Lessons for Some of Our Favorite Books

We offer free lessons for these fabulous books. Let us know how you use any of the lessons and we’ll send you a people’s history book in appreciation.

How the Word Is Passed Lessons and Discussion Questions

As Clint Smith suggests, one cannot understand the history of the United States without focusing on the centrality of slavery — and this history is essential to helping our students make sense of the world around them.

Smith’s How the Word Is Passed can play an important role in that truth telling. We feature lessons and discussion questions to connect students to the critical wisdom contained in this book. Listen to a conversation we hosted with Smith about his book.


How Red Lines Built White Wealth: A Lesson on Housing Segregation in the 20th Century

Richard Rothstein’s The Color of Law details how government policies segregated every major city in the United States with dire consequences for African Americans.

We offer a lesson by Ursula Wolfe-Rocca, based on Rothstein’s book, to “introduce students to the 20th-century housing policies that bankrolled white capital accumulation while halting Black social mobility — and contributed to the absurd injustice of the modern wealth gap.”



The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks Teaching Guide


Rosa Parks is one of the most well-known U.S. women of the 20th century and yet much of what has been celebrated about her is narrow, limited, and at times wrong.

This is changing thanks to the young adult book, The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks and a film with the same title — both based on the Parks’ biography by Jeanne Theoharis.

We offer a collection of lessons to accompany the book and film.


How Black Women Won the Vote: Teaching with Vanguard


Martha S. Jones’ Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All is a love letter to Black women’s organizing for justice.

In our Vanguard lesson, students read short excerpts from Jones’ book to learn about the dozens of women she features, share what they learned with each other, and use what they’ve gathered to analyze Jones’ provocative title — in what sense did these women constitute a “vanguard” and why?

Listen to our conversation with Jones about Vanguard.


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