From “We Shall Overcome” to “Black Lives Matter”: Learning from the Present, Building on the Past

Author: Geoffrey Winikur

School/Organization:

George Washington Carver High School for Engineering and Science

Year: 2020

Seminar: Cinema and Civil Rights

Grade Level: 9-12

Keywords: Black Art, Black Lives Matter, civil rights, collaborative learning, culturally responsive teaching, dialogic teaching, feminist pedagogy, inquiry-based learning

School Subject(s): English, African American Literature, Social Studies, African American History

The nationwide uprisings that have occurred since the George Floyd murder are a profound reminder that the racial inequities that have existed since the “founding” of the country. People of African descent have constantly been fighting for freedom, equity and equality. They continue to resist carefully structural impediments that are designed to maintain and preserve white privilege and power. I have been involved in an emerging organization at The George Washington Carver High School for Engineering and Science that is working toward achieving equity and awareness in our building and communities. One of the students’ main concerns is a lack of Afrocentric curricula. Much of my teaching career has been devoted to designing and implementing inquiry-based curricula that explicitly connects African and African-American literature, film, history and culture. This particular project emphasizes the roles of women in the classic civil rights movement and the current Black Lives Matter movement. Students will study individuals and create various texts that will serve to educate peers and other members of the school community. This project can be implemented in any context that will emerge this school year, whether it be distance learning, a hybrid model or in-person teaching and learning.

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Full Unit Text
Content Objectives: Curriculum as Continuum

Here is one response to a COVID-19 on-line assignment:

 

Keyziah McCoy:

 

If I could describe this year in one word it would be heart wrenching. My heart has been heavy since this year started. When I saw this assignment I thought it would be the easiest one yet, all I have to do is talk about a good moment that happened this year. There have been one hundred and fifty-one days since 2020 started, one hundred and fifty different chances to have a good day and I’m finding it nearly impossible to think of just one good day, especially today. I’m trying to search through my memories but the only things coming to mind are police, riots, fires, murders, violence, looting white people, black people, ignorant people. Cars, trucks, buildings, businesses, police stations all inflamed. I’m trying to listen to my thoughts in order to somehow conjure up a good memory but all I can hear are the words of the oppressors. I hear the words of my president, calling us thugs and criminals. The words of white celebrities, bashing us for rioting, when we are only rioting nobody seems to hear us when we’re peaceful. Amongst all that noise I can still hear the silence.

 

Keyziah, writing in the midst of national uprisings, reminds us that students need time and space to articulate thoughts and feelings during these unprecedented times, particularly when these uprisings are embedded in the fabric of the United States. Students know and live within this continuum, yet aren’t always provided with opportunities to formally study how these events are shaped by history.

Similarly, Briana Mack was a student in my AP Seminar class who takes history very seriously. Here is an excerpt from her Individual Written Argument, The Multidimensional Impact of Violence on the African and African-American Body:

 

The control of the African body through various forms of institutionalized racism is evident throughout the history of the United States. As slavery and white supremacy developed in a nation who’s founding documents declared that “all men are created equal,” the fact that Africans were legally held as property resulted in a structural condition in which the African body became a site for physical and sexual violence, both of which were predicated on the belief that Africans were both subhuman and inherently immoral (Hannah-Jones, 2019). Consequently, both male and female slaves were subjected to unimaginable physical violence, including the exploitation of their reproductive organs in the interest of scientific and medical advancement. This treatment would continue after emancipation, and cause a series of distortions that would systematically pathologize the African body, inevitably resulting in a series of laws and policies that would make the Black body both a political weapon as well as a source for exploitation and incarceration. White supremacist control of the African body served to benefit white Americans despite the damage it incurred in the African-American community. Such control was founded in the insatiable desire for wealth and power as John Stuart Mill notes “desired in and for itself” (Mill, 1863/2001, p. 12). Using the historical and political lenses, this paper will take an intersectional approach, analyzing how the long history of institutionalized racism in the United States has normalized violence against the Black body while also using such violence to limit the capacity in which African-Americans can participate fully in American democracy (Crenshaw, 1998).

