Making Freedom: African Americans in U.S. History & the Making Freedom Digital Curriculum

Primary Source’s groundbreaking curriculum, Making Freedom: African Americans in U.S. History, provides content spanning 420 years of African American history, with inspiring and engaging multi-dimensional lessons and teaching strategies in alignment with MA state standards.

The curriculum will launch in fall of 2024! Be the first to hear about the launch when you sign up for our email communications.

Primary Source’s Making Freedom: African Americans in United States History curriculum was designed to recount the African American experience in the United States. This groundbreaking curriculum began in 1995 as a result of the synergy and vision of a group of teachers, scholars, and program staff of Primary Source. From its inception and through our curriculum revision project, the Making Freedom curriculum has contained information and materials that demonstrate two important phenomena: the social agency and intellectual achievement shown throughout African American history, and the inextricable relationship of African Americans to the collective history and cultural development of the United States. Making Freedom intentionally illuminates the variety of experiences of African Americans, focusing both on individual ideas and actions and on collective efforts to hold America accountable to the ideas of freedom and equality.

Making Freedom is intended for use as a resource in American history classes at the middle and high school level. There are also opportunities for upper elementary students to engage in selected units. There are more than 50 units across four unit themes.

Curriculum Highlights Include:

  • Deep Content Knowledge curriculum structure provides multiple opportunities for teachers and students to build content and context knowledge 
  • Teacher Friendly & Flexible Design — allowing for use of units and activities to meet timeframes and needs of each classroom. Units easily fit into conventional “scope and sequence” plans and align to frameworks and standards.  
  • Curated Resources & Primary Sources – Multimedia resources and primary sources are designed to increase engagement and understanding through an expansive range of voices, perspectives, and experiences
  • Focus on Social Emotional Learning & Culturally Responsive Pedagogical Approaches —Through the use of  Teacher Tips and best practices to support teachers and students 

The curriculum will launch in fall of 2024!
Be the first to hear about the launch when you sign up for our email communications.

African American history is United States history. 
The recent national reckoning with racial injustice sharpens our focus on the role of education in understanding the experiences, contributions, and perspectives of African Americans in U.S. history. There is a growing call for high-quality curricula about African American history supported by robust professional learning opportunities for educators to support accurate, inclusive teaching about U.S. history.

Making Freedom: African Americans in U.S. History is Primary Source’s pioneering five-volume sourcebook series that spans African American history from the 1600s to 1970, demonstrating the social agency and intellectual achievement of African Americans in the collective history and cultural development of the United States. Since its publication, Massachusetts teachers have utilized these sourcebooks to educate students in alignment with the literacy component of the state’s Common Core State Standards for ELA and Literacy in History/Social Studies. Today, these lessons have the potential to support teachers as they engage with contemporary concerns about history and racial justice. 

Through the Making Freedom Digital Curriculum project, we will revise, update, and disseminate these invaluable sourcebooks so they will be accessible to teachers everywhere and will have an enduring impact on students. 

Educators, contact Deborah Cunningham, Senior Program Director, at deborah@primarysource.org for more information about Making Freedom: African Americans in U.S. History

Contact Judith Katz, Director of Development, at judy@primarysource.org for more information about how you can support the Making Freedom Digital Curriculum project.