Turning Hope into Reality

byMary Caruso
There is not a black America and a white America and Latino America and Asian America- there's the United States of America.1

Rationale and Objectives

Although my students are very excited about the election of President Obama, they have very little awareness of the Civil Rights struggle, the political process, and what they can do to make a difference. They are able to recite events about Obama's life, including his community organizing experiences, but have little understanding of how this fits into the Civil Rights Movement or how it relates to their own lives. I plan to use my students' current interest and excitement surrounding Barack Obama to spark curiosity about the history of Civil Rights and also to motivate and encourage students to become involved in their communities.

The students who will be participating in this teaching unit are tenth through twelfth graders in an urban, non-traditional setting of 500-800 students. Students range in age from sixteen years old to young adults in their twenties. Some of the students have failed the ninth grade required American Government class and some have moved to the district from systems which do not require the course. Students transfer to the school voluntarily from the nineteen other high schools throughout the county-wide school district. Since we offer nearly all required courses each semester, students choose to come to us to fill in gaps in their transcripts so that they can graduate sooner than they would at their home schools. It is rare that any of my students have participated in political campaigns or community projects.

The one-semester American Government course is taught in each of our four nine-week semesters. This unit will be incorporated throughout the nine week course. The class periods are ninety minute blocks, divided into two forty-five minute sessions. In addition to including Civil Rights and political process information within the proscribed (state) units, I anticipate using several second halves of the period each week for hands-on activities, guest speakers and planning community projects.

I plan to move students through a discussion of due process and equal protection rights, to a brief history of the Civil Rights Movement and the individuals involved, to general discussion about how citizens can and should participate in a democracy, and finally, to the actual planning and/or participating in a community activity. I will use Barack Obama's story and the stories of 1960's Civil Rights leaders to show continuity of the movement and to inspire and motivate the students to become involved in their communities. I plan to invite John Lewis to speak to my students, as he is the House Representative in the district where many of my students reside and has been responsive to such requests in the past. I would suggest that anyone teaching this unit invite civil rights leaders and members of Congress from their states to speak to their classes.

At the beginning of the semester, students will be told that part of the final exam will be a project whereby each student either writes a paper planning a detailed community action project (along with data demonstrating the need for such a project) or participates in a community project or political campaign, complete with journal entries. I will have to allow a choice in this because my school system does not allow mandated community projects. In the past, I have had success in getting students to volunteer in political campaigns by structuring this option in a way that seems more fun than the option which requires more formal writing. Throughout the semester, I will continue to tie the examples of historic Civil Rights leaders and Barack Obama to the idea of what can be achieved through personal involvement.

Background Information and Strategies

In order to meet the state's curriculum standards and to reach students of all levels, this unit will include a wide range of activities, with several opportunities for students to choose activities which match their preferred learning styles. The assignments will move through all levels of Blooms' Taxonomy, with an emphasis on analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. The assignments will give students opportunities to work within the various multiple intelligences, (verbal/linguistic, logical/mathematical, bodily kinesthetic, visual/spatial, musical/rhythmic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic). Although examples of the multiple intelligences will be evident throughout the unit, I will note one example of each, for illustration. Students will work in pairs and groups throughout the semester to analyze and evaluate court cases and other historic documents and will also develop individual and group projects. Flexible grouping will be used, depending on the activity. For activities which require high reading ability, for example, students may be grouped heterogeneously, so those with higher reading levels can work with those who may have deficits in this area. For activities in which students may choose a particular creative endeavor, such as art, music, or role play, students will be grouped by interest.

Week One: Students will connect American Government Themes to their everyday lives and to the Civil Rights struggle.

The course begins with an overview of the themes of American Government, which includes beliefs/ideals, conflict/change, conflict resolution, culture, distribution of power, governance, individuals/groups/institutions, rule of law, and time/change/continuity. After discussing the meaning of the themes, I will have students complete a think/pair/share activity whereby they relate the themes to their everyday lives, in order to develop a framework for understanding the course concepts. First the students will work individually to answer a few brief questions about the relevance of the theme in their every day lives. For example, questions about conflict and change will begin with how students deal with conflict and change in their own lives (intrapersonal). Next they will discuss their thoughts in pairs, and finally, the class will share responses (interpersonal). This gives the students an opportunity to discuss commonalities and differences and also lays the groundwork for understanding how the themes are relevant to their lives. In addition, it involves naturalistic intelligence, as defined by the ability to navigate in one's environment. A similar strategy will be used for the remaining themes.

