Writers: African American Authors

Lesson plans on African American Literature and Civil Rights for grades 3 - 12.

Lesson Plans

African American Literature/Language Arts Lesson Plans

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/eyesontheprize/tguide/elem.html

 

Eyes on the Prize: Ordinary People Can Change the World (Elementary)

Source:American Experience

Create a play based on the story of African-American students who integrated a high school in the 1960s, dramatizing their successes, failures, and emotions. Develop a class service project to address a community social need.

Grade Level:3-5

 

http://www.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/units/1997/3/97.03.10.x.html

This unit explores the history of the civil rights movement in the United States from the perspective of the lives of Ella Baker, Mary McLeod Bethune, Rosa Parks, Eleanor Roosevelt, Mary Church Terrell, and Ida Wells-Barnett. The writings of Eloise Greenfield, an African American children’s author, are used as a springboard.

Grades K-5

 

http://pbskids.org/bigapplehistory/parentsteachers/arts_lesson4.html

Being Heard

Source:Big Apple History

Examine works of African-American writers during the Harlem Renaissance to see how their work helped define and enrich the black experience in the U.S. Explore ways contemporary authors use their writing to express opinions about prejudice.

Grade Level:3-5, 6-8

 

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/jimcrow/education_lesson5.html

"Read All About It": The African American Press During the Jim Crow Era

Source:The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow

Consider the dynamics of communication and role of newspapers, journalists and activists in the struggle for civil rights. Understand how newspapers became a significant voice for African-Americans during the Jim Crow era.

Grade Level:6-8

 

http://www.pbs.org/ktca/litandlife/studyguide.html

A Choice of Weapons

Source:Literature And Life

Examine the life of Gordon Parks and his autobiography, A Choice of Weapons, and describe the factors that reflect both his creative expression and ability to affect readers through mood.

Grade Level:6-8

 

http://712educators.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?zi=1/XJ/Ya&sdn=712educators&cdn=education&tm=17&gps=156_646_1003_594&f=10&tt=14&bt=0&bts=1&st=32&zu=http%3A//www.sdcoe.k12.ca.us/score/eyes/eyetg.htm

This supplemental unit to Their Eyes Were Watching God was developed as part of the Schools Of California Online Resources for Educators (SCORE) Project, funded by the California Technology Assistance Program (CTAP) and the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association (CCSESA).

Grades 9-10

 

http://uw.kqed.org/edresources/plan.php?id=20http://uw.kqed.org/edresources/plan.php?id=20

Creating an Ethnic Student Newspaper

Source:KQED: The Black Press: Soldiers Without Swords

Analyze current and historical news articles and features covered by ethnic newspapers and identify the audiences for which they were created. Create a school newspaper focusing on topics that are important to ethnic students.

Grade Level:9-12

 

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/americancollection/cora/tguide.html

Langston Hughes: Cora Unashamed

Source:Masterpiece Theater

Explore Hughes' work and the film through its major themes: race and class. Compare and contrast literature and film using examples from Cora Unashamed and other film adaptations.

Grade Level:9-12

 

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/education/lesson16_overview.html

Ralph Ellison

Source:American Masters

Explore the theme of invisibility in Ralph Ellison's book, "The Invisible Man", in their own lives, and in their communities. Write an essay on the theme of the personal experience of invisibility.

Grade Level:9-12

 

http://www.pbs.org/marktwain/learnmore/activities_powerful.html

Powerful Memories, Powerful Words

Source:Mark Twain

Identify and describe the influence slavery had on Mark Twain's writing, and consider the powerful impact Twain's vernacular storytelling ability had on his audience. Determine the current status of race relations and ethnic differences.

Grade Level:9-12

 

http://www.pbs.org/speak/education/curriculum/high/aae/

African American English

Source:Do You Speak American?

Explore the roots of African American English, the role it plays in American culture and the inaccuracies and implications of language-based stereotypes in society. Identify some of the linguistic features that characterize African American English.

Grade Level:9-12

 

http://www.archives.state.al.us/teacher/rights/rights3.html

Birmingham 1963

Analyze a written document for position of writer and content. Synthesize an historical position based upon document analysis. Understand the events of Birmingham in 1963 and the positions held by the individuals involved.

