This unit was created by English Language Arts educators from Joy Village School in Athens, GA, as part of the 2022 cohort of The 1619 Project Education Network. It is designed for facilitation across approximately 2 weeks, or ten class periods.
- Analyze Trymaine Lee’s essay from “The 1619 Project” to understand how wealth-stripping and displacement of Black folks are foundational to the American story.
- Acquire the skills of a historical archivist by collecting data in the form of photography and interviews in pursuit of the essential question: How have Black Athenians experienced belonging and displacement over time? Students will collect data in the following ways:
- Students will take a driving tour of historic Black neighborhoods, taking photography of scenes of belonging and scenes of alienation/displacement.
- Students will conduct interviews of native Black Athenians, mining for information to help them answer their essential question.
- Use the information gathered from the essay, their photos, and their interviews to develop an answer to the essential question that is supported by evidence from these primary and secondary sources.
- Express their answer to the essential question in the form of a five paragraph essay.
- Emerge from this unit with this key understanding: Although Black belonging has been systematically eroded by housing systems steeped in capitalism, hush harbors of belonging have emerged from Black creativity and resilience.
- How have Black Athenians experienced belonging and displacement over time?
One of our core values at the Joy Village School is belonging. This value is driven by a belief that every student should have a school where they feel like they belong. This unit, entitled "Belonging and Memory in Athens, Georgia," will explore Black folks' sense of belonging in Athens, Georgia over time, with our students interviewing native Athenians to discover how the Black community's sense of belonging has been impacted over time by things like desegregation and gentrification. Students will also create photo essays to juxtapose scenes of Black belonging and scenes of Black alienation/displacement in our city, using the photo essays in “The 1619 Project” as a point of reference. Students will read Trymaine Lee's article about modern-day segregation as a jumping-off point to get them thinking about how Black belonging has been systematically eroded by housing systems steeped in capitalism. Lastly, they will write essays that reflect on the interviews they conducted, share their thoughts on how Black folks' sense of belonging has changed over time, or evaluate if they feel like Black people have ever really felt belonging here.
Students will complete a five-paragraph essay explaining their answer to the essential question: How have Black Athenians experienced belonging and displacement over time? Students will cite evidence for their claims drawn from the photo essays they collected and the interviews they conducted.
- Belonging Mind Map
- Comprehension Questions for “The Wealth Gap” by Trymaine Lee
- Interview Questions
- Thesis Writing Practice Brainstorm
- The Essay Hamburger slides and template [.pptx]
- Spark Feedback Practice Sheet for each student [.pdf] [.docx]
Summative Performance Tasks
Two-week unit plan for teachers, including pacing, texts and multimedia resources, and performance task for the unit. Download below and scroll down to browse the unit resources.
|Video/Audio:||“Linnentown Documentary: Urban Renewal, White Supremacy, and the University of Georgia”
Episode of the Joy Village Podcast
|Texts:||“The Wealth Gap” by Trymaine Lee for “The 1619 Project” from The New York Times Magazine
An essay outlining some of the systemic causes behind the vast wealth gap between Black and white Americans today.
Their ancestors were enslaved by law. Today, they are graduates of the nation’s preeminent historically black law school. Photo essay by Djeneba Aduayom
Photo of Iesha Evans from “Black Women at the Forefront in Fight for Racial Equality” by Erinn Whack for NBS News
|Teaching Materials:||Project Overview sheets [.pdf] [.docx]
“The Wealth Gap” by Trymaine Lee comprehension questions [.pdf] [.docx]
Sample Thesis Sentence Sorting Slips [.pdf][.docx]
The Essay Hamburger slides and template [.pptx]
Georgia Standards of Excellence for English and Language Arts
ELAGSE6W7 Conduct short research projects to answer a question, drawing on several sources and refocusing the inquiry when appropriate.
ELAGSE6W8 Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources; assess the credibility of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and providing basic bibliographic information for sources.
ELAGSE6W9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
**The exact same wording is used for the 7th grade standards (ELAGSE7W7, ELAGSE6W8, ELAGSE7W9) and 8th grade standards (ELAGSE8W7, ELAGSE8W8, ELAGSE8W9) in this content area.
This unit was shared with students at Joy Village School in fall 2022. The following resources capture their experience with the unit plan.
The following image capture students' process researching the history of Linnentown, conducting interview, and preparing their photojournalism projects.
The following are examples of essays written by students at the conclusion of the unit to reflect their learning about belonging for Black Americans in Athens, GA.
The following are images taken by Joy Village School students as part of the photojournalism assessment for this unit.