 

The process of engaging and learning from student work like this reminds us that when our students return to school they will emerge from the COVID-19 quarantine assured that the legacy of white supremacy that raised them is stronger than ever. African-Americans murdered by white supremacists in their homes, and in the street. A white dog walker channels Carolyn Bryant and attempts to weaponize the police against a man she had enough sense to refer to as “an African-American” for the crime of asking her to leash her dog. Meanwhile, cities burn and uprisings pop up across the nation because yet another Black man is murdered by the police. Racist symbols are finally tumbling, yet conservative talking heads decry the “erasure” of history. This claim, rooted in a willful ignorance of American history, explains why “the long civil rights movement” must still be taught (Hall, 2005).

Still teenagers, my students know that they are loathed by those occupying seats of power in Washington, D.C. They know that the President thinks his own daughter is “a piece of ass.” They know that powerful people in government, business and entertainment have long sanctioned racism and misogyny. In fact, they know that racism, misogyny and xenophobia are so entrenched in American soil that its citizens are willing to elect a criminal so long as he makes America great again. They can only imagine what he thinks of them. And they know this before they are even old enough to graduate high school or vote–every day they may be taught, consciously and unconsciously, by the media and images emanating from the White House and onto their screens.

At the same time, our students also know that this is a moment of seismic cultural transformation. “Black Lives Matter” is painted on a street near the White House. Confederate statues and symbols of slavery and oppression are being toppled. Our youth are eyewitnesses to a moment when the past can no longer be whitewashed, and so they can legitimately feel a sense of hope. This sense of hope is evident at my school, The George Washington Carver High School for Engineering and Science (HSES), insofar as teachers and students are currently planning a Black Student Union. This new organization is emerging from those who plan and perform our annual Black History Month celebration, an event that is reimagined each year. We are confident that our new organization, presently known as the “Carver Call to Action,” will help our students navigate the current environment while also helping them prepare for the future.

 

Instructional Roots

 

I have been fortunate to design my own curriculum for most of my career. This desire is rooted in my strong belief in the value of culturally relevant pedagogy. Alfred Tatum argues that African-American males require literacy instruction that is both challenging and “focuses on black male visibility” (Tatum, 2005). Tatum’s research emphasizes African-American male literacy, but all students of color, regardless of gender, should be afforded the same visibility. Prior to arriving at Carver HSES the overwhelming majority of my students were of African descent. Consequently, I endeavored to develop interdisciplinary curricula that helped my students develop a healthy intellectual respect based on what Emily Style calls “windows and mirrors” (Style, 1988).

The capacity to develop such curricula is supported by a long term commitment to professional development that exceeds government mandates, as well as personal research and travel. My first experience with organic PD was as a Teaching Consultant with the Philadelphia Writing Project (PhilWP). PhilWP maintained that the “best teachers of writing are other teachers.” PhilWP led to an involvement with various Teacher Research communities. These communities taught me how to look closely at my own teaching practices, both individually and collaboratively. Additionally, it has been my privilege to partake of three summer programs through the National Endowment of the Humanities: Writing Africa (2004), Roots (2008) and The Most Southern Place on Earth (2016). Each of these Institutes remain central to my curriculum development, particularly in terms of thinking across disciplines.

The Most Southern Place on Earth has been particularly influential in my thinking about how to teach literature that sheds light on the civil rights movement. Three of the most relevant events that occurred that week were meeting Fannie Lou Hamer’s former Chief-of-Staff Charles McLaurin, visiting various sites connected to the murder of Emmett Till, and meeting two of Till’s cousins who were with him on the night he was kidnapped from his uncle’s home. Learning from these eyewitnesses forced me to confront the fact that like many of my students I had relegated the Till murder to the distant past. I realized that it is much more present than I realized.

