Codes of Conduct: Racist Housing and Education Policies that Impact Urban Students

byChristiona Hawkins

This unit will be focused on the novel Warriors Don’t Cry by Melba Patillo Beals, and the play “A Raisin in the Sun” written by Lorraine Hansberry. Both texts take place during the same decade of history; each author uses the setting of the 1950s and 1960s to reveal the realities Black families, men, women, and children lived during the violent Civil Rights Era. The unit is meant to bridge the historical and contextual gaps between existing curriculum around desegregation, the two anchor texts, and the students. Above all, this unit will cover two major conceptual themes between 1934-1970: racist housing policies and destructive educational legislation. Both concepts will help students to understand the bigger picture of each text and more closely draw conclusions around the notion of the American Dream and its implications for Black communities historically and presently in Washington, DC and other urban communities. The unit will address the unintended consequences of Brown v. Board of Education and the notion that educational desegregation requires effective desegregation of housing.

(Developed for English, grades 7-8; recommended for English, Social Studies, and Government, grades 6-12)

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