NYC Public Schools launch Hidden Voices: Stories of the Global African Diaspora

Photos credit: Isseu Diouf Campbell

On February 28, 2024, NYC Schools Chancellor David C. Banks unveiled Volume 1 of Hidden Voices: Stories of the Global African Diaspora at a historic Black History Month celebration. This groundbreaking curriculum, a collaboration between multiple educational and cultural institutions, esteemed scholars, and experts, offers curricular resources that explore the African diaspora’s influence on global and United States history.

“This was a very historic day as we announced Hidden Voices: Stories of the Global African Diaspora history curriculum. For all these years – all the struggles, all the protests – we had no Black history curriculum in New York City Public Schools. To me, that’s unconscionable and completely unacceptable,” said Schools Chancellor David C. Banks. “Everybody needs to know about the contributions that Black people have made in this nation and to the world. When we raise people’s consciousness by educating them, they don’t see other folks as the other.”

The lessons in Volume 1 include:

  • Africans in Ancient Worlds
  • A Sovereign Africa (into the 17th century)
  • An African Diaspora in the Making (15th-19th centuries)
  • Slavery and Resistance

The curriculum is tailored for specific grade levels, with lessons designed to engage students in age-appropriate discussions and analyses.

Additionally, NYCPS staff collaborated with scholars to create a series of new comic books, including Jali: Literature of Africa and the Diaspora, adapted from a short story by Haddis Alemayehu. Hard copies of this comic bank, along with a series of newly created posters, will be given to all public schools across the city, and all materials will be available for free digital download for any educator in the world at


The lead scholar was Michael A. Gomez, New York University.

Contributing scholars are: 

  • Omar Ali, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  • Solange Ashby, Barnard College
  • Lissette Acosta Corniel, Assistant Professor, Department of Race and Ethnic Studies, BMCC  
  • Sharika Crawford, US Naval Academy
  • Trevor Getz, San Francisco State University
  • Walter Greason, Macalester College
  • Rebecca Hall, Independent Scholar
  • Kwasi Konadu, Colgate University
  • Michael Long, Independent Scholar
  • Tyesha Maddox, Fordham University
  • Allyson Schettino, New-York Historical Society
  • Robyn C. Spencer-Antoine, Lehman College
  • Ben Talton, Howard University
  • Leo Velloso-Lyons, Cornell University 
  • Yohuru Williams, University of St. Thomas



The Hidden Voices initiative was started in direct response to feedback from educators who wanted support in embedding content into their lessons that reflects the cultures and diversity in their classrooms. The Hidden Voices guides are designed to align with Passport to Social Studies, the curriculum developed by NYC Public Schools and used in more than 90 percent of schools citywide. Each profile in Hidden Voices includes focus questions to help teachers think about how the profile can be used when teaching different aspects of the curriculum, as well as guidance for relevant grades, units, and lesson plans within Passport.

The curricular resources can be found here.


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