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Units August 7, 2023

African Civilization & African Diaspora

Lesson Summary: In this project-based unit, scholars explore early African civilizations, analyze the history of enslavement in America, ultimately researching the impact that abolitionists made in ending enslavement. Downloads: Unit resources

This unit was created by the Impact Public Schools team as part of the 2022 cohort of The 1619 Project Education Network. It is designed for facilitation across approximately ten weeks.


Scholars will...

  • Utilize curricular resources centering The 1619 Project to further analyze the readings and have rich class discussions
  • Describe how learning the history of African civilizations before the Trans-Atlantic slave trade is disrupts stereotypes about Africa. 
  • Research an African kingdom and its influence on American culture by creating a multimedia presentation. 
  • Analyze why the institution of enslavement existed
  • Research and write an informative essay highlighting the strategies and impact of abolitionist leaders

Unit Overview

Scholars will begin this unit by examining the history, culture and achievements of early African civilizations. Scholars will research and create a multimedia presentation on one African civilization highlighting their leaders, art/culture, and achievements.Then, scholars will examine the long, multidimensional history of enslavement. As a culminating task, scholars will research an abolitionist and the impact they made on ending enslavement.

Essential Questions 

  1. Why is it important to learn about the history of early African civilizations?
  2. What is the history of enslavement in America?
  3. Who were the abolitionists and what impact did their work leave on America’s history?

Performance Task

Present on an African Kingdom:

In this project, scholars will examine the history and achievements of one African kingdom. They will create a multimedia presentation highlighting the art/culture, leaders, achievements, connection to the slave trade and influence on American culture. 

Article on Abolitionist Leader:

Scholars will write an informative piece about abolitionist leaders and how their actions impacted the end of enslavement.They will engage in a 6-lesson writing cycle which include the steps of unpacking the prompt, research and planning, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing.  These articles will be compiled into a newspaper for display at a showcase for families and community members.


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