In this unit, I will also introduce a discussion of how each theme relates to the history of Civil Rights in the U.S. and then continue to tie the subject matter to the appropriate themes throughout the course. Students will participate in regular discussions of political news and relate current issues to the themes throughout the semester. Students will keep a government/political news scrapbook (visual/spatial) which will be discussed weekly. Each week's scrapbook entry will include at least three articles dealing with American Government. At least one article per week must relate to an equal rights issue. Each entry will include a summary, an explanation of how it relates to one or more themes, and a discussion of which laws and/or constitutional rights are involved. Students will be selected randomly to present their articles each week (verbal/linguistic). Continuity and change will be stressed, as we discuss how the current issues compare and contrast to the issues of the Civil Rights Movement.

I will hook the students into the topic by reading and listening to audio excerpts from Dreams From my Father, by Barack Obama and Walking With the Wind by John Lewis, as well as additional speeches from each. Their stories will be used throughout the course to illustrate continuity and change, as we discuss the Constitution, the Civil Rights Movement, the role of individuals in securing equal rights for African Americans, and the need for continued citizen involvement in community action and the political process. At the end of the unit I will use graphic organizers to have students compare and contrast the reflections of Barack Obama and John Lewis, in terms of their experiences, their goals, and the circumstances in which they wrote their books.

Weeks Two-Three: Students will understand the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments and how they were interpreted in a way that deprived rather than promoted the rights of African Americans.

The second unit involves the criminal justice system, where due process and equal protection are discussed. The 5th and 14th Amendments will be introduced at this point.

Fifth Amendment: No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb, nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.2 Fourteenth Amendment: Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of laws; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.3

Our in-depth discussion of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments will take place after the students have completed posters campaigning for one of the Bill of Rights Amendments. Students' Bill of Rights presentations will include the amendment, and explanation of the amendment, an example of a situation in which the amendment would be important, and an illustration related to the amendment. Students may use music (musical rhythmic), role play (bodily kinesthetic) or technology, such as power point or video to present their campaign posters.

The Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments will be broken down sentence by sentence. Half the class will be assigned the Fifth Amendment and half the class will be assigned the Fourteenth Amendment. Students will work in groups of three to analyze each sentence. The groups of three will each be paired with another group of three to compare and discuss their analyses. Each group of six will then report out to the class and lead the class discussion on the meaning and significance of the amendment. Students will then create political cartoons demonstrating either compliance or violation of one aspect of one of their assigned amendment.

According to the system-mandated curriculum guide, students will then learn basic information about the criminal justice system and have continued discussion about due process rights and equal protection. After this, we will turn our attention to the aftermath of the Civil War and the need for and circumstances surrounding the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment, as well as the reasons the Fourteenth Amendment did not result in equality. One of the reasons the Fourteenth Amendment was necessary was to redefine the term "citizen" in a way that would include the Freedmen. Article IV, Section II of the Constitution required citizens of the U.S. to first be a citizen of a state. Congress anticipated this being used to deny the Freedmen rights.

The first Supreme Court challenges to the Fourteenth Amendment were the Slaughter-House cases (1869), which had nothing to do with the denial of civil rights to African Americans but set the stage for future cases which did. The issue was whether or not the state of Louisiana had a right to set up a monopoly corporation which restricted slaughterhouse activity to one centralized corporation in the city of New Orleans. The butchers and others affected by this change filed lawsuits, claiming the new corporation would violate their Fourteenth Amendment rights in three ways: it would violate their due process rights, their privileges and immunities rights, and their equal protection rights by not allowing them to earn a living. The Supreme Court decided that states have the power to limit the operations of slaughterhouses for the health and safety of residents and that the Fourteenth Amendment is only meant to guarantee federal privileges, not state privilege. This narrow interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment would be used time and again by the federal courts to deny rights to African Americans. After a discussion of the Slaughter-House cases and their significance, students will work in pairs to discuss examples of government laws and federal court rulings allowing the states police powers "to protect the health and safety of residents." In addition, pairs will analyze examples of state privileges being denied in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, specifically by the implementation of the Black Codes.

