Hidden Figures: Africa’s Light during Europe’s Middle Ages

Matt Cramer, Social Studies, Piedmont Open IB Middle

Curriculum Unit (pdf)


This unit is designed to be taught either in conjunction or as a standalone unit that would follow Europe’s Middle Ages. It highlights the medieval accomplishments of Africans during the Islamic Golden Age. Individual lessons can be woven into an already created Middle Ages unit that is heavily Eurocentric or taught as a supplementary unit that puts an Afrocentric lens on the time period. The intention is to show hidden figures of Africa during this period that are often overlooked in our current curriculum. It is also designed to create more content knowledge on Africa that will spark a curiosity for history among African-American students. Please note that this unit focuses only on medieval African history with very little tie-in to Europe during this period. The assumption would be that the teacher would find ways to use these lessons in combination with their already created European Middle Ages unit how they see fit. The activities and suggestions for this unit can be found in Appendix II, Appendix III, Appendix IV, and Appendix V. The strategies and goals outlined may either be a whole unit of study or individual lessons for a teacher to work within time constraints.