Teaching reconstruction is always a challenge. Teaching reconstruction in a homogenous, white, upper-class school in the north is even more of a challenge. How do I get my students to see the impact reconstruction had in the south? How do I get my students to see and understand the impact reconstruction’s failure had in the south and America up to today? These things have always led to me feeling that I am not giving my students the best when it comes to reconstruction.
This lesson plan gave me a way to teach reconstruction to the students that will have a lasting impact. It shows more than the “textbook” answers to reconstruction which focus on the battle for the south between whites. Reconstruction had the biggest impact on newly freed African Americans, and this lesson shifts the focus on the people who had to deal with the results of reconstruction. This lesson uses women, men, and documents to help put a “face” to reconstruction for my students. Something that will have a lasting impact!