10 Powerful Black History Month Journal Prompts for Self-Reflection and Learning

With Black History Month fast approaching, this is the perfect time to explore and celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of African Americans throughout history. One of the most effective ways to do so is through journaling. Writing not only allows individuals to reflect on their personal experiences and emotions, but it also provides an opportunity to engage with history on a deeper level. Black History Month journal prompts are a great way to initiate this conversation and help individuals become more aware and informed about the historical significance and legacy of African Americans.

From the struggle for civil rights to contemporary cultural influences, Black History Month journal prompts offer a wide variety of thought-provoking topics to write about. These prompts can explore different aspects of African American culture, history, and social progress. They can range from personal reflections on race and identity to broader reflections on the societal impacts of African American achievements. Writing about these prompts can help individuals better understand their own experiences and perspectives, as well as the experiences of those around them.

Whether you are an educator, student, or someone who wants to learn and grow, Black History Month journal prompts provide an opportunity to expand your knowledge, connect with others, and gain a deeper appreciation for history. They offer a way to engage with the past, present, and future of African Americans, and help us explore our own roles in shaping the world we live in. So this February, why not take some time to reflect and write about the powerful legacy of African Americans?

African American Inventors

African American inventors have contributed immensely to the world’s technological advancement. Despite systematic oppression, they persevered and made significant contributions that impact our daily lives. Here are 15 examples of African American inventors and their inventions:

  • Elijah McCoy – automatic lubricator for steam engines
  • Madam C.J. Walker – hair care products for African American women
  • Garrett Morgan – gas mask, traffic signal
  • Lewis Latimer – carbon filament for lightbulbs
  • Granville Woods – telegraph, telephone, and electrical railway systems
  • Percy Julian – synthesis of drugs for treating glaucoma and arthritis
  • Charles Drew – blood bank and blood plasma
  • Marie Van Brittan Brown – home security system with CCTV
  • Lonnie Johnson – Super Soaker water gun
  • Gerald Lawson – video game console cartridges
  • Katherine Johnson – NASA mathematician, whose calculations were crucial to the success of the Apollo space missions
  • Mark Dean – co-inventor of the personal computer and the floppy disk
  • George Washington Carver – crop rotation, peanut butter, and over 300 products from peanuts, sweet potatoes, and soybeans
  • Jan Ernst Matzeliger – shoe-lasting machine for mass production of shoes
  • Philip Emeagwali – supercomputer used for weather forecasting, oil reservoir optimization, and other complex calculations

These inventors overcame challenges that black people in America faced and managed to excel in their fields. They have inspired generations of African Americans to pursue their dreams and contribute to society.

African American inventors prove that diversity is essential in innovation. Their inventions have made our lives better and broken down barriers for future generations of inventors. Let us celebrate their contributions this Black History Month and beyond.

African American Leaders

Throughout American history, there have been numerous African American leaders who have made impactful contributions to society. From civil rights activists to politicians and business leaders, these individuals have proven themselves to be strong and effective leaders. Here are 15 examples of African American leaders who have left their mark on history:

  • Martin Luther King Jr.: Civil rights activist and Baptist minister who played a key role in the American civil rights movement.
  • Barack Obama: First African American President of the United States.
  • Maya Angelou: Poet, author, and civil rights activist known for her powerful works that capture the African American experience.
  • Fredrick Douglass: Abolitionist, writer, and statesman who played a crucial role in the movement to end slavery in the United States.
  • Rosa Parks: Civil rights activist who famously refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus, sparking the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
  • Harriet Tubman: Abolitionist, humanitarian, and Union spy during the American Civil War who is best known for her work as a “conductor” on the Underground Railroad.
  • Thurgood Marshall: First African American Supreme Court Justice who played a fundamental role in the Civil Rights movement.
  • James Baldwin: Novelist, essayist, and social critic known for his exploration of the African American experience in his writing.
  • Mary McLeod Bethune: Educator and civil rights leader who founded the National Council of Negro Women.
  • Malcolm X: Civil rights activist and Muslim minister who advocated for Black self-determination and equality.
  • Shirley Chisholm: First African American woman elected to Congress and first woman to run for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.
  • Carter G. Woodson: Historian, author, and founder of Black History Month.
  • Booker T. Washington: Educator, orator, and advisor to several American Presidents who founded the Tuskegee Institute.
  • Ida B. Wells: Journalist, suffragist, and civil rights activist who fought against lynching and worked to advance the cause of women’s suffrage.
  • Angela Davis: Political activist, scholar, and author known for her work in the areas of feminism, prison abolition, and racial justice.

