This unit was created by educators in Chicago, IL, as part of the 2021 cohort of The 1619 Project Education Network. It is designed for facilitation across approximately four weeks.
Students will be able to…
Week 1: Introduction to Research Project (Whole Class)
- Define the central idea of “The Idea of America” and articulate the purpose of the unit
- Review and complete The 1619 Project intro lessons on four topics:
- Generate student interest in key areas of Chicago life and culture (Healthcare, Labor, Music & Infrastructure). Students will then choose ONE topic from the four to conduct further research on.
Week 2: Research Week
- Students review curated research in small groups and create timelines and engage in historical thinking about their research.
- Students write a thesis statement that answers the final essay prompt: How has the legacy of slavery impacted one of the chosen topics (Healthcare, Labor, Music & Infrastructure) for Chicago & Chicagoans?
Week 3: Writing & Presentation Week
- Students will synthesize their learning over the past two weeks and draft an essay. Students will explore each of the four focus topics in a socratic seminar, using their expertise on their chosen subject to lead class discussions.
Using The 1619 Project as a model, students will explore the legacy of slavery in Chicago. First, students will explore four topics: Healthcare, Labor, Music, and Infrastructure, and answer guiding questions designed to help students understand the claims authors of the The 1619 Project are making about the impact of slavery in the US. Then, students will analyze a series of primary and secondary sources related to those topics in the context of the city they live in: Chicago. Finally students will write a paper and participate in a socratic seminar that examines how the legacy of slavery impacts Chicago today. By the end of the unit, students will be able to describe, in speaking and writing, the ways in which slavery has impacted four key areas of Chicago life and culture.
Students will write an essay (approximately 400-500 words), explaining how the legacy of slavery can be seen in Chicago. Students will focus their research on the following areas of inquiry with a focus on the Chicago community: labor/employment, infrastructure, healthcare, and music.
Four-week unit plan for teachers, including pacing, texts and multimedia resources. Download below, or scroll down to review key resources included in the unit plan.
|Resources from The 1619 Project||“The Idea of America” by Nikole Hannah-Jones (excerpt and full article): The cornerstone essay of The 1619 Project, exploring the contributions of Black Americans in moving America towards its stated democratic ideals.
“A Broken Health Care System” by Jeneen Interlandi: An essay describes the large discrepancies in health outcomes for Black and Latinx Americans in contemporary society, and traces them to racist health policies begun during Reconstruction.
“Medical Inequality” by Linda Villarosa: An essay about the legacy of slavery in the U.S. health care system and the various ways in which it manifests in our contemporary health care institutions and practices.
“American Popular Music” by Wesley Morris: An essay about the influence of Black people on American music culture.
“Sugar” by Khalil Gibran Muhammad: This essay explains that the global demand and cultivation of sugar was central to the establishment and continuation of the international slave trade.
|Other resources||The 1619 Project of The New York Times Magazine, Media Storm
“Exploring the ‘Idea of America’ by Nikole Hannah-Jones,” Pulitzer Center Education
Doowop: The Chicago Scene (Music in American Life) by Robert Pruter
Chicago Blues: The City & the Music by Mike Rowe
|Videos||“Analyze and Discuss: The 1619 Project Video Introduction,” Pulitzer Center Education
“How FDR's New Deal Put America Back to Work During the Great Depression,” GPB Education
“A Short History: Black Music in America”
“(Night Time Is) The Right Time,” Ray Charles
Common Core State Standards
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.1: Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.2: Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.8.3: Identify key steps in a text’s description of a process related to history/social studies (e.g., how a bill becomes law, how interest rates are raised or lowered).
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.8.1: Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.8.7: Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration.