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A Class Act

Author: Margo A. Pinckney


Samuel Pennypacker Elementary School

Year: 2023

Seminar: W.E.B. Du Bois and Philadelphia’s Seventh Ward

Grade Level: 6-8

Keywords: data collection, race relations

School Subject(s): Computer Science, ELA, Math, Social Studies

W.E.B. Du Bois’ thorough research examines the social reality of Blacks in Philadelphia’s Seventh Ward using history and sociology. His 1899 book, The Philadelphia Negro, provides an in-depth look into Black life, covering migration, faith, crime, relationships, social class structures, healthcare, and academia. He argued that many of the issues found in the Black community would disappear because of the shift in how Blacks were seen in America, from inferior to equally capable. Today’s students need to have an account of W.E.B. Du Bois’ contributions to modern-day sociology, race relations, and data collection. In this academic unit, students are exposed to poetry, mathematics, literature, and the academic vocabulary of the essence of the man we call Du Bois.

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Full Unit Text
Unit Content

I am an elementary and middle school teacher in an urban setting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I teach at a predominantly Black school with a diverse teaching population. The teaching population is 60% Black and 40% White. We provide students with free and reduced lunches. I taught 7th and 8th grade mathematics and social studies this school year. I plan on introducing the 4th grade to the TIP curriculum in the fall. W.E.B. Du Bois wanted to change race relations in an oppressed America. Many credits are due to Du Bois as the father of sociology, but he was often overlooked for his scholarly works due to the color of his skin. I would like to expose students to the scholar he was in politics, data collection, and academic writing.

I teach Black history all year because it is relevant. I heard about the TIP seminar, W.E.B. Du Bois, and the 7th Ward. I was so excited to bring this topic to light. There is so much history in the city where we live. Many children in Philadelphia only travel within their immediate community. I hope the research Du Bois contributed to Philadelphia will enlighten students on the history of Blacks in the 20th century.

W.E.B. Du Bois is one of the most captivating and intellectual minds of the 20th century. The 7th Ward class and Du Bois have helped me understand the significance of W.E.B. Du Bois’s book, The Philadelphia Negro. The Philadelphia Negro, in my opinion, was a literary treasure for modern-day sociology and ethnography. Du Bois and the 7th Ward class made me think of modern-day gentrification and redlining as present-day segregation. The Black Seventh Ward was “in the center of the city, near places of employment for the mass of people, and near the center of social life,” according to W. E. B. Du Bois, in his seminal 1899 study The Philadelphia Negro, caused people to “crowd here in great numbers.” As he looked around the neighborhood, he was interested in the diverse black population, the extreme poverty, and the violence that seemed to be everywhere. According to Du Bois, “murder sat at our doorsteps, the police served as our government, and philanthropy occasionally dropped in with advice.”

I am an urban teacher who sincerely desires to see all children together, especially in an educational setting, regardless of race, creed, or sexual identity. The only way children learn efficiently is through diversity. Diversity is dangerous to the minds of the ignorant. Du Bois saw the huge disparities between Blacks and whites in our educational society. The Philadelphia Negro discusses the problems surrounding the Black illiteracy rate and how education impacts the societal outcomes of many Blacks in the United States.

I hope some of the teachings of W. E. B. Du Bois are studied more in depth to empower a group of oppressed people. The Philadelphia Negro would assist many educators with discussions regarding race relations. Race relations will always be a tough conversation due to the emotions tied to the past. Nevertheless, the conversations still need to happen. In the Du Bois and 7th Ward classes, we had those discussions with mutual respect and dignity for one another’s ideas. We engage in the works of W.E.B. Du Bois, and his writings impact societal norms.

I plan to include rich dialogue, poems, graphic organizers, and data teachings throughout my unit. I will incorporate data storytelling based on The Philadelphia Negro.

Dr. William E. Burghardt Du Bois, a graduate of Fisk and Harvard Universities and the Harvard Graduate School, came to the University of Pennsylvania from Wilberforce University, where he was a professor of ancient languages at the time of his appointment. His superb treatise on “The History of the African Slave Trade,” published as the first volume in the Harvard Historical Studies, was in the works at the time. Both his training and personal qualifications for the proposed job proved to be far superior to our highest expectations, and his significant contributions to the educational uplift of his people, both before and after his term of service at the University of Pennsylvania, have earned him public recognition that makes any personal introduction of Dr. Du Bois unnecessary.

