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Activity Overview

After listening to the brief descriptions of African American changemakers throughout history in the award winning books 28 Days and The Undefeated, students will choose one African American changemaker to research and then create a biography poster of important facts and visual attributes to represent that person.

These posters can be printed out, laminated and hung around the room as a powerful reminder of these notable people and their accomplishments.

Students can also present their posters to their classmates, sharing their knowledge about their person.

The posters could also be combined into a book or “dictionary” and that students could read to younger grades for a school-wide, community building activity!

Find more biography poster templates to add to this assignment if desired!

African American Changemakers Mentioned in Undefeated

  • Jesse Owens (1913-1980)
  • Jack Johnson (1878-1946)
  • Romare Bearden (1911-1988)
  • Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960)
  • Jacob Lawrence (1917-2000)
  • Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859-1937)
  • Augusta Savage (1892-1962)
  • Phillis Wheatley (1753-1784)
  • Langston Hughes (1902-1967)
  • Aaron Douglas (1899-1979)
  • John Lewis (1940-2020)
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968)
  • Wilma Rudolph (1940-1994)
  • Michael Jordan (1963-)
  • Althea Gibson (1927-2003)
  • Muhammad Ali (1942-2016)
  • Sheryl Swoopes (1971-)
  • Serena Williams (1981-)
  • Reece Whitley (2000-)
  • Lebron James (1984-)
  • Thelonious Monk (1917-1982)
  • Louis Armstrong (1901-1971)
  • Billie Holiday (1915-1959)
  • Miles Davis (1926-1991)
  • Duke Ellington (1899-1974)
  • Sarah Vaughn (1924-1990)
  • Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1996)
  • Emmet Till (1941-1955)
  • Trayvon Martin (1995-2012)
  • Michael Brown (1996-2014)
  • Tamir Rice (2002-2014)
  • Sandra Bland (1987-2015)
  • 233,000 Black soldiers during the Civil War
  • Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Roberson, Carol Denise McNair (victims of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, 9/15/1963)

Additional African American Changemakers in 28 Days

  • Crispus Attucks (1723–1770)
  • Dred Scott (1799-1858)
  • Robert Smalls (1839-1915)
  • Daniel Hale Williams (1858-1931)
  • Matthew Henson (1866-1955)
  • Harriet Tubman (1820?-1913)
  • Henry Johnson (1897-1929)
  • Madam C.J. Walker (1867-1919)
  • Bessie Coleman (1892-1926)
  • Marian Anderson (1897-1993)
  • Jackie Robinson (1919-1972)
  • Rosa Parks (1913-2005)
  • Althea Gibson (1927-2003)
  • Arthur Ashe (1943-1993)
  • Little Rock Nine
  • Malcolm X (1925-1965)
  • Thurgood Marshall (1908-1993)
  • Shirley Chisholm (1924-2005)
  • Hank Aaron (1934-)
  • Guy Bluford (1942-)
  • Mae Jemison (1956-)
  • Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)
  • Oprah Winfrey (1954-)

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Activity", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Due Date:

Objective: Research an important person highlighted in 28 days or Undefeated. Create a poster that includes their important accomplishments.

Student Instructions:

  1. Choose a famous person.
  2. Using 28 Days, Undefeated and other school resources, conduct research on a famous person or event and take notes using a graphic organizer.
  3. On the poster, include your person’s name and dates of birth, death and major accomplishments in sequence.
  4. Add appropriate scenes, characters, and items to illustrate your poster.

Requirements: Person’s image, name, dates of birth/death, 1-3 major accomplishments, 1-6 illustrations

Lesson Plan Reference

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/W/9-10/2] Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content
  • [ELA-Literacy/W/9-10/6] Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products, taking advantage of technology’s capacity to link to other information and to display information flexibly and dynamically
  • [ELA-Literacy/W/9-10/7] Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation


(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

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