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Protecting our Posterity from the Prejudices of our Past

Lesson Author
Required Time Frame
3-10 days
Grade Level(s)
Lesson Abstract
Students will determine what facts, fictions, emotions, and/or events were involved between individuals and groups as they examine past prejudices in the cities of Pierce City, Missouri; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Little Rock, Arkansas; Wichita, Kansas.
  • Students will do a short, self-evaluation over their own prejudices (many will say they are not or have few prejudices)
  • Students will, in small groups, determine literary terms (cooperative learning with our Language Arts Instructor) through reading primary documents (utilizing Common Core Standards)
  • Students will participate in a Multi-Media analysis (could cooperate with the Technology Instructor, if your students have that class)
  • Students will form another small group and through their own group investigation and synthesis of prior and presently learned information, will create a power point, Prezi, or webpage presentation utilizing secondary and primary sources. Each group will distinguish between fact and fiction for their own specific subject area, identify consequences when government intervention works and doesn’t work and share their own critics, and will formulate their own resolution to their assigned conflict. Then, the presenting students will lead a class discussion, answering questions, revealing their knowledge of their research and subject.
Rationale (why are you doing this?)
  • Students will determine what facts, fictions, emotions, and/or events were involved between individuals and groups as they examine past prejudices in the cities of Pierce City, Missouri; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Little Rock, Arkansas; Wichita, Kansas.
  • Students will develop a deeper comprehension, through analysis and synthesis of the following: how laws, and their effects upon individuals and groups, have caused chaotic change through the times
Lesson Objectives - the student will
  • Determine their own preconceived prejudices, through a self-evaluation, and analyze why they possess these and what they could do differently
  • Distinguish between specific literary terms and identify their usage within primary documents
  • Develop an appreciation of different music styles
District, state, or national performance and knowledge standards/goals/skills met

Missouri State Standards GLE’S for 8th GRADE:

  • Principles of the Republic 1.  Knowledge of the principles expressed in documents shaping republic in the United States     A. Principles of republic in the United States; SS1 1.10, apply important principles of the Bill of Rights; SS1 1.6, 4.2, apply knowledge of responsibility of governments and citizens
  • 6.  Knowledge of relationships of the individual and groups to institutions and cultural traditions
  • Tools of Social Science Inquiry 7.  Knowledge of the use of tools of social science inquiry                               A.  Identify, select, use, analyze and create appropriate resources, primary and secondary, for social science inquiry; SS7 1.2, 1.4, 2.1, select, investigate, and present a topic using primary and secondary resources, such as oral interviews, artifacts, journals, documents, photos, and letters



  • Goal 1. 2. Conduct research to answer questions and evaluate information and ideas
  • Goal 1. 4. Use technological tools and other resources to locate, select and organize information
  • Goal 2. 1. Plan and make written, oral and visual presentations for a variety of purposes and audiences
  • Goal 4. 3. Analyze the duties and responsibilities of individuals in societies




Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate    summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.


Identify aspects of a text that reveal an author's point of view or purpose (e.g., loaded language, inclusion or avoidance of particular facts).


      Distinguish among fact, opinion, and reasoned judgment in a text.


      Analyze the relationship between a primary and secondary source on the same topic.

Secondary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed
Primary sources needed (document, photograph, artifact, diary or letter, audio or visual recording, etc.) needed
Fully describe the activity or assignment in detail. What will both the teacher and the students do?
  • Vocabulary words to aid in an collaboration with the English/Language Arts Instructors could include the following:  discrimination, integration, abolition, minority, civil rights, banished, “Jim Crow Laws,” Fourteenth Amendment.
  • Day One Opening Activity or HOOK: Hand to students a slip of paper with the following five questions on it and an envelope.  The paper will have the following on it – Students, please read the following questions and circle T for True of F for False.  Then place in the provided envelope, seal it, and write your name on the outside of the envelope. Finally, place in the provided basket in the back of the room – this is NOT a test, please answer truthfully.  We will be using this paper later.

a. T or F Some people just ARE inferior to others

b. T or F Segregation was a good thing for most people

c.  T or F Would you ever use a person’s race as a reason to insult them verbally or through gestures?

d.  T or F Do you believe casual contact between groups of people reduce prejudice?

e.  T or F You know you hold the same or very similar prejudices as your parents and/or peers most of the time 



  • Hand out notecards to students and explain they will be listening to an audio song from the TRUMAN LIBRARY website called, “My chocolate Sammy” or sometimes called “Little Brown Sammy.”  Interject that they will be writing down 2-4 word phrases they hear which refer to the title of the song. AFTER listening, ask students to share, identify, compare and contrast what they heard to each other’s’ written words.  After approximately five minutes of class discussion, guide them to compare to prejudices today in their own lives (if they have not already guided themselves to personalizing the discussion) (should take 5-10 minutes).
  • NEXT, show the clip from the movie, “Remember the Titans,”  when the students are loading the bus to head to training and then later, unloading the bus returning from training, Ask students to examine and explain their own inferences over the white parents’ vs. the African-American parents’ responses (should take about 10-15 minutes). 
  • DAY ONE HOMEWORK: ask students to bring a list of 3-5 African-Americans who have influenced their own life (such as scientists, inventors, athletes, actors musicians, etc.).  Challenge them to bring in names which are not that recognizable (instead of Michael Jordan use John Taylor, etc.  Remind students they will need to explain why they picked the names they did). 



  • Day Two Opening Activity or HOOK AND learning activity:  Have a Scott Joplin Jazz music playing on video projector (from provided youtube link above) as students come in and then move into R&B Music by Aretha Franklin (Say a little prayer for you), and then (if you have time) play a more modern song/video such as the rap music link provided by Black Jewelz. Give students a notecard to write down words or phrases of emotions then discuss including an analysis of prior biases, point of views, or values we often have because of visualization vs. merely listening. This activity could take as little as 5 minutes or as much as 15 or more minutes depending upon your students’ involvement/discussion. The purpose is to open your students’ eyes to discrimination around them today and which they may possess in pre-conceived ideals because of their own diverse backgrounds.






  • Now, ask students to share their homework assignment (I would have them hold the cards up, to reveal if they did do it, for a daily grade) names and explanations, again, merely guiding the discussion as (hopefully) several new names are share (such as John Taylor). Conclude after about five minutes remind students the passions, emotions, inferences, values they are experiencing will be important as they create their comprehensive revelation (should take 5-10 minutes).



  • Instruct students to draw onto a piece of paper a clock with the 3, 6, 9, and 12 hour spots with a line next to each to write a name onto it. Next, continue to explain to them how to fill-in the lines. Discussing with other students, you will write the name of the person you would like to work with onto the 3 hour line (and they will write your name down). Once everyone has their first clock group written down, instruct them to fill in their 6 hour spot, and then when everyone has that line filled in, move onto the 9 and then the 12 hour spot. Finally, explain that these pairings will be utilized as we continue working on our learning activities (this should only take about 5 minutes).

DAY TWO HOMEWORK: hand out copies of the background information of Martin Luther King, Jr. and ask students to read this and be ready to discuss and use it in a learning activity the following day (from the website, www.edur