Last summer I took a solo pilgrimage to Civil Rights sites in Birmingham, Selma and Montgomery, Alabama. At the same time that I was visiting locations, and touring the many exceptional museums, I was listening to the first volume of Taylor Branch’s comprehensive history of the King years, Parting the Waters, on audible. I quickly realized that while I thought that I knew a fair amount about the history of Civil Rights, I actually knew next to nothing. I downloaded the other two volumes of Branch’s trilogy, Pillar of Fire and At Canaan’s Edge. It was here that I first encountered the magnitude of the role played by women during the Civil Rights movement. Although I was aware of prominent figures such as Rosa Parks, Coretta Scott King, Betty Shabazz and Fannie Lou Hamer, as well as artists like Billie Holiday, Nina Simone and Abbey Lincoln, I was shocked to encounter names that I had never heard. This led to the obvious conclusion that if I as a teacher was so ill-informed, it is highly likely that many of my students are also currently unaware of the pivotal role that so many women played. Consequently, I plan on engaging my 11th grade students in an inquiry project designed to have them research the life of a civil rights activist or artist and then incorporate their newfound knowledge into a fictional autobiographical narrative or audio-visual presentation.

My students are 10th and 11th graders at George Washington Carver High School of Engineering and Science in Philadelphia. Carver HSES is a two-time National Blue Ribbon School with a culturally and ethnically diverse population, 72% of whom come from low-income households. Many are either immigrants or children of immigrants. I most enjoy taking an interdisciplinary approach to writers like Chinua Achebe, August Wilson and Toni Morrison, as well as filmmakers like Ousmane Sembene and Raoul Peck. These artists systematically examine the lives of people who live the legacies of slavery and colonialism while also, reinforcing that history exists as a continuum, and not as a set of randomly connected events. They also examine gender, power and the inability of certain communities to establish generational wealth.

The idea for this project stems from an experience that occurred several years ago when I was still teaching at Parkway Northwest High School for Peace and Social Justice. I was teaching a course on post-colonial African literature and film, and one project centered on the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. Our central text was Raoul Peck’s docudrama, Sometimes in April. After viewing and analyzing this text, students began independently researching the events, participants, actions and outcomes. After students consolidated their data, I compiled a list of the various actors and asked each student to select one and write a first person narrative. I was surprised by how much specific detail seeped in the compositions and realized that narrative writing can be an excellent genre for students to articulate research-based knowledge. Additionally, students met the challenge of inhabiting the minds of both people who committed unfathomable atrocities, as well as those who suffered unspeakable horrors. I believe that my current students will similarly learn a great deal about how women who were architects of the fight against Jim Crow in the American South.

Teaching Strategies

Black women played significant roles in the civil rights movement, but their contributions were largely ignored at the time, and remain relatively unknown today (Pitre & Glasrud, 2013). Despite the patriarchal systems that prevailed in the South, Black women brought a unique consciousness to the quest for equality, primarily due to their “double consciousness—awareness of sex and race—and triple consciousness adding class” (Bell, 2018). My goal is to help students learn about the contributions made by women across racial and economic lines. Doing so will help students acquire a deeper understanding of the size and scope of the civil rights era, while also understanding how women collaborated across institutional categories in order to build an inclusive movement.

I will begin this project by framing the civil rights era by finding out what students already know about women who played pivotal roles in the movement. After we assess what we do know, we will focus on what we don’t and why certain information has been excluded from the curriculum. Some questions to consider:

 

  • What are the various roles women played in the civil rights movement?
  • How are female civil rights activists portrayed in education and popular culture?
  • How were women viewed/treated by men in the movement?
  • What about their experiences led women to make such profound sacrifices in service to the movement?
  • Why is it important to learn about the role women played in the movement?
  • What changes when we learn more about the role women played in the civil rights movement?
  • What questions do you [students] have about women in the civil rights movement?
  • How can we incorporate strategies developed by female civil rights leaders into contemporary struggles?

