The Language of Justice

byDaniel Addis

In this unit, the students will find information about Walker v. City of Birmingham and learn about the Civil Rights movement, "Letter from Birmingham Jail," and the Constitutional questions involved in the case. The unit contains edited versions of Justice Stewart's opinion of the court by and Chief Justice Warren and Justice Brennan's dissenting opinions. "Letter from Birmingham Jail" must be obtained by the teacher. In groups, the students will analyze the reasoning and language of assigned sections of these texts and prepare and do a presentation, either orally or on Power Point. The class will highlight and take notes. The students, working together in groups, will prepare an outline for a paper that compares the four texts, and, in the computer lab, they will work on their paper for three class periods and finish it on their own. As they work through this unit, the students will learn to interpret, analyze, and synthesize prose and develop that ability, learn to work cooperatively, and develop their public speaking skills, their capacity to articulate their thoughts, and their ability to think on their feet.

(Developed for AP Language and Composition, grade 11; recommended for English, grades 11-12)

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