Teaching Materials

Union Maids (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

Union Maids

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond.
Activity for students to write from the point of view of one of the women featured in the film Union Maids.

Themes: Art & Music, Labor, Organizing, 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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Daisy Bates, Little Rock 9, and NAACP officers | Zinn Education Project

Warriors Don’t Cry: Connecting History, Literature, and Our Lives

Teaching Activity. By Linda Christensen.
Role play and writing activities for language arts and social studies on the Little Rock Nine, Brown v. Board, and schooling in general. Designed for use with the memoir Warriors Don’t Cry.

Time Periods: 20th Century, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974
Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Education, Language Arts, Racism & Racial Identity
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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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What Rights Do We Have?

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond.
This lesson teaches some of the nuts and bolts of labor unions and then moves beyond to ask students to consider what rights they have at work, and to recognize that “rights” depend in large part on what people have fought for and won.

Themes: Democracy & Citizenship, Labor, Laws & Citizen Rights, Organizing
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What War Looks Like (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

What War Looks Like

Teaching Activity. By Howard Zinn. 2002.
Background reading for teachers and high school students on the impact of war.

Time Periods: All US History
Themes: Imperialism, US Foreign Policy, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements
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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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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.
The author describes how he used a study of the Black Panther’s Ten Point Program to help students 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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Reconstruction Mixer Collage (Updated) | Zinn Education Project

When the Impossible Suddenly Became Possible: A Reconstruction Mixer

Teaching Activity. By Adam Sanchez and Nqobile Mthethwa. 25 pages.
A mixer role play that explores the connections between different social movements during Reconstruction.

Time Periods: 19th Century, Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864, Reconstruction Period: 1865 - 1876
Themes: African American, Democracy & Citizenship, Laws & Citizen Rights, Organizing, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery
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Who Freed the Slaves (Material) | Zinn Education Project

Who Freed the Slaves?

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, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements
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Who Makes History?

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond.
This lesson introduces students to Bertolt Brecht’s poem, A Worker Reads History. Students reflect on the creative role of workers in making history.

Themes: Democracy & Citizenship, Labor, Social Class
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Whose “Terrorism”?

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. 11 pages.
Using scenarios based on real situations, this lesson helps middle and high school students examine the definition of terrorism and the use of the term terrorism in the media and U.S. foreign policy.

Time Periods: 21st Century, 2001 - Present
Themes: US Foreign Policy, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements
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Reconstructing the South: A Role Play

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. 17 pages.
This role play engages students in thinking about what freedpeople needed in order to achieve—and sustain—real freedom following the Civil War. It’s followed by a chapter from the book Freedom’s Unfinished Revolution on what would happen to the land in the South after slavery ended.

Time Periods: 19th Century, Reconstruction Period: 1865 - 1876
Themes: African American, Democracy & Citizenship, Laws & Citizen Rights, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery
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