The purpose of the study was to provide local organizations and people interested in improving the condition of Philadelphia’s Black population with a deeper awareness of the current situation of Black residents so that such work can be directed most effectively. It will not be improper to draw attention to some of the most important themes raised in the study in this space.

As a proportion of the city’s overall population, Blacks are increasing faster than whites, with the pace of rise attributed to immigration rather than a natural increase. However, in 1890, Black people formed less than 4% of the overall population, roughly the percentage for each of the three preceding decades and significantly less than any decade in this century before 1860 (49).  comprised almost 40,000 people than any other city in the country save Washington, Baltimore, and New Orleans (53). These people are located in a city that blends the traits of the North and the South in many strange ways. Its Negro population is also unusual in that it has an excess of females and young people, including men and women, between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five (55). More assistance should be provided to black working women, the bulk of whom are employed in domestic service. Their health is generally high since they are better fed and sheltered than those in other jobs, which must supply their food and housing (496). There is a need for more guidance and legal protection regarding techniques of saving and mutual benefit organizations, as well as more options for domestics to enjoy themselves in a healthy way on their “days out” than the Negro churches (468). The mistress-servant connection is an issue in which the Negro domestic is not unique but is implicated in what is being done to improve the overall adjustment of this relationship (500 ff.). However, the question remains:

Why is there an unusually high proportion of females in this city’s black population? The restricted employment available to males plays a significant role (55). As a result, any rise in men’s work will benefit women by bringing the sexes’ relative numbers back into balance. The current aberrant sex distribution has resulted in significant crime and moral deterioration.

The fact that an abnormal age structure explains why it does not support the most common crimes (259) further emphasizes this.

The most significant problem confronting the Philadelphia Negro is not “sheer ignorance,” because the illiteracy rate is modest (92). However, if one honestly inquires, “What kind of education have these people received?”

In addition, how does it connect with their economic and social standing? The educational crisis has reached epic proportions. In the case of a race that is still in its infancy in social development and lacks much of its stronger competitor’s protective instincts, preparing each kid for direct economic independence is crucial. More education for adult African-Americans is needed. Laboring men require organization and esprit du corps (130), as well as the capacity to change jobs and maintain a higher level of efficiency in lines where they are being eliminated in the economic war for existence. Most male and female servant classes require training in health and hygiene norms and technical knowledge of cleaning, cooking, and domestic etiquette. The high death rate among Negroes is attributed primarily to poor living conditions rather than noticeable racial deficiencies (156), as well as a widespread misunderstanding of healthcare standards (160). Family life requires strengthening at all levels, which the churches might do more of than they already do. The Negro church is a solid social structure, but it spends a disproportionately large amount of family money, which could be used more profitably on domestic social activities (195).

Teaching Strategies

  1. Problem-based learning
  2. Inquiry-based learning
  3. Project-based learning
  4. Modeling
  5. Providing feedback
  6. Cooperative learning
  7. Experiential Learning
  8. Student-led Classroom
  9. Graphic Organizers
  10. Debate
  11. Instructional Scaffolding
  12. Storytelling
  13. Teach Vocabulary
  14. Culturally Responsive

A teacher can teach reading strategies explicitly to students in a judiciously structured way. First, the teacher should introduce and perfect the process, elucidate it, and describe how to apply the strategy effectively. It is beneficial if the teacher “thinks aloud” before modeling the system for the students. Second, the teacher should run through the process with the students. It is important to scaffold the students’ attempts and support their thinking by giving feedback during conferencing and classroom discussions. It helps if students “think aloud” while practicing the strategy. Third, the teacher should provide them with ongoing feedback. Fourth, once the students understand the process, they should apply it independently in new reading situations. While monitoring students’ knowledge of the subject matter, the teacher should become aware of their thinking as they read and detect hindrances and perplexities that interfere with their understanding. The teacher can recommend, teach, or implement strategies to help students restore meaning when it breaks down.

Classroom Activities

Case Studies

A case study aims to learn as much as possible about a person or group and share the findings with a wide range of people. Unfortunately, case studies can involve a lot of subjectivity, making it challenging to extrapolate results to a broader audience. A case study may offer advantages as well as disadvantages. Researchers must weigh these advantages and disadvantages before determining whether this study suits their purposes. Researchers may do a case study if a phenomenon is novel or recently found. The knowledge gathered from such research can assist the researchers in creating new concepts and researching issues that may be investigated in the future.

It’s crucial to remember that case study findings cannot be utilized to establish causal links between different variables. Case studies, however, might be used to generate theories that are later tested in experimental research.