 

 

Civil Rights Lesson Plans

 

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/eyesontheprize/tguide/elem.html

Eyes on the Prize: Culture Can Enslave or Empower (Elementary)

Source:American Experience

Investigate and prepare an oral report on a prominent African American from the period of the Civil Rights Movement, evaluating his or her impact on Americans of all color. Explore the importance of music to the people of the time and to yourself.

Grade Level:3-5

 

http://www.pbs.org/marktwain/learnmore/activities_powerful.html

Eyes on the Prize: Right Makes Might (Elementary)

Source:American Experience

Participate in a simulated segregation activity and describe how it feels to be discriminated against. Consider the personality of the unarmed man who blocked a column of tanks on the way to crush demonstrations in Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989.

Grade Level:3-5

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/jimcrow/education_lesson2.html

Fighting Jim Crow in the Schools

Source:The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow

Analyze the educational struggles African-Americans endured during the Jim Crow era. Understand some of the key battles involving African-Americans fighting for purpose and an equal access to education.

Grade Level:6-8

 

http://www.pbs.org/beyondbrown/foreducators/ed_lesson_oneperson.html

One Person CAN Make a Difference

Source:Beyond Brown: Pursuing the Promise

Examine how the students at Moton HIgh School in Virginia took a stand and organized a peaceful protest to call attention to inequities between schools for African Americans and Whites. Explore how one can make a difference in his or her own life.

Grade Level:6-8

 

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/eyesontheprize/tguide/middle.html

Eyes on the Prize: Injustice Anywhere is a Threat to Justice Everywhere (Middle School)

Source:American Experience

Compare two editorials written during the Civil Rights Movement era to identify viewpoints and personal agendas. Consider the problem of illegal immigration in the United States from various points of view.

Grade Level:6-8

 

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/eyesontheprize/tguide/middle.html

Eyes on the Prize: Ordinary People Can Change the World (Middle School)

Source:American Experience

Compare the backgrounds of participants in the Civil Rights Movement and other social movements in recent years. Investigate workers' rights in countries that manufacture goods sold in America as well as campaigns to fight for those rights.

Grade Level:6-8

 

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/jimcrow/education_lesson4.html

The Jim Crow Years: People Who Made a Difference

Source:The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow

Choose key figures during the struggles of the Jim Crow era and discuss their contributions. Understand how individual actions can affect the course of history and how successes can accomplish social change and improve the lives of others.

Grade Level:6-8

 

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/eyesontheprize/tguide/middle.html

Eyes on the Prize: Right Makes Might (Middle School)

Source:American Experience

Role play Martin Luther King, Jr. or Malcolm X and debate the use of violence in civil rights demonstrations from both moral and practical viewpoints. Select a contemporary issue and examine the possible role for non-violence in addressing it.

Grade Level:6-8

 

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/historyofus/teachers/guides.html

Webisode 7: Segment 6: Jim Crow

Source:Freedom: A History of US

Examine how the end of Reconstruction affected African Americans, and describe the origin of the term "Jim Crow." Discuss the impact of Jim Crow laws on African Americans and understand the impact of stereotypes on individuals and groups.

Grade Level:6-8, 9-12

 

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/historyofus/teachers/guides.html

Webisode 14: Segment 8: Integration in Birmingham, AL

Source:Freedom: A History of US

Examine the crisis situation that existed in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963 -- its causes and outcomes -- and determine how students might respond to similar situations. Discuss how incidents in Birmingham moved our country toward freedom.

Grade Level:6-8, 9-12

 

http://www.pbs.org/theblues/classroom/intidentity.html

Identity Oppression and Protest: To Kill a Mockingbird and the Blues

Source:The Blues

Explore life for African Americans during the Jim Crow era, consider terms of respect and disrespect and analyze the effectiveness of different forms of cultural protest.

Grade Level:6-8, 9-12

 

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/extra/teachers/lessonplans/media/blackpress.html

The Black Press

Source:NewsHour Extra

Identify major historical figures and publications of the black press, and relate them to national civic issues and broader historical themes. Formulate ideas about the role of the press in a democracy, and identify various jobs in the media.

Grade Level:9-12

 

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/eyesontheprize/tguide/high.html

Eyes on the Prize: Economic Rights Can't Be Separated From Civil Rights (High School)

Source:American Experience

Research Martin Luther King, Jr.'s opposition to the Vietnam War to determine why civil rights leaders shifted focus to the war on poverty at that time. Graph and compare poverty levels of white and black Americans against one measure of prosperity.