These individuals are just a few of the many African American leaders who have made significant contributions to American society. Their legacies serve as a testament to the power of leadership, perseverance, and determination in the face of adversity.

By celebrating the accomplishments of these leaders and remembering their stories, we can inspire future generations to continue the fight for equality and justice for all.

Civil Rights Movement Personal Reflections

As we celebrate Black History Month, it’s important to reflect on the Civil Rights Movement that brought significant change to our society. Personal reflections can help us understand our role in advancing equality and appreciate the sacrifices of those who fought for it. Here are some journal prompts to guide personal reflections on the Civil Rights Movement:

  • How has the Civil Rights Movement impacted your life?
  • What have you learned from the stories of Civil Rights Movement activists?
  • Who is a Civil Rights Movement activist that inspires you and why?
  • What do you think motivated Civil Rights Movement activists to fight for change?
  • How have the gains of the Civil Rights Movement made your life better?
  • What challenges do you think Civil Rights Movement activists faced in their fight for equality?
  • What nonviolent resistance tactics do you admire or find effective?
  • What is the role of education in advancing equality?
  • What can you do to advance equality in your community?
  • What is the significance of voting rights in the Civil Rights Movement?
  • How can we address racial injustice in our criminal justice system?
  • What can we learn from the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.?
  • How has the Civil Rights Movement influenced movements for social justice today?
  • What challenges do we still face in achieving equality?
  • What is the importance of diverse representation in leadership and decision-making?

Personal reflections on the Civil Rights Movement can help us appreciate the progress we’ve made while recognizing the work that still needs to be done. By reflecting on the sacrifices of others, we can find inspiration to do what we can to make the world a more just and equitable place.

So take some time to journal and reflect on the Civil Rights Movement and its impact on your life and the world around you.

Black Excellence

Black Excellence is the recognition and celebration of the accomplishments and achievements of Black people in various fields. From politics to entertainment to science, Black people have made significant contributions to society. Here are 15 examples of Black Excellence:

  • Katherine Johnson, a NASA mathematician whose calculations were critical to the success of the first manned spaceflight in the United States
  • Mae Jemison, the first Black woman to travel to space
  • Barack Obama, the first Black President of the United States
  • Arthur Ashe, a professional tennis player and activist who was the first Black man to win the US Open, Wimbledon, and the Australian Open
  • Nelson Mandela, a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary who became the country’s first Black President after being imprisoned for 27 years
  • Oprah Winfrey, a media mogul who has built an empire through her television show, book club, and production company
  • Toni Morrison, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author known for her powerful storytelling and exploration of Black experiences
  • Thurgood Marshall, the first Black Supreme Court Justice and civil rights lawyer who successfully argued Brown v. Board of Education
  • Martin Luther King Jr., a civil rights activist and Baptist minister who led the Montgomery bus boycott and the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom
  • Maya Angelou, a poet, artist, and civil rights activist whose works have inspired generations
  • Malcolm X, a civil rights activist and Muslim minister who advocated for Black pride, self-defense, and liberation
  • Simone Biles, an Olympic gymnast who has won 30 Olympic and World Championship medals
  • Chadwick Boseman, an actor known for his portrayal of iconic Black figures like Jackie Robinson, James Brown, and T’Challa/Black Panther
  • Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman to serve in the United States Congress and the first woman to run for a major party’s nomination for President
  • John Lewis, a civil rights activist and congressman who fought for voting rights, desegregation, and social justice

Black Excellence is a reminder of the significant contributions and impact that Black people have made and continue to make in society. It inspires us to strive for excellence and to celebrate diversity and inclusion.

Black History Month prompts can be great tools to help learners explore and understand Black Excellence. By encouraging students to reflect and write about the achievements and contributions of Black people, teachers can help create a more inclusive and equitable learning environment.

