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African American

Michele Roberts, environmental justice coordinator | Zinn Education Project

The Big 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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Fred Hampton, 1969 | Zinn Education Project

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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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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The Election of 1860 Featured Image

The Election of 1860 Role Play

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow.
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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Five Years After the Levees Broke: Bearing Witness Through Poetry (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

Five Years After the Levees Broke: Bearing Witness Through Poetry

Teaching Activity. By Renée Watson. 7 pages.
A teacher’s reflection on the power of poetry to spark critical discussion and reflection on current issues of inequality surrounding disaster response in the United States.

Time Periods: 21st Century, 2001 - Present
Themes: African American, Art & Music, Environment & Food, Language Arts, Laws & Citizen Rights, Media, Racism & Racial Identity
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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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‘If There Is No Struggle…’: Teaching a People’s History of the Abolition Movement

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. 16 pages.
In this role play, students become members of the American Anti-Slavery Society, facing many of the real challenges to ending slavery.

Time Periods: 19th Century, Early 19th Century: 1800 - 1849, Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864
Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Democracy & Citizenship, Laws & Citizen Rights, Organizing, Racism & Racial Identity, 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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Stepping into Selma: Voting Rights History and Legacy Today (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

Stepping into Selma: Voting Rights History and Legacy Today

Teaching Activity. Teaching for Change. 2015.
Introductory lesson on key people and events in the long history of the Selma freedom movement.

Time Periods: 20th Century, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974
Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Democracy & Citizenship, Organizing, Social Class
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Teaching SNCC: The Organization at the Heart of the Civil Rights Revolution

Teaching Activity. By Adam Sanchez. 24 pages.
A series of role plays that explore the history and evolution of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

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, Social Class, Women's History
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The War to Free the Slaves (Material) | Zinn Education Project

A War to Free the Slaves?

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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