo and Ben Pender-Cudlip, Upstander Project, 2019.
Documentary: Dawnland, Directed by Adam Mazo, Ben Pender-Cudlip, Upstander Project, 2018.
Documentary: First Light, Directed by Adam Mazo, Ben Pender-Cudlip, Upstander Project, 2016.
Documentary: Racism: A History 3-part documentary series (BBC)
Film: The Black Power Mixtape: 1967-1975. Directed by Göran Olsson. IFC Films, 2011
Film: The Central Park Five. Directed by Ken Burns. Sundance Selects, 2012.
Film: Power Mixtape: 1967-1975. Directed by Göran Olsson. IFC Films, 2011.
Film: Chisholm ‘72: Unbought & Unbossed. Directed by Shola Lynch. Realside Productions, 2004.
Documentary: Ecologies of Acknowledgement, Directed by Sarah Kanouse and Nicholas Brown, 2019.
Documentary: Blood Memory, Directed by Drew Nicholas, Vision Maker Media.
Documentary: The Canary Effect, directed by Robin Davey and Yellow Thunder Woman, Weapons of Mass Entertainment, 2006.
Documentary: Watchers of the Sky, Directed by Edet Belzberg, MusicBox Films, 2014.
Documentary: Our Spirits Don’t Speak English , directed by Chip Richie, Rich-Heape Films, 2008.
Documentary: We Were Children, directed by Tim Wolochatiuk, Eagle Vision, 2012
Film: Free State of Jones. Directed by Gary Ross, performances by Matthew McConaughey, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Mahershala Ali. STX Entertainment, 2016.
Film: Glory. Directed by Edward Zwick. Performances by Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman. Freddie Fields Productions, 1989.
Documentary: Hearts and Minds. Directed by Peter Davis. BBS Productions, 1974.
Film: Lock Up: The Prisoners of Rikers Island. Directed by Nina Rosenblum & Jon Alpert. Home Box Office, 1994.
Film: Malcolm X. Directed by Spike Lee, performances by Denzel Washington, Angela Bassett, Albert Hall. Warner Bros. Productions, 1992.
Film: Selma. Directed by Ava DuVernay, performances by David Oyelowo, Tom Wilkinson, Carmen Ejogo. Pathé, 2015.
Film: Twelve Years a Slave. Directed by Steve McQueen, performances by Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong’o. Regency Enterprises, 2013.
Documentary: When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts. Directed by Spike Lee. 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks, 2006.