Teaching Materials

Young person at climate justice protest (photo) | Zinn Education Project

Our House Is on Fire — Time to Teach Climate Justice

Article. By Bill Bigelow. Rethinking Schools, Spring 2019. Rethinking Schools. For too long, the fossil fuel industry has tried to buy teachers’ and students’ silence. But teaching climate justice has never been more urgent.
Time Periods: 21st Century, All US History
Themes: Climate Justice, Environment, Economics, Education, Laws & Citizen Rights, Organizing, World History/Global Studies
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Plessy v. Ferguson: The Organizing History of the Case

Article. By Keith W. Medley. The role of the Comité des Citoyens and The Crusader newspaper in the Plessy v. Ferguson case.
Time Periods: 19th Century, Industrial Revolution: 1877 - 1899
Themes: African American, Democracy & Citizenship, Laws & Citizen Rights, Organizing, Racism & Racial Identity
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Re-examining the Revolution

Background Reading. By Ray Raphael. 7 pages. Based on his book Founding Myths, Raphael critiques the textbook portrayal of the American Revolution. The textbooks say that "a few special people forged American freedom" which "misrepresents, and even contradicts, the spirit of the American Revolution."
Time Periods: 18th Century, Revolution & Constitution: 1765 - 1799
Themes: Democracy & Citizenship, Education, Laws & Citizen Rights
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A Review of ‘42’: Jackie Robinson’s Bitter Pill

Article. By Dave Zirin. Dave Zirin describes how 42 limits the story to a tale of “individual triumph through singular greatness,” ignoring the social movements and broader context of the time.
Time Periods: 20th Century, Prosperity, Depression, & World War II: 1920 - 1944, Cold War: 1945 - 1960
Themes: African American, Sports
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Tourgee Marker (photo) | Zinn Education Project

Students Secure Marker for Reconstruction Era Lawyer Albion Tourgée

A group of students at Kent State University-Ashtabula helped secure local recognition for Reconstruction era lawyer and writer Albion Tourgee, including a historical marker at his birthplace.
Time Periods: Reconstruction Period: 1865 - 1876
Themes: African American, Reconstruction, Democracy & Citizenship
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Rose High Bear | Zinn Education Project

Students “Warrior Up” for Climate Justice

Article. By Bill Bigelow. Rethinking Schools, Fall 2018. Teaching hope instead of despair, teachers invite students to research “climate warriors,” those who “know the truth” and yet are not defeated by it.
Time Periods: 21st Century
Themes: Climate Justice, Environment, Native American, Science
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James Baldwin: "A Talk to Teachers" (Article) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

A Talk to Teachers

Article. By James Baldwin. October 16, 1963. Baldwin addresses the challenges of education to prepare children to grapple with the myths and realities of U.S. history.
Time Periods: 20th Century, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974
Themes: African American, Education, Social Class
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Tax the Rich (Art by Michael Duffy) | Zinn Education Project

Tax the Rich, Fight Climate Change

Article. By Bill Bigelow. Rethinking Schools, Winter 2018. The “just transition” away from fossil fuels can also be a move toward a society that is cleaner, more equal, and more democratic.
Time Periods: 21st Century
Themes: Climate Justice, Environment, Economics, Social Class
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Teaching Social Activism in Prison | Zinn Education Project

Teaching Social Activism in Prison: The Leap Manifesto and Incarcerated Youth

Article. By Rachel Boccio. Rethinking Schools, Winter 2018. A Connecticut educator who taught English to incarcerated young men for 20 years describes what happened when she introduced her students to the Canadian “Leap Manifesto.”
Time Periods: 21st Century
Themes: Climate Justice, Criminal Justice & Incarceration, Civil Rights Movements, Organizing
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Who Freed the Slaves (Material) | Zinn Education Project

Timeline on the Civil War and Abolition

Student Handout. By Bill Bigelow. This timeline can be used as a resource for lessons on the Civil War, President Lincoln, the 54th Regiment, and the end of slavery.
Time Periods: 19th Century, Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864
Themes: African American, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery and Resistance, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements
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The Truth About Helen Keller (Lesson) | Zinn Education Project

The Truth About Helen Keller

Article. By Ruth Shagoury. A review of children's picture books about the life of Helen Keller reveals the omission of any description of her active role in key social movements of the 20th century.
Time Periods: 20th Century, World War I: 1910 - 1919
Themes: Disability, Education, Women's History
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The Voting Rights Act: Ten Things You Should Know

Article. By Emilye Crosby and Judy Richardson. 2015. Key points in the history of the 1965 Voting Rights Act missing from most textbooks.
Time Periods: 20th Century, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974
Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Democracy & Citizenship, Laws & Citizen Rights, Organizing, Racism & Racial Identity
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