 

Our project will begin with two films, one a major Hollywood production and the other a short PBS biography. The first film will be Ava DuVernay’s Selma. This film dramatizes the event leading to the march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965. This film emphasizes several important women, including Coretta Scott King, Annie Lee Cooper, Diane Nash, Amelia Boynton, and Mahalia Jackson. Additionally, DuVernay takes great care to show extreme physical violence inflicted on female activists. Historian Keisha Blain, alludes to the tradition of African-American women’s subjugation to police brutality in her thoughts on today’s Black woman activists:

 

Black women are key voices in the struggle to end anti-Black police violence and dismantle structural racism. They are key voices now and they have always been key voices – especially because their lives have been directly impacted by police violence and racism. As I mentioned these women are vulnerable to state-sanctioned violence.

 

These directorial choices that women were more than passive contributors; rather, they demonstrated the same courage as men, and also endured the same brutal treatment. Students will analyze the manner in which DuVernay features the leadership of women in this crucial event.

 

Phase I: We Shall Overcome

 

Students will be provided with plenty of upfront content before having students in order to conduct their own research. This will include a short lecture explaining how I acquired my knowledge of the civil rights movement, including books read and films watched. Additionally, I will explain how travel has enhanced my knowledge. Students typically appreciate an informed lecture, so long as lecturing is not the sole means of transmitting information. Ideally, this will lead to participatory dialogue. Students can use this time to add knowledge, make connections and ask questions.

 

Previewing Selma

 

While the movie serves as engaged pedagogy of making the many figures involved in this pivotal moment in the civil rights movement visible, I know that my own first viewing of the movie was limited by the fact that the only people in the film that I had ever heard of were four or five well known figures. Consequently, I lacked the necessary knowledge required to understand the full scope of the events in and around Selma. Prior to watching the film, my students will preview the lives and contributions of the leaders and activists included in the film, including Coretta Scott King, Annie Lee Cooper, Diane Nash, Amelia Boynton, Richie Jean Jackson, Mahalia Jackson and Violet Liuzzo. We will also review the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama.

In order to gain a deeper appreciation of the women who helped lead the Selma protests students will gather in groups of four. Each group will be assigned one of the women, and one group will be assigned the four children murdered in the church: Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Carol Denise McNair.

 

History Research Assignment

 

The point of this stage of the project is to gain a deeper appreciation of the women represented in Ana DuVernay’s film, Selma.

 

Your group should create a PowerPoint/slideshow presenting the life of one of the women either directly involved in the March on Selma, or Fannie Lou Hamer.

 

Each group will create a Google Slideshow that includes the following biographical details:

 

  • Birthplace
  • Family
  • Education
  • Religion
  • Adolescence
  • Higher education
  • Professional life
  • Marriage/children

 

The PowerPoint should be at least 15 slides. No more than 20 slides.

 

  • A PowerPoint slide that has a title does not count as one of the 15 slides.
  • Each slide should include an image and written text.
  • The slide should be representative of the person’s life from childhood to adulthood.
  • Sources must be cited.
  • Individuals in the group should divide the labor evenly.
  • The presentation should be rehearsed ahead of time.
  • The final presentations will be presented to different classes.
  • Be prepared to take questions at the end of your presentation.

 

Note: The slideshow focusing on the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama will devote five slides to each girl and their families.

Classroom Activities

Lesson calendar with Due Dates: History Research Assignment

 

Time Frame:

 

  • PowerPoint final draft – TBD
  • Peer review/presentation rehearsals will take place on – TBD
  • Presentations- TBD

 

Day 1

 

Students will divide research areas and begin to look for relevant information. Each slide will include pictures and factual data. Additionally, there should be quotes from and about each figure. Each slideshow should include at least 15 slides.

 

Days 2-4

 

Groups will compose slides, place them in appropriate order and enhance design.

 

Day 5-6

 

Students will self-record while practicing presentation.

 

Days 7-9 

 

Presentations. Audience will complete reflections on post-its. Each group will have a piece of chart paper where post-its will be placed:

 

  • What stands out?
  • What do I want to know more about?