Students will examine examples of Black Codes passed by the southern states after the Civil War. The Black Codes were passed in order to restrict the rights of the Freedman and return them to slave-like conditions. The codes included such things as the requirement to be "in the service" of a white man, a pass from employer to travel beyond the place of employment, no public meetings, no firearms, no selling/bartering/exchanging goods, no drinking, and segregation of public facilities or transportation. Violation of the Black Codes would result in corporeal punishment, jail, or being hired out by the sheriff; violence against African Americans was rampant and unpunished.

The following is an example of South Carolina's Black Codes, which illustrates the desire to return the Freedman to conditions of slavery:

  1. No person of color shall migrate into and reside in this state, unless within twenty days after his arrival with the same, he shall enter into a bond with two freeholders as sureties.
  2. Servants must assist their masters "in the defense of his own person, family, premises, or property."
  3. No person of color could become an artisan, mechanic, or shopkeeper less he obtained a license from the judge of the district court- a cense that could cost $100 or more.4

I will have students work in pairs to discuss whether or not there are any written or un-written "codes" today that deny groups equal rights or protections in the Untied States. Students will have access to news articles and computers to research this topic. The pairs will then post and present their codes. The class will discuss the codes the groups came up with, along with their opinions on which Constitutional rights are violated by these codes and write a "Civil Rights Act of 2009" to address these issues. The physical barometer will be used to gage student's opinions regarding each of the violations brought up by the groups. Students will stand at the appropriate spot on a continuum to express how strongly they feel about whether or not each issue violates a Constitutional right. A spokesperson for each position will share the group's rationale.

Students will discover that previous Civil Rights laws did not accomplish what they intended, since they were ignored or struck down by the courts. I will use the "Bingo Lecturette" format to deliver a mini-lecture on this topic. Bingo cards will be made using the various terms that will be discussed in the mini-lecture. Students will cover the terms with plastic markers as they are discussed. When students have "Bingo" they must explain each term in order to claim their prize (points, candy, etc.). This motivates students to pay attention and also gives an instant review of the important concepts.

The Civil Rights Act of 1866, which was ignored, guaranteed citizenship and gave equal rights to all males in the United States "without distinction of race, or color, or previous condition of slavery or involuntary servitude."5 The 1875 Civil Rights Act was passed by the last Reconstruction Congress. "It protected all Americans, regardless of race, in their access to public accommodations and facilities...and protected the right to serve on juries."6 This Act was not enforced and was declared unconstitutional in 1883 on the grounds that equal access to public accommodations was not a civil right and therefore not a federal issue under the Fourteenth Amendment and that Congress had no power to regulate the conduct of individuals. In addition, the Court found, the 1875 Civil Rights Act was not authorized by the Thirteenth Amendment, as it relates only to slavery and involuntary servitude.

In 1896 the Supreme Court continued to uphold the constitutionality of segregation in public places, with its ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson. Homer Plessy refused to give up his seat in the "whites only" section of an intrastate train and was arrested. Writing the majority decision, Justice Henry Billings Brown wrote:

The object of the Fourteenth Amendment was undoubtedly to enforce the absolute equality of the two races before law, but in the nature of things it could not have been intended to abolish distinctions based on color, or to enforce social, as distinguished from political, equality, or a commingling of the two races upon terms unsatisfactory to either.7

This decision set the precedent for "separate but equal" which would guide federal court decisions for the next sixty years. Students will select, research, and present analyses on "separate but equal" laws and statutes, and the federal court cases which upheld the Plessy decision. This will set the stage for the discussion of why the Civil Rights Movement was necessary to secure the rights promised in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments.