Debate Competition

A debate is a formalized discussion in which participants offer their positions or explore a subject from two opposing angles. The primary goal of participating in a discussion is to persuade others of your point of view.


Children will inevitably partake in imaginative role-play since it helps them make sense of their surroundings. It’s all a natural and expected element of childhood play, from dressing up as a superhero and ‘fighting’ to softly cradling a doll to sleep.


Brainstorming blends lateral thinking with a relaxed, informal problem-solving approach. It inspires people to have ideas and thoughts that may appear strange. Some concepts can be developed into novel, inventive responses to issues, while others can generate even more concepts.

Grade: 4th Lesson Title: Dudley Randall “Booker T. and W.E.B.”

●       CC.1.2.4.L Read and comprehend literary nonfiction and informational text on grade level, reading independently and proficiently.

●       CC.1.3.4.E Explain major differences between poems, drama, and prose and refer to the structural elements of each when writing or speaking about a text.

Duration: 5 days

●       A copy of the poem for each student

●       Chart paper

●       Venn Diagram copies for each student


Students will know:

Dudley Randall was a prolific writer and poet.

Students will be able to: Analyze  Dudley Randall’s poetry for meaning Students will understand: The meaning and contribution of Dudley Randall’s poetry.


Essential Question(s):

●       Who is William E. Burghardt Du Bois?

●       Why is W.E.B. Du Bois important?

Introduction: The teacher recites or shows the author reciting the poem, “Booker T. and W.E.B”. What does “negro” mean? What do you think the word “Negro” meant in our country?
Modeling: The teacher will recite the poem, “Booker T. and W.E.B.”. What is the meaning of the poem? How does the poem relate to slavery and the experience of Blacks in the United States of America? The teacher will explain and show using echo reading, students will then transition to choral reading.
Guided Practice: The teacher will explain and demonstrate using echo reading; students will then transition to choral reading.
Independent Practice: Students will complete the Venn Diagram chart using a graphic organizer.
Closure: As a class, fill out the KWL chart on the chart paper.
Assessment/Rubric: In the poem “Booker T. and W.E.B.”, Dudley Randall writes about the history of Blacks in America. What do you think Dudley Randall would want you to take away from the poem? How does it teach us about the history of slavery?



CC.1.2.4.L Read and comprehend literary nonfiction and informational text on grade level, reading independently and proficiently.

CC.1.3.4.E Explain major differences between poems, drama, and prose and refer to the structural elements of each when writing or speaking about a text.

Dudley Randall was a poet and publisher from the United States. Dudley Randall was born in Washington, D.C. In 1965, he published the poems of several well-known poets through his firm Broadside Press, launching their careers. In 1920, his family relocated to Detroit. Dudley Randall’s first poetry, a sonnet, was published in the Detroit Press in 1927 when he was 13 years old. The sonnet received first place and a one-dollar reward on the “Young Poets Page.”  Among his early influences were his father’s encouragement to expose him and his brothers to notable African American writers and artists such as W.E.B. Du Bois, Walter Francis White, James Weldon Johnson, and others. These guys were significant figures during that time period and continue to be significant in American history today.

Dudley Randall worked for Ford Motors after graduating from high school. From 1938 through 1943, Dudley Randall also worked as a mail clerk. During World War II, he also served in the military. While attending Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, where he got a Bachelor of Arts degree in English in 1949, he worked at the post-service. In 1951, Dudley Randall earned his master’s degree in library science from the University of Michigan. Randall got involved in the Black Arts Movement in the 1960s. In 1963, Randall released “Ballad of Birmingham,” a ballad on the heinous church bombing in Alabama. He founded Broadside Press in 1965, which published several well-known African American poets. Poem Counterpoem (1966), a collaboration between Randall and Margaret Esse Danner, was Broadside Press’s debut publication. In 1978, Black Enterprise magazine called him “the father of the black poetry movement of the 1960s.”

In 1856, Booker Taliaferro Washington was born into slavery in Virginia. His family relocated to Malden, West Virginia, following the Civil War. When slavery was abolished, he was nine years old. Booker T. Washington was a salt miner. In the salt mines, he taught himself to read by utilizing the numbers on the salt barrels. He utilized a Webster’s dictionary that his mother gave him to teach himself the letters and sight words. He went to the Hampton Normal & Agricultural Institute, a segregated institution for Blacks in Virginia, at night. He had to go 200 kilometers to school. Because he was a brilliant student, Booker T. Washington graduated first in his class with honors.