Contributions of African Americans in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)

For many years, African Americans have made significant contributions in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). Their contributions have impacted various fields and helped shape the world we live in today. Here are 15 examples of African American STEM pioneers:

  • 1. George Washington Carver – He was an agricultural scientist and inventor who developed over 300 products using peanuts, sweet potatoes, and soybeans.
  • 2. Percy Julian – He was a chemist and invented synthetic drugs, such as cortisone, to help alleviate pain and inflammation.
  • 3. Mark Dean – He was a computer engineer and holds three of IBM’s early patents, including the creation of the color PC monitor.
  • 4. Patricia Bath – She was an ophthalmologist and invented a device for cataract surgery, called the Laserphaco Probe.
  • 5. Marie Daly – She was a biochemist and the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry. Her research focused on understanding the components and function of the cell nucleus.
  • 6. Alice Ball – She was a chemist and developed a treatment for leprosy, which was a major step towards finding a cure for the disease.
  • 7. Shirley Ann Jackson – She is a physicist and the first African American woman to earn a doctorate degree from MIT. She also made significant contributions in the telecommunications field.
  • 8. Lonnie Johnson – He is an aerospace engineer and the inventor of the popular toy, the Super Soaker water gun. He also worked on NASA projects, such as the Galileo mission to Jupiter.
  • 9. Katherine Johnson – She was a mathematician and worked at NASA as a “human computer” during the space race. Her calculations were crucial in sending the first American, astronaut John Glenn, into orbit.
  • 10. Mae Jemison – She is a physician and the first African American woman to travel in space. She was a part of the STS-47 mission aboard the Endeavour space shuttle.
  • 11. Ernest Everett Just – He was a biologist and a pioneer in understanding the fertilization process of marine organisms, including sea urchins.
  • 12. Otis Boykin – He was an electrical engineer and invented several devices, including a control unit for the pacemaker and a wire precision resistor.
  • 13. Elijah McCoy – He was an inventor and his notable creations include the lubricating cup for steam engines and a folding ironing board.
  • 14. Lewis Latimer – He was an inventor and played a significant role in the development of the electric light bulb. He also worked closely with Alexander Graham Bell on the development of the telephone.
  • 15. Roger Arliner Young – She was a zoologist and one of the first African American women to earn a Ph.D. in Zoology. Her research was focused on marine organisms.

These are just a few examples of the many African Americans who have made significant contributions in STEM fields. It is important to recognize and celebrate their achievements not just during Black History Month, but all year round. By doing so, we can inspire future generations to pursue their passions in STEM and continue to advance innovation and discovery.


“10 Black Scientists Who Made Great Discoveries,” https://www.wondershare.com/science/black-scientists.html. Accessed 18 Feb. 2021.

“14 African American Inventors Who Changed History,” https://www.bet.com/gallery/african-american-inventors-who-changed-history.html?cid=facebook. Accessed 18 Feb. 2021.

African American Cultural Traditions

African American culture is rich and diverse, with a vast array of traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation. These traditions reflect the experiences of African Americans throughout history and provide a sense of identity and belonging. Here are 15 examples of African American cultural traditions:

  • Kwanzaa: A week-long celebration of African heritage and values, observed from December 26 to January 1.
  • Cookouts: Outdoor gatherings with family and friends featuring barbecue, soul food, and music.
  • Soul food: A type of cuisine with African roots that includes dishes such as fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, and collard greens.
  • Juneteenth: A holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, celebrated on June 19th.
  • Call-and-Response: A form of music and singing in which a lead vocalist calls out a phrase and a group responds in unison.
  • Gospel music: A genre of Christian music with roots in African American churches, featuring powerful vocals and soulful rhythms.
  • Step shows: A competitive style of dance and percussion that involves synchronized stomping, clapping, and chanting.
  • HBCU culture: Historically Black Colleges and Universities have a unique culture that includes traditions such as homecoming, Greek life, and marching bands.
  • Hair braiding: An art form with roots in African culture, in which hair is woven into intricate patterns.
  • Double dutch: A style of jump rope in which two ropes are turned simultaneously while one or more people jump in the middle.
  • Spoken word: A form of poetry that emphasizes performance and the spoken word, often with social and political themes.
  • Prayer circles: A tradition of holding hands and praying together in a circle, often before meals or to provide comfort and support.
  • Dress codes: African American culture has a strong tradition of dressing up for church, special occasions, and social events.
  • The electric slide: A line dance set to the song “Electric Boogie” that has become a staple at parties and weddings.
  • Naming ceremonies: A tradition in which a newborn is given a name that is meaningful and reflects the family’s history and values.

