Teaching After the Election of Trump

The Zinn Education Project stands in solidarity with those who have denounced Donald Trump’s racism, misogyny, xenophobia, and Islamophobia—as well as his ignorant and deadly proposals about the environment and climate change. We have been encouraged by the young people—in our classrooms and in the streets—who are living the maxim that “people make history.”

We include lessons—some highlighted below—that:

  • Show how social movements have made important strides even during dark times.
  • Help students explore other moments in history when elites have mobilized to roll back racial and economic progress.
  • Highlight examples of “divide and conquer” politics.
  • Help students explore aspects of Trump’s agenda—immigration, the environment, Muslims, civil liberties, the press, and economic inequality.

Civil rights organizer Ella Baker said, “We who believe in freedom cannot rest.” The role of teachers is crucial in this freedom struggle. Please check out the lessons and resources below.

JUMP TO: Strides Against All OddsRoll Back Racial and Economic Progress“Divide and Conquer” PoliticsEnvironmentCivil LibertiesImmigrationEconomic InequalityMuslimsPressU.S. Presidents

Lessons and Other Classroom Resources

Strides Against All Odds

Students can draw hope from stories of people organizing even under the most repressive conditions. Here are just a few of countless examples.

stf_union_power

Southern Tenant Farmers’ Union: Black and White Unite?

Role play on farm labor organizing, with Black and white tenant farmers creating a powerful alliance. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. Download.

Warriors Don’t Cry: Connecting History, Literature, and Our Lives (Lesson) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

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

Role play and writing activities for language arts and social studies on the Little Rock Nine. By Linda Christensen. Download.

‘What We Want, What We Believe’: Teaching with the Black Panthers’ Ten Point Program | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

Teaching with the Black Panthers’ Ten Point Program

A study of the Black Panther’s Ten Point Program to help students assess issues in their own communities. By Wayne Au. Download.

>> More resources on the Black Panthers

Women in Labor History (Profiles) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

Women in Labor History

From championing better workplace conditions to cutting back the 12-hour day to demanding equal pay across racial lines, these are just a few of the women in the labor movement. Read more.

>> More resources on Women

The History All Around Us: Roosevelt High School and the 1968 Eastside Blowouts (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

Pump Up the Blowouts: Reflections on the 40th Anniversary of the Chicano/a School Blowouts

Reflections on teaching students about the 1968 walkouts by Chicano students in California. By Gilda L. Ochoa. Download article.

>> More resources on Latinos

When We Fight, We Win (Book) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

When We Fight We Win!: Twenty-First-Century Social Movements and the Activists That Are Transforming Our World

21st century leaders and activists, sharing lessons of what makes and what hinders transformative social change. By Greg Jobin Leeds, Dey Hernandez Vazquez, and AgitArte. Learn more.

>> More resources on Organizing

Roll Back Racial and Economic Progress

While textbooks portray U.S. history as a steady march of progress, there have been frequent reversals. These resources highlight a few of the many times in U.S. history when advances made by people of color were rolled back. For example, the political and economic gains by African Americans during Reconstruction were met by brutal, terrorist attacks by white supremacists.

Five Myths About Reconstruction (Article) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

Reconstruction Era (1865-1877)

After the Civil War, with the protection of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution and the Civil Rights Act of 1866, African Americans were allowed to vote, run for elected office, attend school, acquire land, seek employment, and use public accommodations. These Reconstruction Era advances ended with violent repression by white supremacists. Browse.

Tulsa Race Riot ruins, an African American man with a camera surveying the rubble.

Burned Out of Homes and History: Unearthing the Silenced Voices of the Tulsa Race Riot

The thriving community known as Black Wall Street in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was burned to the ground in 1921. This lesson explores how what is known as the “Tulsa Race Riot” (more like a massacre) and many similar events in U.S. history led to patterns of displacement and wealth inequality today. By Linda Christensen. Download.

PreciousKnowledge

Ethnic Studies Banned in Tucson

A highly successful Mexican American Studies program in Tucson, Arizona, was banned in 2011. Students and teachers organized to protect the program that demonstrated a dramatic increase in college enrollment by Mexican American students. The film Precious Knowledge documents this struggle.