The Fifteenth Amendment, ratified in 1870 states the following:

Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.8

Various methods were use to deny the vote to African Americans, such as literacy tests, poll taxes, the grandfather clause, threats, and violence. Strategies used to fight segregation and inequality will be discussed and examined, including sit-ins, boycotts, and voter registration drives. Students will use Internet and print resources to construct time lines and compare and contrast the strategies (logical/mathematical) used by various Civil Rights leaders and movements, including but not limited to Martin Luther King, Jr., John Lewis, Ralph David Abernathy, Marcus Garvey, Huey P. Newton, Bobby Seale, Malcolm X, Jesse Jackson, Rosa Parks, Thurgood Marshall, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP, 1909), Congress of Racial Equality (CORE, 1953), Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC, 1957), Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC, 1960), Black Panthers (1966).

Weeks Four-Six: Understand the relationship between the three branches of government and how this interaction affected the Civil Rights struggle.

In order to understand the history of Civil Rights Movement in the U.S., a thorough understanding of the relationship between the three branches of government is necessary. The third and fourth units deal with the three branches of government and how they check the power of each other. Articles I., II., and III. of the Constitution establish and define the responsibilities and powers of the three branches of U.S government:

  • Article. I. Section 1 All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.9
  • Article. II. Section 1 The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his office during the term of four years....10
  • Article. III. Section 1 The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.11

After studying the functions of the three branches and the separation of powers,

the checks and balances concept will be examined. Students will take notes on graphic organizers. The Legislative Branch has numerous checks on the Executive Branch, such as powers of impeachment (House), trials of impeachment (Senate), appointment approval (Senate), veto approval, the power to declare war, and the power to enact taxes and allocate funds. The Legislative Branch checks the Judicial Branch with its power to approve federal judges, initiate Constitutional amendments, set jurisdictions of courts, and alter the size of the Supreme Court. The bicameral Congress is also self-checking, in that bills must pass both houses of Congress and revenue bills must originate in the house. The Executive Branch checks the Legislative Branch with its veto power and its power to make appointments during Congressional recesses. It checks the Judicial Branch by its power to appoint judges. The Judicial Branch checks the Legislative and Executive Branches by Judicial Review, established by Marbury v. Madison, 1803.

It is emphatically the province and duty of the Judicial Department to say what the law is. Those who apply the rule to particular cases, must of necessity expound and interpret that rule. If two laws conflict with each other, the Courts must decide on the operation of each.12

By studying the issue of desegregation of U.S. schools, students will see examples of how the three branches interacted during the Civil Rights Movement. An in-depth look at the Brown v. Board case and the cases leading up to it will give students insight into the workings of the Supreme Court and help answer the questions students often have about why it took so long to pass Civil Rights Legislation. Students will work in groups to role- play exchanges between NAACP lawyers and opposing attorneys in order to understand the legal arguments that were pursued in the school segregation cases.

Brown v. Board is the name given to the schools desegregation case that included four separate cases: Brown v. Board of Education, Topeka, Kansas, 1954; Briggs v. Elliott, Summerton, S. Carolina, 1952; Davis v. County School Board of Prince Edward County, Prince Edward County, Virginia, 1952; Gebhart v. Belton, Claymont, Delaware. Brown v. Board also included a companion case, Boiling v. Sharpe, Washington D.C., 1954. This last case was distinct because of the school was located in a federal district and not subject to the provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment, as were the schools located in states.

Brown v. Board differed from the previous segregation cases in that it was the first time that the N.A.A.C.P. was attempting to strike down segregation in the schools, rather than pursuing equality in separate schools. In fact, there was no contention of gross inferiority of the schools, curriculum or staff in the Kansas case and in the Delaware case the District Court had ordered that black students be allowed to attend the white high school due to "the substantial harm of segregation and differences that made schools separate but not equal."13

The interplay between the Legislative, Judicial and Executive branches within the segregation cases demonstrate how the branches attempt to check and balance one another. For example, a Kansas statute (Legislative Branch) allowed cities with populations over 15,000 to provide separate schools for black and white students below the high school level. When thirteen parents attempted to enroll their children in the white school in their neighborhoods, they were denied. The U.S. District Court (Judicial Branch) upheld the school board's decision, even though the Court agreed that segregation was harmful to black students. Students will have an opportunity to analyze additional examples when they choose court cases to research.