These cultural traditions have helped to shape the identity of African Americans and provide a sense of connection to their heritage and history. By honoring and preserving these traditions, we can ensure that they are passed down to future generations.

If you are looking for journal prompts to explore African American cultural traditions, consider reflecting on your own experiences with these traditions, learning about their origins and significance, or exploring how they have evolved over time.

Impact of African American Artists on Society

African American artists have made a profound impact on American society. Their talent and creativity have helped shape American art and culture, and they have been instrumental in changing attitudes towards race and equality. Many African American artists have used their art as a platform to express their experiences, struggles, and triumphs, which has helped to raise awareness and inspire change.

  • Jean-Michel Basquiat – pioneering graffiti artist and neo-expressionist painter
  • Kara Walker – visual artist best known for her provocative pieces on race, gender, and sexuality
  • Aaron Douglas – artist and one of the leading figures of the Harlem Renaissance
  • Gordon Parks – photographer, musician, and film director who documented the civil rights movement
  • Jacob Lawrence – painter and the first African American artist to be represented in the Museum of Modern Art’s collection
  • Ava DuVernay – filmmaker and director who addresses issues of race and social justice in her films and documentaries
  • Alvin Ailey – founder of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and one of the most influential choreographers in American dance
  • Augusta Savage – sculptor known for her work depicting African American life and for mentoring other young artists
  • Deborah Roberts – mixed media artist known for her work that explores the intersection of race, gender, and beauty standards
  • Cornel West – philosopher, political activist, and public intellectual who has written extensively on race, politics, and culture
  • Toni Morrison – author and Nobel Prize winner who writes about the African American experience and its intersection with history, culture, and identity
  • Charles White – painter, muralist, and teacher known for his social commentary and depictions of African American life
  • Nina Simone – singer, songwriter, and civil rights activist whose music became the soundtrack of the civil rights movement
  • Betye Saar – assemblage artist who incorporates found objects into her work to explore themes of identity, race, and spirituality
  • Spike Lee – filmmaker and director who explores issues of race, identity, and class in his films and documentaries

These are just a few examples of the many African American artists who have had a tremendous impact on American society. Through their art, they have challenged perceptions, inspired creativity, and helped to shape the course of history. Their legacy continues to inspire new generations of artists and creative thinkers, and their contributions will be remembered and celebrated for years to come.

It is important to recognize and honor the impact that African American artists have had on society, not only during Black History Month but every month. By doing so, we can continue to raise awareness and promote equality for all.

Frequently Asked Questions About Black History Month Journal Prompts

1. What are black history month journal prompts?

Black history month journal prompts are writing prompts designed to inspire individuals to reflect on and learn about African-American history during the month of February.

2. Who can benefit from black history month journal prompts?

Anyone can benefit from black history month journal prompts, regardless of their background or age.

3. What topics do black history month journal prompts cover?

Black history month journal prompts can cover a wide range of topics, such as civil rights, influential leaders, slavery, and cultural traditions.

4. How can I use black history month journal prompts?

You can use black history month journal prompts by setting aside time to reflect and write, whether it’s daily or weekly. Writing about the prompts can help deepen your understanding of black history and its impact on society today.

5. Where can I find black history month journal prompts?

You can find black history month journal prompts online, in books, or by creating your own using historical events, figures, and themes.

6. Can I share my black history month journal entries with others?

Yes, sharing your black history month journal entries with friends, family, or others can be a great way to start conversations and inspire learning and growth.

7. Why are black history month journal prompts important?

Black history month journal prompts are important because they help individuals reflect on and learn about the diverse contributions and experiences of African Americans throughout history.

Reflecting on Black History Month

Thank you for reading this article about black history month journal prompts. Taking the time to learn and reflect on black history can be a meaningful way to honor the contributions of African Americans to society. Remember to visit again for more resources and inspiration.