A Long Road to Liberty

byAmanda Genther Sanders

My goal for this curriculum unit is to focus on the power of education and to drive home the idea that being educated about the rights and freedoms that we have as citizens is vital to sustaining the civil rights for which our predecessors have fought.

This unit will focus on the struggles African Americans faced after the Civil War, during Reconstruction, and the Progressive Era. The curriculum attempts to reveal the true challenges faced by African Americans, especially after emancipation and Reconstruction. Often in the primary grades, the focus is on a more simplistic series of events: slavery, emancipation, and the Civil Rights Movement. This focus diminishes the political struggles that are so vital to understanding historical complexity. The lessons and activities in this unit are for fourth grade students but could be adapted to any upper elementary grade.

(Developed for Virginia Studies, grade 4; recommended for Social Studies and History, grades 4-6)

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