Week Seven: Understand how states' rights were used to deny rights to African American citizens.

The concept of federalism was also used to segregate schools and deny African Americans their rights. The fifth unit focuses on federalism, including a discussion of states' rights vs. federal rights. Federalism is defined as "a union of states under a central government distinct from that of separate states, who retain certain individual powers under the central government."14 An understanding of states' rights is necessary in explaining how the concept of states' rights was used to justify violations of the Civil War Amendments.

States' rights can be defined as the powers and authorities specifically delegated to the states in the Constitution or through the Tenth Amendment:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.15

One of the early confrontations between the defenders of states' rights and the proponents of a strong central government occurred during the Nullification Crises of 1828 and 1832, in South Carolina. The controversy was over the federal government's right to impose tariffs to protect American manufacturers. Although the crisis was settled by compromise, the use of the states' rights doctrine to defy the federal government increased during this period. Pro-slavery politicians increasingly used this doctrine to defend the institution of slavery, eventually resulting in the secession of eleven states leading up to and during the Civil war.

The concept of nullification is very interesting to the students. This often leads to a discussion about why people just didn't disobey the laws that were unjust, which in turn leads to a discussion about the power structure and what could be lost by taking a stand. It's hard for students to understand the risks involved in civil disobedience, which is why the readings and speeches of John Lewis and other Civil Rights leaders are so important.

When confronted with "What would you do?" historic scenarios, students often say they would "get a gun and blow someone's head off." This usually results in a teachable moment to discuss the risks and downside of such a remedy in today's world as well as in the historic context of post Civil War United States and the Civil Rights Era.

After the Civil War, opponents of African-American rights used the states' rights doctrine to enforce Jim Crow Laws (segregation). By analyzing the numerous court cases leading up to Brown v. Board, students will see evidence of this justification for the continued denial of equal rights to African Americans. In the tug of war between states' rights and individual rights for African Americans, states' rights would trump individual rights until the enforcement of Brown v. Board.

Week Eight: Analyze historic documents to better understand our Democracy.

The next unit of the American Government course examines the documents upon which our Constitution is based. By teaching the course in this order, students can now analyze these primary sources with an understanding of the history of our democracy. Going "backwards" like this seems counterintuitive but having taught American Government in every conceivable order, this seems to make the most sense to students. By this point in the course they are hooked into the material and have the background to analyze the documents more critically, without getting bogged down with the questions that have already been answered, such as "If the Declaration of Independence says all men are created equal, why was slavery allowed?". Students will complete a Tic-Tac-Toe Choice Board project whereby they select three activities related to the historic documents and political philosophies that shaped the development of our constitutional democracy. Each choice requires research and analysis of the primary sources but also offers options in the various multiple intelligences for how the information will be presented in a final product.

Week Nine: Understand the organization and powers of the national government and the differences between our system and other government systems in the world.

The last unit deals with the organization and powers of the national government, knowledge of the federal judiciary, and a study of the different government systems in the world. At this point a Wall Paper Carousel will be used for students to show what they already know about the organization of the national government and the federal judiciary, since we will have touched on those topics already, throughout the course.

The tic-tac-toe choice board mentioned above will include activities designed for students to analyze the different government systems.

For the carousel activity, chart paper will be hung on the wall, each with a different heading, such as "The Three Branches of Government," "Powers of the Executive Branch," etc. Students will travel from carousel to carousel in groups of three or four to write what they know about each topic. This gives me the opportunity to assess what they already know and clear up any misconceptions they may have. Graphic organizers will be used to fill in the gaps of knowledge in these areas.

This is the end of the semester. Tic-Tac-Toe presentations will be presented to the class, exam review will take place, and students will report out on their community activity projects. Students who wrote a paper planning a detailed community activity project will present the plan, including the data which demonstrates the need for the project. Students who worked on a political campaign or community will describe the experience, using material from the journals they kept during the process. Continuity and change will be discussed as we continue to compare the experiences of Representative John Lewis and President Barack Obama with the needs demonstrated in the students' data and the projects in which they participated. I expect the students will see the value of community action, feel positive about what they have done, and continue to be involved in their communities and the political process. They will be members of their communities long after Barack Obama's presidency, and it is my hope that they not only stay involved but encourage others to fulfill their civic responsibilities



I will hook the students to the topic by having them listen to excerpts from Barack Obama's Dreams From my Father and John Lewis' Walking with the Wind, as well as reading excerpts from the speeches and books of both. Students will keep a journal to record thoughts as they listen to the stories of Congressman Lewis and President Obama.