 

Day 10

 

Whole class discussion:

 

  • What did we learn?
  • What does it mean that we may not have been aware of some of these women?
  • How does this new knowledge transform our understanding of the civil rights movement?

 

Source Bank for Selma Slideshow

 

Coretta Scott King – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p33IEByTweM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DX5pyvAXz0

 

Diane Nash – Organizer. Led sit-ins and worked with SNCC. Married to activist, James Bevels.

https://snccdigital.org/people/diane-nash-bevel/

 

Amelia Boynton – Leading figure behind Selma March.

https://snccdigital.org/people/amelia-boynton/

 

Annie Lee Cooper – Leading figure behind Selma March. https://snccdigital.org/people/annie-lee-cooper/

 

Richie Jean Jackson –

https://sojo.net/tags/richie-jean-jackson

 

https://voicesofalabama.org/sites/sullivan-and-richie-jean-sherrod-jackson-museum/

 

Fannie Lou Hamer

https://www.pbs.org/video/fannie-lou-hamer-stand-up-1ecoc6/

 

Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Carol Denise McNair –

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljyDJOcLgL8

 

View Selma

 

Guiding Questions:

 

  • How are women portrayed in the film in general?
  • How are women and children subjected to violence in Selma?
  • How are women in Selma shown to be contributors to the civil rights movement?
  • Identify female civil rights leaders that you were unaware of prior to watching Selma.
  • How did your view of the civil rights movement change as a result of watching Selma?

 

Scene: Bombing of 16th Street Baptist Church

 

  • Describe the visual approach to this scene?
  • What emotions does this scene evoke?
  • How does this scene influence your understanding of this terrorist act?

 

Scene: Annie Lee Cooper registering to vote

 

  • What do you know about voter suppression?
  • What are past forms of voter suppression?
  • What are current forms of voter suppression?
  • What happens when a woman endures a profound indignity in order to fight for her rights?

 

Scene: Coretta Scott King confronting Malcolm X

 

  • What happens when women cross cultural boundaries through political discourse?
  • What happens when a woman living in a patriarchal system speaks for her spouse?

 

Scene: Coretta Scott King visiting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in prison

 

  • What happens when a woman acts on behalf of her powerful and influential spouse?

 

Scene: Richie Jean Jackson witnessing her son’s murder at the hands of Selma police

 

  • What happens when a mother loses her child during political protest?

 

Scene: Annie Lee Cooper being physically assaulted by Selma police

 

  • What happens when we witness non-violent resistance in the face of extreme violence?
  • What do we learn about a government that will physically assault innocent citizens?

 

Scene: Viola Liuzzo

 

  • Why did the director refrain from showing Liuzzo’s murder?

 

After watching these two visual texts, students will begin independent research. I will share a source bank of YouTube videos and accessible web-based sources. Students will chart common dimensions of each female activist’s personal background, including birthplace, family structure, education, religion, adolescence, higher education, work, marriage and children.

 

Autobiographical Narrative Assignment 

 

You will be randomly assigned a female civil rights activist. Your job is to research this figure in order to compose a fictional autobiographical narrative. You may begin with the sources that I provided, but must locate at least FOUR additional (two written, two video) sources. The purpose of the videos is to help you acquire information, but also to understand how the activist speaks and articulates her message.

As stated earlier, your narrative must be written in the 1st person. You need to incorporate the following dimensions of your person’s life, though you do not necessarily do so in chronological order:

 

  • Birthplace
  • Family
  • Education
  • Religion
  • Adolescence
  • Higher education
  • Professional life
  • Marriage/children

 

Be mindful that you may have to engage in additional research in order to acquire some of this information. After gathering data you will compose either a 1000 word first person narrative, or a two-three minute visual/audiovisual presentation on the woman you research.