Booker T. Washington demonstrated considerable leadership potential. In 1881, he was nominated to be the first president of the newly created Tuskegee Institute.

Tuskegee Institute was a black students’ institution in Tuskegee, Alabama. Washington discovered an abandoned property on the outskirts of town for the school. His pupils were carpenters and architects for the 100-acre campus that would house classrooms, dorms, a chapel, and a curriculum ranging from agriculture to brick-making.

Booker T. Washington’s views on black people in America would subsequently collide with those of another famous thinker, W.E.B. Dubois. Booker T. Washington, according to W.E.B. Dubois, was not doing enough for Black development in America. Washington believed that mastering a skill and being useful to white society would eventually uplift Black people and keep them safe in the scary Jim Crow South.

Booker T. Washington died on November 14, 1915. Booker T. Washington was laid to rest on the Tuskeegee University campus.

In the year 1868, William Edward Burghardt DuBois was born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. The parents of W.E.B. DuBois were born free. DuBois was raised by his mother when his father abandoned the family when he was a year old. DuBois’ mother was an ardent supporter of education. She worked hard to ensure that W.E.B. DuBois received an excellent education. DuBois attended school with white students. Racism towards persons of color was rare in the town where DuBois grew up. Because he was a bright scholar, W.E.B. was warmly welcomed by the most powerful families in his hometown. W.E.B. DuBois did not encounter actual prejudice until he enrolled at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, in the South. As soon as he arrived, the racial injustice against people of color became clear. W.E.B. seen firsthand how African-Americans were treated unfairly in America. His purpose was to strive to transform the manner of life for Black people in an unfair society.

W.E.B. DuBois was awarded a Harvard University scholarship in Cambridge, Massachusetts. W.E.B. DuBois encountered prejudice once more while attending Harvard University. He overcame the hatred and graduated with honors. W.E.B. DuBois was the first Black man to get a Ph.D. in Social Science from Harvard University in 1895. In 1896, he wrote his PhD dissertation, “The Suppression of the African Slave Trade.”

DuBois was given a teaching job at Wilberforce College, a historically-Black college (HBCU) in Ohio. He left Wilberforce to accept an invitation from the University of Pennsylvania to conduct research in Philadelphia. DuBois finished work on The Philadelphia Negro: A Social Study while at Penn. He wrote about the lives of Black people in Philadelphia in it. DuBois was then offered a post as a professor at Atlanta University.

W.E.B. DuBois wrote “The Souls of Black Folks” in 1903. It was his best-known work of writing. In it, DuBois discussed a variety of racial concerns, including his feud with Booker T. Washington. Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois were Black community leaders. Booker T. Washington believed that Blacks should utilize their hands, work in physical labor, and develop enterprises to serve all people. W.E.B. DuBois desired that Blacks have high educations, demand equal rights, and let the brightest Blacks, dubbed the “talented tenth,” lead the Black people forward. The two men were never able to agree on the best way ahead for Black America.

W.E.B. DuBois, Ida B. Wells, Moorefield Storey, and Mary White Ovington created the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) in 1910. For 24 years, he edited The Crisis, the NAACP’s periodical.

W.E.B. Du Bois left the United States in 1961 to work in Ghana, West Africa, where he spent the rest of his life. W.E.B. Dubois died at the age of 95 on August 27, 1968, the night before the March on Washington, still battling for equal rights for Blacks.


Booker T. and W.E.B.


“It seems to me,” said Booker T.,

“It shows a might lot of cheek

To study chemistry and Greek

When Mister Charlie needs a hand

To hoe the cotton on his land,

And when Miss Ann looks for a cook,

Why stick your nose inside a book?”

“I don’t agree,” said W. E. B.

“If I should have the drive to seek

Knowledge of Chemistry or Greek,

I’ll do it. Charles and Miss can look

Another place for hand or cook.

Some men rejoice in skill of hand,

And some in cultivating land,

But there are others who maintain

The right to cultivate the brain.”

“It seems to me”, said Booker T.,

“That all you folks have missed the boat

Who shout about the right to vote,

And spend vain days and sleepless nights

In uproar over civil rights.

Just keep your mouths shut, do not grouse,

But work, and save, and buy a house.”

“I don’t agree,” said W.E.B.,

“For what can property avail

if dignity and justice fail?

Unless you help to make the laws,

They’ll steal your house with trumped-up clause.

A rope’s a tight, a fire as hot,

No matter how much cash you’ve got.

