Lesson Plans

Did We Overcome?

Students analyze primary sources to deepen understanding of Jim Crow laws and the discrimination they perpetuated, how civil rights protests helped secure civil rights, and make connections between the past and recent events. After, students will create a pamphlet, modeled after the historical document they analyzed, that illustrates, defines, and discusses an instance where they…


The Long Civil Rights Movement

Students will analyze primary sources to investigate the long arc of the civil rights movement by examining economic and social conditions and actions that were taken prior to and after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. After, students will interview a local civil rights activist and/or design an action plan to make…


Champions of Change

Students analyze a variety of primary sources to consider how African American song took root as a means of spreading the message of equality  and as a critical part in unifying America in the struggle. After, students investigate the influence of contemporary music and musicians on memorializing the successes of the past and emphasizing the…


We Shall Overcome

Students analyze historical and contemporary primary sources to examine how citizens persevered to overcome injustice and affect change during the 1960s civil rights era and consider the lessons the first March to Selma and the events that followed in 1965 provide for us today.


African American Identity in the Gilded Age: Two Unreconciled Strivings

Students explore their personal identities, then analyze primary sources to examine the tension experienced by African Americans as they struggled to establish a vibrant and meaningful identity based on the promises of liberty and equality in the midst of a society that was ambivalent towards them and sought to impose an inferior definition upon them.…


I Am an American Day

Students analyze historical newspaper opinion pieces, focusing on argument, audience and author purpose. After comparing and contrasting the texts, students write a short opinion piece for a modern-day audience that speaks to being an American.


Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer

Pair the picture book, Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, with primary sources to deepen student understanding of Jim Crow laws and the struggle for civil rights, in general, and voting rights, in particular. After, students can investigate current voting laws in their state.


Illustrating America

Students explore the stories we tell when illustrating America through primary source analysis, reflection, and creation.


The Brownies’ Book: I Am an American Citizen

Students analyze an issue of the Brownies’ Book to investigate its historical significance and explore how the theme of American citizenship was presented to children back then and could be represented to youth of today.