Grade Level:9-12

 

http://www.pbs.org/unforgivableblackness/teachers/lesson_crossing.html

Crossing the Color Line

Source:Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson

Describe what is meant by the "color line" in the Jim-Crow era South, analyze the results of crossing the color line and determine how Jack Johnson's victory undermined the theory of white racial supremacy.

Grade Level:9-12

 

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/teach/divided/

A Class Divided

Source:Frontline

Examine how ethnic groups experience racism differently, and discuss to what extent negative labels and stereotyping become self-fulfilling prophecies. Investigate the concepts of privilege and meritocracy, and identify ways to prevent racism.

Grade Level:9-12

 

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/eyesontheprize/tguide/high.html

Eyes on the Prize: Ordinary People Can Change the World (High School)

Source:American Experience

Role play activists of the 1960s trying to convince southern African Americans to register to vote, and consider voting as both a right and responsibility. Research people power movements that have toppled governments globally in recent years.

Grade Level:9-12

 

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/extra/teachers/lessonplans/us/july-dec08/constitution_day.html

Constitution Day: The 1965 Alabama Literacy Test

Source:NewsHour Extra

Experience obstructions that were placed on African Americans attempting to vote before the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Examine how the Voting Rights Act affected the enfranchisement of African-American voters.

Grade Level:9-12

 

http://www.pbs.org/now/classroom/moses.html

Active Citizenship: The Civil Rights Work of Bob Moses

Source:NOW

Compare and contrast Bob Moses' fight for civil rights in the 1960s with his efforts to gain educational opportunities for the poor and minorities today. Take action that could increase public awareness about an issue of one's own choosing.

Grade Level:9-12

 

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/jimcrow/education_lesson6.html

he Law and Politics of Jim Crow

Source:The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow

Understand Jim Crow laws as a system of discrimination and segregation based on race and as a legal system. Examine the political violence that accompanied the changing legal status of African Americans and the strategies of civil rights activists.

Grade Level:9-12

 

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/lessons/religion-and-the-civil-rights-movement/background/335/

Religion and the Civil Rights Movement

Source:Religion & Ethics Newsweekly

Consider how religious faith influenced the Civil Rights Movement and whether the influence of religious faith on social movements somehow violates the separation of church and state.

Grade Level:9-12

 

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/jimcrow/education_lesson7.html

"Domestic Terror": Understanding Lynching During the Era of Jim Crow

Source:The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow

Recount how racial violence was employed against African-Americans during the Jim Crow era. Consider the way a variety of documents were gathered and disseminated in the 18th and 19th centuries to educate people about the problem of lynching.

Grade Level:9-12

 

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/eyesontheprize/tguide/high.html

Eyes on the Prize: Culture Can Enslave or Empower (High School)

Source:American Experience

Explore points of view in a mock interview between two young white men and a confrontation during a civil rights demonstration. Compare hip hop music of today with African American music of the past, describing their influence for both good and ill.

Grade Level:9-12

 

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/eyesontheprize/tguide/high.html

Eyes on the Prize: Right Makes Might (High School)

Source:American Experience

Draw editorial cartoons depicting how the Civil Rights Movement drew strength from the fact that its cause was just. Conduct Internet research to investigate math achievement among minority groups and how algebra skills can predict college success.

Grade Level:9-12

 

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/extra/teachers/lessonplans/history/dream_8-20.html

 The March on Washington and its Impact

Source:NewsHour Extra

Examine the events and conditions that led to the 1963 March on Washington and the impact of the march on civil rights in the U.S. Describe the concept of "separate but equal" and the philosophy of nonviolent protest.

Grade Level:9-12

 

http://school.discoveryeducation.com/lessonplans/programs/tpl-crossroads/

The laws that leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. worked for are in place but don’t always determine how people interact with one another.

 

http://school.discoveryeducation.com/lessonplans/programs/freeatlast/

Beyond the famous leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, ordinary men and women struggled for their beliefs.

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Teacher Resources

Web sites for African American Literature

Civil Rights Movement lesson plans, teacher guides and more

Melba Pattillo and eight other teenagers became the first African-American students to attend Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas

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