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Organizing

The 1934 West Coast Longshore Strike

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond.
Students “become” several of the social groups who participated in the 1934 Longshore Workers Strike—some of whom had to answer the question, “Which side are you on?”

Time Periods: 20th Century, Prosperity, Depression, & World War II: 1920 - 1944
Themes: Labor, Organizing, Social Class
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Suffragist and labor leader Agnes Nestor | Zinn Education Project

Birth of a Rank-and-File Organizer

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. 7 pages.
Writing activity for students to complete the narrative of women workers striking at a glove-making factory, exploring possible outcomes.

Themes: Labor, Organizing, Social Class, Women's History
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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 Homestead Strike

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. 10 pages.
This role play activity on the famous 1892 Homestead Strike, explores the possibility of solidarity among workers of very different backgrounds and at different levels in the workplace hierarchy.

Themes: Immigration, Labor, Organizing, Social Class
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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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Labor Songs

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. 7 pages.
Students explore the power of songs to build solidarity and increase understanding. This is the final activity from Bigelow and Diamond’s labor history book, The Power in Our Hands, and draws on the other lessons.

Themes: Art & Music, Labor, Organizing, Social Class
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Lawrence, 1912: The Singing Strike

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond.
Role play on the 1912 Bread and Roses strike in Lawrence, Mass.

Time Periods: 20th Century, World War I: 1910 - 1919
Themes: Art & Music, Immigration, Labor, Organizing, Women's History
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Aerial photo of mountaintop removal | Zinn Education Project

From Mountaintop Removal to Divestment

Teaching Activity. By Hannah Jones.
The global movement to get institutions to divest from fossil fuels began with students. This article tells the inspiring story.

Time Periods: 21st Century, 2001 - Present
Themes: Economics, Environment & Food, Organizing
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Organic Goodie cartoon | Zinn Education Project

Organic Goodie Simulation

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. 7 pages.
Lesson engages students in a lively simulation that helps them experience some of the pressures that lead workers to organize.

Themes: Economics, Labor, Organizing, Social Class
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Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton | Zinn Education Project

Seneca Falls, 1848: Women Organize for Equality

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow.
A role play allows students to examine issues of race and class when exploring both the accomplishments and limitations of the Seneca Falls Convention.

Time Periods: 19th Century, Early 19th Century: 1800 - 1849
Themes: Civil Rights Movements, Democracy & Citizenship, Laws & Citizen Rights, Organizing, Women's History
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Shutdown!—Confronting Plant Closures

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond.
In this role play activity, students assume the roles of union members and attempt to figure out how to respond to a threatened plant closure.

Themes: Economics, Labor, Organizing, Social Class
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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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Standing with Standing Rock: A Role Play on the Dakota Access Pipeline

Teaching activity by Ursula Wolfe-Rocca, Bill Bigelow, and Andrew Duden. Article by Ursula Wolfe-Rocca. 15 pages.
A role play that helps students recognize the issues at stake in the historic struggle of the Standing Rock Sioux to block construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline.

Time Periods: 21st Century, 2001 - Present
Themes: Environment & Food, Imperialism, Native American, Organizing
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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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