 

We Shall Overcome

 

The Partners

 

Coretta Scott King – Activist, spouse to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. https://thekingcenter.org/about-mrs-king/

 

Betty Shabazz – Activist and spouse of Malcolm X. https://www.nps.gov/people/shabazz.htm

 

Myrlie Evers-Williams – Activist and spouse of Medgar Evers. https://www.naacp.org/naacp-history-myrlie-evers-williams/

 

Artists 

 

Billie Holiday – Billie Holiday is credited with creating the first protest song of the civil rights movement. Released in 1939, Strange Fruit is a wrenching account of lynchings that were prevalent throughout the Jim Crow Era.

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2011/feb/16/protest-songs-billie-holiday-strange-fruit

 

Strange Fruit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DGY9HvChXk

 

Nina Simone – Nina Simone is well known for many Civil Rights songs, including Four Women and Mississippi Goddamn. She was close friends with the playwright, Lorraine Hansberry.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/08/11/raised-voice

 

Four Women: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdM5gGHCT5g

 

Abbey Lincoln – Abbey Lincoln was a jazz singer and film actress. She starred in the landmark Civil Rights movie, Nothing But a Man. Additionally she recorded several political albums, with her then-husband, Max Roach, including We Insist! Max Roach’s Freedom Now Suite (1960).

NOTHING BUT A MAN (1964) 2 OF 7

 

Max Roach’s Freedom Now Suite: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Zyw4TWbgtE

 

Mahalia Jackson – Mahalia Jackson was the preeminent gospel singer of the Civil Rights Movement. She sang at the March on Washington and at Selma. She was also a close confidant of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=123498527

 

How I Got Over: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9iQUIwAgus&t=36s

 

Organizers  

 

Ella Baker – Baker was a major contributor to NAACP and SCLC.

Who Was Ella Baker?

Fannie Lou Hamer – Worked for voting rights in Mississippi.

 

Jo Ann Robinson – Organized Montgomery Bus Boycott. Jo Ann Robinson: A Heroine of the Montgomery Bus Boycott

 

Rosa Parks – Refusal to move to the back of the bus inspired Montgomery Bus Boycott. Rosa Parks

 

Dorothy Height – Organizer and counselor to Presidents.

Dorothy Height

 

Septima Poinsette Clark – Developed the Citizenship School curriculum. https://snccdigital.org/people/septima-clark/

 

Virginia Durr – White Civil Rights activist.

https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/encyclopedia/durr-virginia-foster

 

Ruby Nell Sales – Activist

https://www.loc.gov/item/2015669106/

 

Doris Adelaide Derby – Activist

https://www.loc.gov/item/2015669107/

 

Gwendolyn Zohara Simmons – Activist

https://www.loc.gov/item/2015669148/

 

Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray – Activist, lawyer, Episcopal priest.  https://paulimurrayproject.org/pauli-murray/biography/

 

Mamie Till Mobley – Her son was murdered in Mississippi. Her willingness to publicize this murder help sparked the civil rights movement. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/emmett-biography-mamie-till-mobley/

 

Claudette Colvin – Arrested in 1995 after refusing to give up her seat on the bus in Montgomery, Alabama. She was 15-years-old at the time. https://www.bbc.com/news/stories-43171799

 

Maude Ballou – Served as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s personal secretary after King was elected as president of the Montgomery Improvement Association. https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/encyclopedia/ballou-maude-l-williams

 

Judy Richardson – Active in SNCC. Worked as an organizer throughout the South. https://snccdigital.org/people/judy-richardson/

 

Aileen Hernandez – Labor organizer and civil rights activist, co-founder of National Organization for Women (NOW). https://www.aclu.org/blog/womens-rights/womens-rights-workplace/aclu-remembers-aileen-hernandez

 

Kathleen Cleaver – Educator, member of Black Panther Party and spouse of Eldridge Cleaver. https://spartacus-educational.com/USACcleaverK.htm

 

Gloria Richardson – Member of SNCC.

https://snccdigital.org/people/gloria-richardson/

 

Ruby Hurley – https://www.womenshistory.org/education-resources/biographies/ruby-hurley

