Units March 18, 2022

Cost of Inequality


Lesson Summary: Students examine the history of economic policies driven by racism that continue to promote socio-political inequality in contemporary America through a range of media, analytical writing, and civil discourse. Downloads: Unit resources Links: 1619 podcast and transcripts

This unit was created by educators in Michigan, as part of the 2021 cohort of The 1619 Project Education Network. It is designed for facilitation across approximately eight days, or eight class periods.

Objectives and Outcomes

Students will be able to...

  • Describe and analyze policies and laws that affected financial growth of black families and generational wealth Objective 
  • Analyze how inequitable and racists practices lead to lasting outcomes 
  • Create an argumentative essay and participate in a civic discussion

Essential Questions

  • What is the cost of inequality?

Unit Overview

This unit explores the financial impact of policies such as Jim Crow legislation, redlining, and our health care system on communities of color. By connecting past policies to current practices, students will evaluate how inequality carries financial and health consequences that affect a range of communities, including their own.

Performance Task

This unit has two main performance tasks:
First, students explore/ discover a range of unique media Including the 1619 Podcast, which deepens students’ understanding of the historical context of contemporary policies and helps them connect how policies driven by racism affect us on a personal level. At the end of the unit, students craft an analytical composition and engage in a civil discussion in response to the essential question: what is the cost of inequality? Students will recognize that laws have long-lasting and unexpected consequences.


Please help us understand your needs better by filling out this brief survey!

Will you use this lesson plan in a class you teach?
By sharing your email address, you are opting in to receive updates from the Pulitzer Center Education team.