Students will compare the two leaders; continuity and change will be discussed throughout the semester. Journals will be graded.

Community Action Projects

Students will be given the choice to either write a paper planning a detailed community action project (including data demonstrating a need for the project) or participate in a community project or political campaign, along with a journal documenting this experience. This assignment will be given at the beginning of the semester and will be due at the end of the nine week semester. Students may choose to work on a political campaign or a project involving but not limited to: the homeless, the mentally ill, veterans, the physically handicapped, the hospital-bound, environmental issues, reducing violence. Activities may include participating in fund raisers, cleaning parks and vacant areas, cleaning graffiti, volunteering in a pre-school, participating in a letter-writing campaign, working to reduce energy consumption in student's community, etc. Students will present project plans or activity summaries to the class at the end of the semester. Project plans and journals will be graded.

Current Events Scrapbooks

Students will keep weekly current events scrapbooks or notebooks. The scrapbooks will contain three entries per week, at least one per week having to do with an issue related to equality. Students will cut out or print each article, write a summary of at least one half page, and explain the article in terms of one or more of the themes. Students will be randomly selected to present articles weekly. Scrapbooks will be graded as homework.

Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments Analysis

A detailed study of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments will be conducted by the students. Half the class will be assigned the Fifth Amendment and half the class will be assigned the Fourteenth Amendment. Students will work in groups of three to break down each amendment, sentence by sentence. With the help of primary and secondary documents, each group will analyze the meaning and intent of the amendment it is assigned. Each group of three will then pair with another group of three to compare their analyses and make additions, as appropriate. Each group of six will report to the class, with each student in the group required to make at least one statement. The original groups of three will then work together to create political cartoons which demonstrate adherence to or violation of one of the aspects of their assigned amendment. Political cartoons will be presented and posted in the classroom. Students will earn a participation grade for the analyses and groups will earn class work grades for their political cartoons.

Civil Rights Act of 2009

Students will use Internet and print resources to examine the various Black Codes written by the states in the south after the Civil War. Each pair will be assigned one of the documents to analyze and present to the class. After all the pairs have reported and all the examples of codes have been discussed, students will write reflective pieces on what it would have been like to live in this oppressed state. Pairs will the discuss whether or not there are "codes" today which deny groups equal rights and protections in the United States or in their particular state. Students will be asked to consider both written laws and unwritten societal rules. An example of a written "code" would be the ban on gay marriage in Georgia. Pairs will write the current "Codes" (bans which limit freedom) on construction paper and present to the class for discussion. Each pair will then write a "Civil Rights Act of 2009" to guarantee any rights and freedoms they believe should be added to the citizens of their state. These will be posted in the classroom and discussed and debated. Students will earn class work grades and participation grades for this assignment.

BINGO mini-lecture: Civil Rights Act

The BINGO mini-lecture strategy will be used to teach the Civil Rights Acts. Each student will receive a BINGO card with key terms and concepts pertaining to the Civil Rights Acts. During the mini-lecture, whenever students hear an explanation for one of the terms on their cards, they will cover the term with a plastic marker (or wrapped piece of candy). When students have covered a full line (across/up/down/diagonal), they will call out BINGO! To claim a prize (points, candy, etc.), students must explain each of the covered concepts. Students will be quizzed and tested on this information (multiple choice and essay).

