The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow A Century of Segregation
Jim Crow Stories
A National Struggle
Interactive Maps
Tools and Activities
For Teachers

Teen Leadership
Introduction Lesson 1 Lesson 2

Teaching right from wrong was once as basic in America as teaching the three Rs. Over the past thirty years, moral guidance has all but disappeared from the curriculum, with schools adopting a "value-neutral" stance to avoid interfering with students' beliefs. Now that trend is changing. American schools are realizing that values education is essential if we are to help prepare students for a complex world. Recognizing this need, public television Thirteen/WNET New York has developed an annual Teen Leadership Institute.

THE RISE AND FALL OF JIM CROW series and its accompanying Web site provide a perfect stimulus to help high school students think critically about their values and how these values affect such issues as race relations, violence, and diversity. By examining the choices that both individuals and society have made throughout history, students will be better equipped to grapple with contemporary issues involving diversity, bias, conflict resolution, and ethical obligations.

The two following lesson plans are constructed to provide high school students with an introduction to race relations in the United States during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Use of these lesson plans will most certainly spawn additional discussion among students regarding diversity, morality, and ethical decision-making.

Educators (and students) unable to utilize these themselves should feel free to adapt the lesson plans to meet their own curricular needs and research interests. Each lesson plan includes a variety of Web sites and suggestions for activity and discussion.

For more information on the Teen Leadership Institute, click here.

Lesson Plan 1: What a Character!
Throughout the history of the United States, iconic characters and caricatures have symbolized cultural and political movements. Whether spawned by big business or actual individuals and events, many of these characters have resonated across generations and come to represent trends, ideas, stereotypes, and moments in history. In this lesson, students will research the development and creation of some of American culture's most enduring iconic characters.

Lesson Plan 2: Ida B. Wells
The most recognizable figures from the American Civil Rights movement -- and those most well-known to students -- are individuals such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, and Malcolm X. However, the African-American struggle for equality began long before the "modern" Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. In this lesson, students will investigate individuals and events preceding the modern Civil Rights movement.

Young boy reading a book at his school desk
Teenage boy at his school desk
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