Why We Should Learn About the FBI’s War on the Civil Rights Movement (If We Knew Our History) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

Why We Should Teach About the FBI’s War on the Civil Rights Movement

COINTELPRO was a FBI campaign in the 1960s to infiltrate, disrupt, and destroy a wide range of activist groups, with a focus on the Civil Rights Movement, the Young Lords, the American Indian Movement, and the anti-war movement. By Ursula Wolfe-Rocca. Read.

“Divide and Conquer” Politics

The easiest way to prevent organized demands for improved wages and working conditions is to create divisions. Here are three examples from U.S. history of how the strength of natural alliances among working people was undermined by orchestrated efforts by those in power.

The Color Line (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

The Color Line

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. By Bill Bigelow. Download.

cigar_label_crop

It’s a Mystery—White Workers Against Black Workers

Students receive clues and discuss some of the factors that contributed to the intensification of racism in the 1920s. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. Download.

July 13-16, 1863: New York City Draft Riots (This Day in History) - Harper's Weekly illustration of the burning of the orphanage during the Draft Riots | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

The Draft Riot Mystery

Students are invited to solve a mystery, using historical clues, about the real story of the New York City Draft Riots of 1863. By Bill Bigelow. Download.

Issues on Trump’s Agenda

Trump’s agenda will impact every aspect of students’ lives, including those listed here.

Environment

‘Don’t Take Our Voices Away’: A Role Play on the Indigenous Peoples’ Global Summit on Climate Change (Lesson) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

‘Don’t Take Our Voices Away’: A Role Play on the Indigenous Peoples’ Global Summit on Climate Change

Students to develop a list of demands to present to the rest of the world at a climate change meeting. By Julie Treick O’Neill and Tim Swinehart. Download.

A People’s Curriculum for the Earth: Teaching Climate Change and the Environmental Crisis (Teaching Guide) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

A People’s Curriculum for the Earth: Teaching Climate Change and the Environmental Crisis

Articles, student readings, and teaching activities to understand climate change and imagine solutions. Edited by Bill Bigelow and Tim Swinehart. Learn more.

 Civil Liberties

The Voting Rights Act: Ten Things You Should Know | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

The Voting Rights Act: Ten Things You Should Know

Key points in the history of the 1965 Voting Rights Act missing from most textbooks. By Emilye Crosby and Judy Richardson. Read.

Learning About the Unfairgrounds: A 4th-Grade Teacher Introduces Her Students to Executive Order 9066 (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

Learning About the Unfairgrounds: A 4th-Grade Teacher Introduces Her Students to Executive Order 9066

Lessons on Japanese American internment during WWII. By Katie Baydo-Reed. Download

>> More resources on Racism and Racial Identity

Immigration

linebetween

The Line Between Us: Teaching About the Border and Mexican Immigration

Lessons for teaching about the history of U.S.–Mexico relations and current border and immigration issues. By Bill Bigelow. Learn more.

>> More resources on Immigration

Economic Inequality

Who Made the New Deal? Part II A role play explores the impact of popular movements on FDR’s policies (Lesson) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

Who Made the New Deal?

Part I: What Caused the Great Depression? Part II: A role play explores the impact of popular movements on FDR’s policies. By Adam Sanchez. Read more.

>> More resources on Economics

Muslims

A People’s History of Muslims in the United States (Article) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

A People’s History of Muslims in the United States

Although the dominant media—including our schools’ curriculum—perpetuate stereotypes, history shows Muslims in the Americas have fought for social justice since the 15th century. By Alison Kysia. Read.

Press

News for All the People (Book) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

News for All the People: The Epic Story of Race and the American Media

The history of media in the United States, through the lens of race. By Juan González and Joseph Torres. Learn more.

>> More resources on Media

Teaching about U.S. Presidents

Here are lessons on past U.S. presidents with relevance to today.

The Election of 1860 Role Play (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

The Election of 1860 Role Play

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. By Bill Bigelow. Download.

Missing from Presidents’ Day: The People They Enslaved (Article) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

Missing from Presidents’ Day: The People They Enslaved

The central role of slavery in U.S. history is often missing in our textbooks, including its with relationship to U.S. presidents. By Clarence Lusane. Read.

Andrew Jackson Revisited - Excerpt by Howard Zinn | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

Andrew Jackson Revisited

“One of the greatest victories for the people of America since Andrew Jackson,” Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York City, said of Donald Trump’s success in the 2016 election. Read more.

>> More resources on Presidents


View full listing of teaching materials.