Civil Rights Timeline

Students will use Internet and print resources to construct Civil Rights timelines and compare/contrast philosophies and strategies used by various Civil Rights leaders and organizations. Civil Rights leaders and movements may include but are not limited to:

Martin Luther King, Jr., John Lewis, Ralph David Abernathy, Marcus Garvey, Huey P. Newton, Bobby Seale, Malcolm X, Jesse Jackson, Rosa Parks, Thurgood Marshall, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP, 1909), Congress of Racial Equality (CORE, 1953), Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC, 1957), Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC, 1960), Black Panthers (1966). Students will create chart paper timelines which include the at least ten individuals, organizations, or events, along with appropriate date(s), brief descriptions, and at least one graphic for each. Students will work individually, post and present their timelines. Students' timelines will be grades as projects.

Brown v. Board Role Play

After a BINGO mini-lecture on the Brown v. Board Supreme Court Case (and related cases), students will work in pairs to research legal arguments between NAACP lawyers and federal or Supreme Court judges. Each pair will then role-play a significant exchange between two of the lawyers and provide an explanation of is importance. Students will earn participation grades and be quizzed and tested over this material (multiple choice and essay).

"What Would You Do" Scenarios

Think/Pair/Share will be used to have students consider the risks and limited options African Americans had during and before the Civil Rights Movement. Students will be asked to place themselves in various scenarios, such as a young lady or man being told to move to the back of the bus, or a teenager being told she cannot go to her neighborhood school because it was for whites only. Students will first work independently to consider and write what they would do (Think). Each student will then pair with another student to discuss their responses (Pair). Students will be called on to share their pair discussion with the class (share). Scenarios and responses will be posted on chart paper and discussed as a class. Students will earn participation grades.

Wall Paper Carousel: Powers of National Government; Powers of the Judiciary

Chart paper will be hung on the wall, each with a different topic, such as Delegated Powers, Enumerated Powers, Concurrent Powers, Judicial Review. Students will walk around in groups of three or four to write what they know about each topic. This can be used as a pre-assessment, a review, or formative assessment to take the pulse of the students or clear up any misconceptions that may be evident.


1. Obama, Barack H.. The Audacity of Hope. 1st ed. New Your: Crown Publishers, 2006.

2. http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html (accessed 07/11/09).

3. http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html (accessed 07/11/09).

4. http://www.sciway.net/afam/reconstruction/blackcodes.html (accessed 07/11/09).

5. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/anex/reconstruction/activism (accessed 07/11/09).

6. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/anex/reconstruction/activism (accessed 07/11/09).

7. http://www.landmarkcases.org/plessy/home.html (accessed 07/10/09).

8. http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html (accessed 07/11/09).

9. http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html (accessed 07/11/09).

10. http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html (accessed 07/11/09).

11. http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html (accessed 07/11/09).

12. http://www.landmarkcases.org/marbury/home.html (accessed 07/10/09).

13. http://www.dirkdavis.net/cbu/.../Brown (accessed 07/11/09).

14. http://www.the freedictionary.com (accessed 07/10/09).

Annotated Bibliography/Resources

"American Experience | Reconstruction: The Second Civil War | Black Legislators |

PBS." PBS. 12 July 2009 http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/reconstruction/activism>.

This site was used to access specific wording of the Civil Rights Acts of 1866 and 1875.

Dictionary, Encyclopedia and Thesaurus - The Free Dictionary. 12 July 2009

http://www.thefreedictionary.com>. This site was used to get an "official" definition of


Kluger, Richard. Simple Justice. New York: Vintage Books, 2004. This book is an

account of Black America's struggle for equality. The detailed background of the court

cases that preceded Brown v.Board give great insight into the struggle and why it took so

long to overturn Plessy v. Ferguson.

Lewis, John . Walking with the Wind. New Your: Simon and Schuster, 1998. Excerpts

from this book will be used to learn about the conditions in the 1950's and 1960's and the

responses to it. It will also be used to compare and contrast community involvement of

John Lewis and that of Barack Obama.

"Main Menu, Marbury v. Madison, Landmark Supreme Court Cases." Landmark

Supreme Court Cases - HOME. 12 July 2009

http://www.landmarkcases.org/marbury/home.html>. This site was used to get the

exact wording of the Court's decision in Marbury v. Madison.

"Main Menu, Plessy v. Ferguson, Landmark Supreme Court Cases." Landmark Supreme

Court Cases - HOME. 12 July 2009 http://www.landmarkcases.org/plessy/home.html>.