 

Rubrics:

 

ativeRubric.pdf

 

http://www.hnhsd.org/teachers/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/PowerPoint_Rubric.pdf

 

Phase II: Black Lives Matter

 

In “The Long Civil Rights Movement and the Political Uses of the Past,” Jacquelyn Dowd Hall argues that the master civil rights narrative that begins with the Brown v. Board of Education is often presented as a success story. Hall disputes this conclusion:

 

After a season of moral clarity, the country beset by the Vietnam War, urban riots, and reaction against the excesses of the late 1960s and the 1970s, understood variously as student rebellion, black militancy, feminism, busing, affirmative action, or even an overweening welfare state. A so-called white backlash sets the stage for the conservative interregnum that, for good or ill, depending on one’s ideological persuasion, marks the beginning of another story, the story that surrounds us now.

 

In my experience, this perspective is not always taught in school. The civil rights movement is portrayed as something from the past, certainly worthy of great admiration, but not as part of a continuum that is ever present today. In an effort to connect the past to the present, students will research contemporary figures who are continuing to fight for equality today. Researching current figures after learning about activists from the “classic” era, will help students gain a deeper appreciation for the idea of organization, activism and resistance are an ongoing struggle.

 

Activities

 

Following the study of Selma and the composition of the first-person narratives students will connect the present to the past. Students will have a choice in how they depict the “We Shall Overcome”/“Black Lives Matter” continuum.

 

  1. A contemporary artist composes a song/rap paying tribute to a significant woman from the civil rights era.
  2. A contemporary artist conducts an interview with a significant woman from the civil rights era.
  3. A contemporary artist composes a sequence of poems in honor of a significant woman from the civil rights era.
  4. A contemporary artist composes an original visual tribute to a significant woman from the civil rights era.
  5. A contemporary artist composes a narrative tribute to a significant woman from the civil rights era.

 

This assignment will be assessed in a manner that privileges the possibility of creativity and experimentation. A good-faith effort will receive a minimum 90.

 

Black Lives Matter Source Bank

 

Erykah Badu – Singer, actress.

Mehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVwCNvE8m1k

 

Jill Scott – Singer

My Petitionhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=guC7fNTPzbE

 

Lauryn Hill – Singer, actress.

Black Ragehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKZAYa8W448

 

Audre Lorde – Writer, activist.

There is No Hierarchy of Oppressions https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-CPAlSVaiL8

 

June Jordan – Writer, activist.

Poem About My Rightshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUSTxhYu7-4

 

Sonia Sanchez – Writer, activist.

Middle Passagehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P98JZhWUijY

 

Gwendolyn Brooks – Poet

Gwendolyn Brooks reads her poems aloud https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5hvi-_z9HQ

 

Maya Angelou – Writer, activist.

Still I Rise https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JqOqo50LSZ0

 

Beyonce Knowles – Singer, activist.

Super Bowl Halftime Showhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suIg9kTGBVI

 

Jannelle Monae – Singer

Hell You Talmbout https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SttWb9mDp3Q

 

Rhiannon Giddens – Musician

Cry No Morehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SttWb9mDp3Q

 

“We Shall Overcome” YouTube Source Bank:

 

Septima Poinsette Clark

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMF8bwY6LkE

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yd5kP1fGdDE

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIK0N__g03c

 

Betty Shabazz

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZS8AFTooDE

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cG5feM9Xyik

 

Rosa Parks

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxTWb38NERg

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FE6Yvy–5aw

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqiQqM9nQ0U

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8A9gvb5Fh0

 

Fannie Lou Hamer

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07PwNVCZCcY

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-a3KqhkPQ-s

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nhu_uxRR2og

 

https://www.pbs.org/video/fannie-lou-hamer-stand-up-1ecoc6/

 

Diane Nash

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIffL6KplzQ

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cb0OYbxB7sM

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zBY6gkpbTg

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iAG9kABlWaQ

 

