Whose America? Americans in the Americas and Inequality

byEduardo Valladares

To what extent does access to being “American” in the Americas impact people's state of equality, identity, and interactions with one another?  For marginalized groups in the Americas, gaining full social, political, and economic equality continues to be an overbearing problem that affects many aspects of their lives including their identity. Through this unit students connect the history of Western colonization and imperialism that supported structures of disparity in postcolonial nations in the Americas to the social inequality in these nations’ populations by analyzing selected forms of mediums. Students will also develop agency through creative writing and rewriting historical narratives. Students delve into the themes of equality and “American” identity in the Americas by analyzing selected poems, plays, life writings, and songs that exercise agency to gain equal rights. Through this study of the struggle for equality in the Americas, this unit will help student build intrinsic motivation to write with purpose and to exercise this form of agency.

(Developed for IB History of the Americas HL 1-2, grade 11; recommended or United States History, grade 11)

Comments (1)

    Mark Hartung (Pioneer High, San Jose, Ca)
    Subject taught: History, Grade: 11
    Civil Rights Leaders poster and simulation
    Love the ideas that I see in this unit, especially: Students will collaborate with a partner to research a civil rights leader, create a life-size poster character profile, individually prepare a speech that introduces their historical character and articulates their historical figure’s promoted methods and tactics to achieve African American equality in the United States. Students will participate in an experiential seminar discussion on what tactics should and should not be used to achieve equality. I plan to use and adapt this later in the school year when I am teaching about the Civil Rights Movement.
    Thanks for all you do for your students, Mark

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