The site was used to get additional information on the Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court


Obama, Barack. Dreams from My Father. New York: Crown Publishing Group, 1995.

Dreams from my Father contains details about Barack Obama's community organizing,

as well as a description of his life's experiences that led to the person he is today.

Excerpts from this book will be used to inspire students to become involved in their

communities and also to compare and contrast the Civil Rights Era and activism to today.

Obama, Barack. The Audacity of Hope. New York: Crown Publishing Group, 2006. This

book is great for conveying Barack Obama's optimism and call for a new kind of

politics. Excerpts from the chapters on "Our Constitution" and "Race" will be used as we

compare and contrast the Civil Rights Era to the current climate in the U.S.

"South Carolina - Black Codes and Jim Crow Laws." SCIway.net - South Carolina

Information Highway - SC. 12 July 2009

http://www.sciway.net/afam/reconstruction/blackcodes.html>. This site was used to

get information about the Black Codes, particularly those in South Carolina.

USConstitution.net." Index Page - The U.S. Constitution Online - USConstitution.net. 12

July 2009 http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html>. This site was used to get the

exact wording of the Fifth, Tenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments.

"EDU 300 American Public Schools - Syllabus." Welcome to dirkdavis.net. 12 July 2009

http://www.dirkdavis.net/cbu/edu300>. This cite was used to get the exact names of

the five cases which made up Brown v. Board and as an additional reference to the

Kluger Book (Simple Justice).

Student Reading List

Lewis, John . Walking with the Wind. New Your: Simon and Schuster, 1998. Excerpts

from this book will be used to learn about the conditions in the 1950's and 1960's and the

responses to it. It will also be used to compare and contrast community involvement of

John Lewis and that of Barack Obama.

Obama, Barack. Dreams from My Father. New York: Crown Publishing Group, 1995.

Dreams from my Father contains details about Barack Obama's community organizing,

as well as a description of his life's experiences that led to the person he is today.

Excerpts from this book will be used to inspire students to become involved in their

communities and also to compare and contrast the Civil Rights Era and activism to today.

Obama, Barack. The Audacity of Hope. New York: Crown Publishing Group, 2006. This

book is great for conveying Barack Obama's optimism and call for a new kind of

politics. Excerpts from the chapters on "Our Constitution" and "Race" will be used as we

compare and contrast the Civil Rights Era to the current climate in the U.S.

Implementing District Standards

SSCG3 Demonstrate knowledge of the U.S. Constitution.

  1. Explain the fundamental principles upon which the U.S. Constitution is based; include the rule of law, popular sovereignty, separation of powers, checks and balances, and federalism.

This standard and element are addressed in the first week, when the themes of American government are discussed and continues throughout the semester.

SSCG6 Demonstrate knowledge of Civil Liberties and Civil Rights.

  1. Analyze due process law explained in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.

This standard and element are addressed in weeks two and three. The Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments are discussed in detail, especially as they relate to Civil Rights.

SSCG4 Demonstrate knowledge of the organization and powers of the national government.

  1. Analyze the relationship between the three branches in a system of checks and balances and separation of powers.

SSCG16 Demonstrate knowledge of the operation of the judiciary.

  1. Examine how John Marshall established the Supreme Court as an independent, coequal branch of government through his opinion in Marbury v. Madison.
  2. Describe how the Supreme Court decides cases.
  3. Compare the philosophies of judicial activism and judicial restraint.

These standards and elements are addressed in weeks four, five and six, as students study the laws and court cases surrounding the issue of segregation, particularly those associated with the Brown v. Board cases.

SSCG5 Demonstrate knowledge of the federal system of government described in the U.S. Constitution.

  1. e. Analyze the on-going debate that focuses on the balance of power between state and national governments.

This standard and element are addressed in week seven, as students discover how states' rights were used as justification for denying rights to African Americans.

SSCG7 Describe how thoughtful and effective participation in civic life is characterized by obeying the law, paying taxes, serving on a jury, participation in the political process, performing public service, registering for military duty, being informed about current issues, and respecting differing opinions.

This standard is addressed throughout the semester, as students participate in a community action project or political campaign.

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