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african american

The Fugitive's Song | Zinn Education Project

Frederick Douglass Fights for Freedom

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. A lesson to introduce students to the numerous and varied ways African Americans resisted their enslavement, using the autobiographical Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass.
Time Periods: 19th Century, Early 19th Century: 1800 - 1849
Themes: African American, Slavery
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Reading Between the Lines: An Art Contest Helps Students Imagine the Lives of Runaway Slaves (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

Reading Between the Lines: An Art Contest Helps Students Imagine the Lives of Runaway Slaves

Teaching Activity. By Thom Thacker and Michael A. Lord. 4 pages. An art contest is used as the basis from which students can examine primary historical documents (advertisements for runaway slaves) to gain a deeper understanding of the institution of slavery in the North.
Time Periods: Colonization: 1492 - 1764, 18th Century, Revolution & Constitution: 1765 - 1799, 19th Century, Early 19th Century: 1800 - 1849, Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864
Themes: African American, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery
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Southern Tenant Farmers’ Union: Black and White Unite?

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. Role play on farm labor organizing in the 1930s shows how racism had to be challenged to create effective worker alliances.
Time Periods: 20th Century, Prosperity, Depression, & World War II: 1920 - 1944
Themes: African American, Labor, Organizing, Racism & Racial Identity
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Teaching with the Black Panthers’ Ten Point Program (Lesson) | Zinn Education Project

‘What We Want, What We Believe’: Teaching with the Black Panthers’ Ten Point Program

Teaching Activity. By Wayne Au. 7 pages. How students can use the Black Panther's Ten Point Program to assess issues in their own communities and to develop Ten Point Programs of their own. Available in Spanish.
Time Periods: 20th Century, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974
Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Organizing, Racism & Racial Identity
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Sharecroppers Challenge U.S. Apartheid: The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party

Teaching Activity. By Julian Hipkins III, Deborah Menkart, Sara Evers, and Jenice View. Role play on the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) that introduces students to a vital example of small “d” democracy in action. For grades 7+.
Time Periods: 20th Century, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974
Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Democracy & Citizenship, Organizing
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We Had Set Ourselves Free’: Lessons on the Civil Rights Movement (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

‘We Had Set Ourselves Free’: Lessons on the Civil Rights Movement

Teaching Activity. By Doug Sherman. The author describes how he uses biographies and film to introduce students to the role of people involved in the Civil Rights Movement beyond the familiar heroes. He emphasizes the role and experiences of young people in the Movement.
Time Periods: 20th Century, Cold War: 1945 - 1960, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974
Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Organizing, Racism & Racial Identity
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The Election of 1860 Featured Image

The Election of 1860 Role Play

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. A role play based on the election of 1860 allows students to explore the political debates of the time and the real reasons for the Civil War.
Time Periods: 19th Century, Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864
Themes: African American, Slavery, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements
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The War to Free the Slaves (Material) | Zinn Education Project

A War to Free the Enslaved?

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. Students examine excerpts from Lincoln’s first inaugural address, the rarely mentioned original Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution that Lincoln promised to support, and the Emancipation Proclamation to explore some of the myths about the Civil War.
Time Periods: 19th Century, Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864
Themes: African American, Democracy & Citizenship, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery
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Michele Roberts, environmental justice coordinator | Zinn Education Project

The Red Dot of Environmental Racism

Teaching Activity. By Alma Anderson McDonald. A teacher looks back on her childhood to discover the meaning of environmental racism. Linda Christensen offers ways to teach about this story with students.
Time Periods: 21st Century, 2001 - Present
Themes: African American, Economics, Environment & Food, Racism & Racial Identity
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The Color Line (Lesson) | Zinn Education Project

The Color Line

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. A lesson on the countless colonial laws enacted to create division and inequality based on race. This helps students understand the origins of racism in the United States and who benefits.
Time Periods: Colonization: 1492 - 1764, 18th Century
Themes: African American, Laws & Citizen Rights, Native American, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery
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COINTELPRO: Teaching the FBI’s War on the Black Freedom Movement

Teaching Activity. By Ursula Wolfe-Rocca. 29 pages. Through examining FBI documents, students learn the scope of the FBI’s COINTELPRO campaign to spy on, infiltrate, discredit, and disrupt all corners of the Black Freedom Movement.
Time Periods: 20th Century, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, Post-Civil Rights Era: 1975 - 2000
Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Democracy & Citizenship, Organizing, Racism & Racial Identity
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What We Don’t Learn About the Black Panther Party — but Should

Teaching Activity. By Adam Sanchez and Jesse Hagopian. 33 pages. A mixer role play that introduces students to the pivotal and largely untold history of the Black Panthers.
Time Periods: 20th Century, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, Post-Civil Rights Era: 1975 - 2000
Themes: African American, Organizing, Racism & Racial Identity, Social Class, Women's History
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