Ella Baker

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68U57yi9F1E

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkZxfhEQT3w

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t96fnyLMihA

 

Dorothy Height

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5lJ2VzaOR8

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYpuCvSsL0E

 

Viola Liuzzo

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7i895e_lco

 

Amelia Boynton

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSv_OokTcms

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vn6uQBDAr_U

 

Annie Lee Cooper

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rKGEHVsC5w

 

Joanne Robinson

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OFf17EQ-Sc

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tf7VmFRsGdo

 

Virginia Durr

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tf7VmFRsGdo

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-npvYKEVBMo

 

Ruby Nell Sales

 

https://www.loc.gov/item/2015669106/

 

Doris Adelaide Derby

 

https://www.loc.gov/item/2015669107/

 

Gwendolyn Zohara Simmons

 

https://www.loc.gov/item/2015669148/

 

Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rxt0tbsWQfU

 

Mamie Till Mobley

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAemBpFM1NI

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4V6ffUUEvaM

 

Claudette Colvin

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pW80tV31eL0

 

Maude Ballou

 

https://www.history.com/news/six-unsung-heroines-of-the-civil-rights-movement

 

Ruby Hurley

 

https://www.womenshistory.org/education-resources/biographies/ruby-hurley

 

Richie Jean Jackson

 

https://sojo.net/tags/richie-jean-jackson

 

https://voicesofalabama.org/sites/sullivan-and-richie-jean-sherrod-jackson-museum/

Pennsylvania ELA Standards

 

1.2 Reading Informational Text 

 

Students read, understand, and respond to informational text—with an emphasis on comprehension, vocabulary acquisition, and making connections among ideas and between texts with focus on textual evidence.

 

CC.1.2.11–12.C Analyze the interaction and development of a complex set of ideas, sequence of events, or specific individuals over the course of the text.

 

CC.1.2.11–12.D Evaluate how an author’s point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.

 

CC.1.2.11–12.E Analyze and evaluate the effectiveness of the structure an author uses in his or her exposition or argument, including whether the structure makes points clear, convincing, and engaging.

 

CC.1.2.11–12.F Evaluate how words and phrases shape meaning and tone in texts.

 

CC.1.2.11–12.G Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a question or solve a problem.

 

1.4 Writing 

 

Students write for different purposes and audiences. Students write clear and focused text to convey a well-defined perspective and appropriate content.

 

CC.1.4.11–12.A Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately.

 

CC.1.4.11–12.B Write with a sharp, distinct focus identifying topic, task, and audience.

 

CC.1.4.11–12.D Organize complex ideas, concepts, and information so that each new element builds on that which precedes it to create a whole; use appropriate and varied transitions and syntax to link the major sections of the text; provide a concluding statement or section that supports the information presented; include formatting when useful to aiding comprehension.

 

CC.1.4.11–12.M Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events.

 

CC.1.4.11–12.N Engage and orient the reader by setting out a problem, situation, or observation and its significance, establishing one or multiple points of view, and introducing a narrator and/or characters.

 

CC.1.4.11–12.O Use narrative techniques such as dialogue, description, reflection, multiple plotlines, and pacing to develop experiences, events, and/or characters; use precise words and phrases, telling details, and sensory language to convey a vivid picture of the experiences, events, settings, and/or characters.

 

CC.1.4.11–12.R Demonstrate a grade-appropriate command of the conventions of standard English grammar, usage, capitalization, punctuation, and spelling.

 

CC.1.2.11–12.A Determine and analyze the relationship between two or more central ideas of a text, including the development and interaction of the central ideas; provide an objective summary of the text.

 

CC.1.2.11–12.B Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly, as well as inferences and conclusions based on and related to an author’s implicit and explicit assumptions and beliefs.

 

CC.1.2.11–12.I Analyze foundational U.S. and world documents of historical, political, and literary significance for their themes, purposes, and rhetorical features.

 

CC.1.2.11–12.J Acquire and use accurately general academic and domain specific words and phrases, sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college- and career-readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.

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