Black History Month Activity: Collaborative Biographical "Quilt" (includes MLK)

Art with Jenny K
Grade Levels
1st - 8th, Homeschool
Formats Included
  • PDF
83 pages
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Art with Jenny K


My Famous Faces® of African-American History "Quilt" project is the perfect whole-class activity to do during Black History Month or any time of the year! It connects the individual with the group using hexagons that will tessellate to create a large “quilt” collaboration poster featuring 35 influential African Americans and their biographies.

The final poster has a ton of “wow factor” when complete, and I hope it will make a large impact on your students as they learn about these 35 influential people (see the complete list at the end of this description).

This project is fun for kids and easy for you as the teacher. I’ve done everything I can possibly do to make this a successful project—including a teaching video about what tessellations are.


Quick Overview: Students will each work on 3 individual hexagons. One hexagon has a portrait of an influential African American, the other has this person’s name written in a “stitch” font (to keep with the quilt theme), and the third piece will be a biography of this person. I have included two options—you can use the biographies I provide, or alternatively, your students can research each of these people themselves. These options make this appropriate for any grade you teach.

Once each student completes and attaches their 3 hexagons, the attached pieces will connect with the pieces from the rest of the class to make the overall “quilt” poster design. This activity provides a meaningful demonstration that our individuality combines with others to make a greater whole.

Students will be amazed to see how their pieces all connect (tessellate) to make this “quilt" design—and they’ll be proud to show their friends and family which piece they worked on. Hopefully, you can hang the final poster in a place where other students and adults can come by and read the biographies of each of the 35 people featured on this quilt poster and enjoy the beauty of your hard work!


You will find that this project is in two parts, with part 2 having two options.

Part 1: Students will color the 2 combined hexagons that have the portrait and name of the person they are assigned. There are 35 of these pages (sample in the preview).

Part 2A: Students will color the biography hexagons that I have already created with all of the biographical information included (see sample in the preview). There are 35 of these hexagons (2 people per page that you cut apart).


Part 2B: Students will do their own research on the person they have been assigned and then transfer that information to one of the biography hexagon templates I have provided. There are 6 different designs, allowing you to use these with different age groups and so you can select a design you like.


I have designed this collaboration poster to look like a “quilt” that features the portraits, names, and biographies of 35 influential African Americans. The final poster is approximately 40” x 58” (the exact size will depend on your printer settings and margin settings).

  • 35 pages with portraits and names of influential African Americans.
  • *PLEASE NOTE: I am continually improving my projects. Since initially published, I have added additional portraits and corresponding biography pieces to this resource. This project started with 30 portraits and is currently at 35. You can add the additional 5 portraits to make a larger final “quilt” or select 30 people from 35 to make a poster similar in size to mine. Adjust to fit your needs.
  • 18 pages with biographies - 2 people per page for a total of 35 biographies.
  • 6 blank biography hexagon designs where students can do their own research.
  • Hexagon pieces that say, “AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY QUILT” along the top. Option for “BLACK HISTORY,” or “BLACK HISTORY MONTH” also included.
  • Pieces that say, “WE ARE ALL WOVEN TOGETHER.”
  • A piece that says, “CREATED BY” where your students can sign all of their names to this piece and include it in the final poster.
  • Side pieces so you can finish off the poster to really look like a quilt.


Before starting this project, you can show my TESSELLATION TEACHING VIDEO to your students. In this video, I give your students a basic introduction to tessellation (so you don’t have to). I also explain to your students how this project works. Then you take it from there! Once you purchase this resource, you'll have access to this video to either stream from YouTube or download from Dropbox.

Here is a complete list of the 35 people featured on this poster.

  • Thurgood Marshall
  • George Washington Carver
  • Jackie Robinson
  • Ruby Bridges
  • Rosa Parks
  • Harriet Tubman
  • Barack Obama
  • Katherine Johnson
  • Jesse Owens
  • Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Sojourner Truth
  • Maya Angelou
  • Shirley Chisholm
  • Frederick Douglass
  • Booker T. Washington
  • Mary Jackson
  • Serena Williams
  • Dorothy Vaughan
  • Oprah Winfrey
  • Rita Dove
  • Michael Jordan
  • John Lewis
  • Langston Hughes
  • Jacob Lawrence
  • Faith Ringgold
  • Sarah Breedlove
  • Ray Charles
  • Louis Armstrong
  • Muhammad Ali
  • Duke Ellington
  • Kamala Harris
  • Kobe Bryant
  • Simone Biles
  • Amanda Gorman
  • Prince

This project has a lot of room for creativity and almost endless options—I hope you and your students have a great time with it.

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Thank you for supporting my work and infusing your classroom with art!

Jenny K.


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Total Pages
83 pages
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