With over 10,000 pages of information BlackPast.org is the single largest free and unrestricted resource on African American and African history on the Internet today. The articles and outlines below are suggestions and guides provided by teachers to help other instructors effectively utilize this vast resource. Click on to any of the major headings, Lessons, Teachers Thinking About Topics, or Fun Stuff, or their subheadings to be taken to pages which describe in detail the outlines and suggestions. All of this information was compiled by classroom teachers. These volunteers may be contacted directly for additional information or suggestions through the signature links at the end of their pages. The Teacher Advisory Board which organized this resource and the staff of BlackPast.org also welcomes your suggestions. Please send those directly to Lee Micklin, the Board Chair.
1. Booker T. Washington vs. W.E.B. Du Bois: Structured Academic Controversy
Lee Micklin, Bothell High School and Skyview Junior High, Bothell, WashingtonThrough the study of speeches, and other primary documents students will identify and understand the differing positions of Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois on the following topics: Black Advancement, Race relations, and Education. Students work in teams engaging in a Structured Academic Controversy, involving both debate and consensus. In a follow-up writing assignment students will express their own position in either a persuasive or synthesis essay.
2. We Wear the Mask
Adam Gish, Garfield High School, Seattle, Washington
Students will listen to Paul Robeson’s “Old Man River”, read “We Wear the Mask” by Paul Laurence Dunbar and study excerpts from W.E.B. Du Bois “Souls of Black Folk, Our Spiritual Strivings, Chapter I”. This essential question is considered: What are our human masks? What do they cover? How and why do we wear them? The lesson culminates in creating a symbolic and artistic mask and communicating about it with others in a gallery walk.
3. Civil Rights Speeches: A Rhetorical Analysis
Joel C. Jacobson, Nathan Hale High School, Seattle, Washington.
Four historic speeches explore the tensions found within the American ideals of individual liberty and universal equality. Each speech argues a position in regards to how these ideals should relate to the application of civil rights within a nation that struggles to come to terms with its radical declaration that all people are created equal and endowed with the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Studying the four speeches–three (Malcolm X’s “Racial Separation”, Lyndon B. Johnson’s “The Voting Rights Act”, and George Wallace’s “Segregation Now, Segregation Forever”) given in the 1960s in the midst of the civil rights movement and one contemporary speech (Barack Obama: Barack Obama’s “Keynote Address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention”)–will allow students to explore how the speakers use rhetorical strategies to present their ideas on a topic that continues to be relevant today.
TEACHERS THINKING ABOUT TOPICS:
In this section various teachers use BlackPast.org to discuss how they grapple with the major historical and contemporary topics. Using “Toni Morrison’s “Playing in the Dark” and other features from BlackPast.org, Doug Edelstein, Nathan Hale High School, Seattle, Washington, discusses in an essay titled, "Teaching Race in Schools in the 21st Century," the implications and challenges all teachers face in providing instruction on race in literature, history, and social studies.
David Kilpatrick-White, Bothell High School and Canyon Park Junior High School, Bothell, Washington, in an essay titled "How to Use Controversial Images to Engage Students in History," considers some of the successful and unsuccessful outcomes that may incur when teachers use photographs and other images to engage students in History. He shares some Do’s and Don’t’s in using images to achieve sensitizing vs. sensationalizing results. Also included are creative ideas for using photographs in the social studies curriculum.
Jeopardy: African American Firsts
This section, developed by Robert Mueller, Skyview Junior High, Bothell, Washington,and Dr. Annjennette McFarlin, Professor Emeritus, Grossman Community College, San Diego, California, is dedicated to using games and other fun activities as education tools. Featured this month is a Jeopardy Board and Activity: African American Firsts in Sports. Use this as a model for those you might devise for your classes. And please share the best of your games with BlackPast.org so they can be used by teachers around the world.
BlackPast.org is an independent non-profit corporation 501(c)(3). It has no affiliation with the University of Washington. BlackPast.org is supported in part by a grant from Humanities Washington, a state-wide non-profit organization supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the state of Washington, and contributions from individuals and foundations.