Speak soft, and try your little plan,

But as for me, I’ll be a man or woman.”

“It seems to me,” said Booker T, —

I don’t agree,”

Said W. E. B.


W.E.B. Dubois KWL Chart

What I Know What I Want To Know What I Learned





Venn Diagram


Lesson Plan: Getting to Know W.E.B. Du Bois

Essential Questions: Who is William E. Burghardt Du Bois?

Why is W.E.B. Du Bois important?

Objective: Students will become familiar with W.E.B. Du Bois by creating a Google Slide Show.


The teacher will model how to use Google Slides. The teacher will also show students how to use Google as a research search engine.
Guided Practice: Students will do a Google search on W. E. B. Du Bois.
Check for Understanding:


Who is W.E.B. Du Bois? Why is Du Bois important in history? What did he do to make himself famous? What can I learn from W.E.B. Du Bois?
Independent Practice: Students will use Google Slides. The students will also learn how to use Google as a research search engine.
Assessment or Project: Creating a Google slide show by following a detailed rubric.
Content Standards: CC.1.4.3.A-CC.1.4.3.E, CC.1.4.3.S, and CC.1.4.3.X


Lesson Plan: W.E.B. and BOOKER T by Dudley Randell

Essential Questions: How can W.E.B. Du Bois’s viewpoint differ from others?
Objective: Students will be able to read and recite the poem.
Procedure: The teacher will model the poem by using echo reading.
Guided Practice: The teacher will model and explain choral reading.
Check for Understanding: Students will be given a cloze test on the poem.
Independent Practice: Students will practice the poem during independent reading times.
Assessment or Project: Students will write a paragraph-length analysis of the poem’s meaning.
Content Standards: CC.1.4.3.A-CC.1.4.3.E, CC.1.4.3.S, and CC.1.4.3.X


Lesson Plan: W.E.B. Google Slide Show

Essential Questions: Who is William E. Burghardt Du Bois?

Why is W.E.B. Du Bois important?

Objective: Students will become familiar with W.E.B. Du Bois by creating a Google Slide Show.


The teacher will model how to use Google Slides. The teacher will also show students how to use Google as a research search engine.
Guided Practice: Students will do a Google search on W. E. B. Du Bois.
Check for Understanding:


Who is W.E.B. Du Bois? Why is Du Bois important in history? What did he do to make himself famous? What can I learn from W.E.B. Du Bois?
Independent Practice: Students will use Google Slides. The students will also learn how to use Google as a research search engine.
Assessment or Project: Creating a Google slide show by following a detailed rubric.
Content Standards: CC.1.4.3.A-CC.1.4.3.E, CC.1.4.3.S, and CC.1.4.3.X


Lesson Plan

Essential Questions: How can W.E.B. Du Bois’s viewpoint differ from others?
Objective: Students will fill out the Venn diagram after reviewing the poem by Dudley Randall, W.E.B., and Booker T.


The teacher will read the poem with the students. The teacher will then facilitate a discussion among the students about the meaning of the poem.
Guided Practice:





The teacher will explain the use of a Venn Diagram with the poem. A Venn diagram depicts the connections between two or more data sets. Venn diagrams are particularly excellent for displaying similarities and contrasts, and they are frequently used to compare and contrast the properties of various data sets. In a Venn diagram, a circle represents each data set.
Check for Understanding:


Students will write an essay based on the information gathered from their Venn diagram.
Independent Practice:


Students will complete the Venn Diagram based on the poem and background knowledge about W.E.B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington.
Assessment or Project: The essays content will serve as the assessment for this lesson.
Content Standards: CC.1.4.3.A-CC.1.4.3.E, CC.1.4.3.S, and CC.1.4.3.X


Essential Questions: How can we collect data like W.E.B. DuBois?
Objective: To make a data graph using commonalities in the classroom setting.
Procedure: Students will respond to their paper’s yes or no questions.
Guided Practice: The teacher will collect the papers. The teacher will write down the number of responses next to the question.
Check for Understanding: Students will make tallies of the results to create their bar graphs.
Independent Practice: Students will tabulate all their information for the graph.
Assessment or Project: The class will take the data and summarize and analyze the results by creating a bar graph in Google Sheets.
Content Standards: CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.4.MD.B.4:



Du Bois, W. E. B. (1889). The Philadelphia Negro. New York: Cosimo

Horne, Gerald (2010). W. E. B. Du Bois: A Biography. Greenwood Press