This unit was created by educators in Cherokee Heights Middle School, as part of the 2021 cohort of The 1619 Project Education Network. It is designed for facilitation across approximately thirty-five 60-to-90 minute class periods.
Students will be able to...
- Build basic background knowledge about The 1619 Project
- Explain using evidence from the text how the legacy of slavery impacts society today
- Analyze a complex text independently and use background knowledge to write a grade level argumentative response (CER)
- Discuss difficult topics with peers using discussion protocols
1. How does the legacy of slavery still show up today?
2. What would it mean to start our study of American History with the year 1619? Why is that significant?
3. Which stories in history are elevated, and which are ignored or overlooked? Why?
In this unit designed for English Language Immersion (ELI) and Dual Language Immersion (DLI) humanities classes, students explore the five podcast episodes from The 1619 Project and apply annotation skills while closely reading the paired essays. They use this information to answer one of the essential questions both in writing through CER (claim, evidence, reasoning) responses, and as part of Socratic seminar discussions with peers:
Each of the essential questions will be discussed weekly via a Socratic Seminar based on the podcast and essay excerpt. The question that students will focus on each week depends on which of the above essential questions aligns best with the content. For example, when reading and discussing “The Idea of America,” students tie their thinking to essential question number 3.
Students independently answer a Claim Evidence Reasoning question [.pdf] [.docx] about the essay "Mass Incarceration" by Bryan Stevenson that addresses the following standards:
- R.10I can read an excerpt of "Mass Incarceration" independently with accuracy
- W.1 Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence
Question: Based on the essay "Mass Incarceration," how does the legacy of slavery still show up today?
35-day unit plan for teachers, including pacing, texts and multimedia resources, rubrics, and performance tasks for the unit. Download below, or scroll down to read the complete unit plan.
|Resources from The 1619 Project||"The Idea of America" by Nikole Hannah-Jones: The essay at the cornerstone of The 1619 Project, exploring the contributions of Black Americans in moving the United States towards its stated democratic ideals.
"Capitalism" by Matthew Desmond: An essay that traces the brutality of American capitalism to practices created as part of the institution of slavery.
"The Birth of American Music" by Wesley Morris: An essay exploring the origins and influence of Black American musical sound and the ways in which it has been co-opted, scrutinized, and celebrated throughout history.
"A Broken Healthcare System" by Jeneen Interlandi: An essay exploring the origins of healthcare and healthcare systems in the United States and the ways racism was codified into these systems.
"The Wealth Gap" by Trymaine Lee: An essay outlining some of the systemic causes behind the vast wealth gap between Black and white Americans today.
“Mass Incarceration” by Bryan Stevenson: An essay that explains how mass incarceration and excessive punishment is the legacy of slavery.
The 1619 Podcast from the New York Times
|Pulitzer Center Resources||1619 Project Reading Guide
The 1619 Podcast Listening Guide
|Additional Tools for Learning||Global African History Timeline from Blackpast.org
Socratic Seminar Structure from Facing History
Active Listening Protocol from Learning For Justice
Common Core ELA Standards Addressed:
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.7.1: Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.7.2: Determine two or more central ideas in a text and analyze their development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.7.1: Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.7.1: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 7 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.7.10 By the end of the year, read and comprehend literary nonfiction in the grades 6-8
text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.
Students independently answer a Claim Evidence Reasoning question [.pdf] [.docx] about the essay "Mass Incarceration" by Bryan Stevenson that address the following standards:
- R.10 I can read an excerpt of "Mass Incarceration" independently with accuracy
- W.1 Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
Question: Based on this essay "Mass Incarceration," how does the legacy of slavery still show up today?
This shows that even after slavery was abolished, white lawmakers have just made new laws to discriminate against people of color. They basically just took the same laws, revised them a little, and gave them a new name. They weren’t making circumstances any better, they were just pretending to.
Eleanor K. in Cherokee Heights Middle School
Black kids are treated differently just because of their skin...they are kicked out of school for doing the same thing as white students. This shows that the legacy of slavery still shows up today.
William R. in Cherokee Heights Middle School
In the article, we learn about Black Codes, and while they are not something commonly referred to, they definitely stemmed from slavery and greatly influenced our criminal-justice system.
Kaiya M. in Cherokee Heights Middle School