Black history is American history, so it should be recognized every day. That being said, every February, we have an opportunity to educate our students about the important events and figures that shaped this nation, while highlighting the realities we’re still facing today. To enhance these conversations, we’ve put together this list of powerful Black History Month Poems for kids of all ages.

Note: Due to the nature of this topic, some of the upper grade poems include references to slavery, violence, and death. Please review the poems before using with your students.

Black History Month Poems for Elementary School

1. Life Doesn’t Frighten Me by Maya Angelou

“Shadows on the wall…”

2. Knoxville, Tennessee by Nikki Giovanni

“I always like summer best…”

3. won’t you celebrate with me by Lucille Clifton

“won’t you celebrate with me…”

4. Tending by Elizabeth Alexander

“In the pull-out bed with my brother…”

5. Mother To Son by Langston Hughes

Mother To Son by Langston Hughes “Life for me ain't been no crystal stair.”

“Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.”

6. Dirt by Kwame Dawes

“We who gave, owned nothing…”

7. A Place in the Country by Toi Derricotte

“We like the houses here.”

8. The Tradition by Jericho Brown

“Aster. Nasturtium. Delphinium.”

Black History Month Poems for Middle and High School

9. For Trayvon Martin by Reuben Jackson

For Trayvon Martin by Reuben Jackson “Instead of sleeping…”

“Instead of sleeping…”

10.Facing It by Yusef Komunyakaa

“My black face fades…”

11. February 12, 1963 by Jacqueline Woodson

“I am born on a Tuesday at University Hospital…”

12. Frequently Asked Questions: #7 by Camille T. Dungy

Is it difficult to get away from it all once you’ve had a child?

13. To the woman I saw today who wept in her car by Bianca Lynne Spriggs

“Woman, I get it.”

14. Virginia is for Lovers by Nicole Sealey

“At LaToya’s Pride picnic…”

15. truth by Gwendolyn Brooks

truth by Gwendolyn Brooks “And if sun comes…”

“And if sun comes…”

16. Black Laws by Roger Reeves

“Fuss, fight, and cutting the huckley-buck…”

17. I saw Emmett Till this week at the grocery store by Eve L. Ewing

“looking over the plums, one by one…”

18. Eddie Priest’s Barbershop & Notary by Kevin Young

“Closed Mondays…”

19. BLK History Month by Nikki Giovanni

BLK History Month by Nikki Giovanni “If Black History Month is not viable…”

“If Black History Month is not viable…”

20. Coal by Audre Lorde

“Is the total black, being spoken…”

21. Nina’s Blues by Cornelius Eady

“Your body, hard vowels…”

22. Rwanda: Where Tears Have No Power by Haki R. Madhubuti

“Who has the moral high ground?”

23. History Lesson by Natasha Trethewey

History Lesson by Natasha Trethewey “I am four in this photograph…”

“I am four in this photograph…”

24. alternate names for black boys by Danez Smith

“1.   smoke above the burning bush”

25. The Gospel of Barbecue by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers

“Long after it was necessary…”

26. Billie Holiday by E. Ethelbert Miller

“sometimes the deaf…”

27. Ballad of Birmingham by Dudley Randall

“Mother dear, may I go downtown…”

28. Sonnet by James Weldon Johnson

Sonnet by James Weldon Johnson “My heart be brave, and do not falter so…”

“My heart be brave, and do not falter so…”

29. Malcolm X, February 1965 by E. Ethelbert Miller

“i will die this month.”

30. The Slave Auction by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

The Slave Auction by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper “The sale began—young girls were there…”

“The sale began—young girls were there…”

31. In Memoriam: Martin Luther King, Jr. by June Jordan

“honey people murder mercy U.S.A.”

32. Harlem by Langston Hughes

“What happens to a dream deferred?”

33. Notes on the Peanut by June Jordan

“Hi there. My name is George Washington Carver.”

34.A Negro Love Song by Paul Laurence Dunbar

A Negro Love Song by Paul Laurence Dunbar “Seen my lady home las' night…”

“Seen my lady home las’ night…”

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Black History Month Poems