This unit was created by African American History Educators in Philadelphia, PA Schools, as part of the 2021 cohort of The 1619 Project Education Network. It is designed for facilitation across approximately 4-5 weeks, or 19 class periods.
Students will be able to…
- Deconstruct & evaluate primary and secondary source documents in order to have a clear understanding of media.
- Delineate and evaluate an argument in order to be able to participate in civil discourse.
- Compare the point of view of two or more authors and evaluate how they treat the same, or similar, topics in order to create their own opinions.
- Make connections between the history of enslavement in the U.S. and mass incarceration in order to understand the historical context for the current state of mass incarceration.
In this unit, students will explore the methodical progression that the United States took from the period of Reconstruction to the current crisis of mass incarceration. Students will look at the difficulties of reuniting the country after war, the brief success of Black Americans in the South during Reconstruction, the rise of Jim Crow laws in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and reporting on mass incarceration. Finally, students will engage in hexagonal thinking discussions and compose analytical essays that reflect on how the events explored in the unit, as well as loopholes in the 13th amendment, have led to the current state of mass incarceration in the United States.
Students engage in a hexagonal thinking discussion inspired by The Cult of Pedagogy with Betsy Potash and Alex Tramble. Students will have 16 hexagons with words from the unit. Working in small groups, they will connect the hexagons. Once they have created their web, they will explain the connections they made, and why they made them, through writing. Students’ writing assignments explaining their hexagonal thinking will then be displayed.
19-day unit plan for teachers, including pacing, texts and multimedia resources, guiding questions for group discussions, and performance tasks for the unit. Download below, or scroll down to read the complete unit plan.
|Resources from The 1619 Project||“Mass Incarceration” by Bryan Stevenson: An essay that explains how mass incarceration and excessive punishment is the legacy of slavery.|
|Other texts||Chapter 15: Reconstruction from The American Yawp, collaborative textbook published by the Stanford University Press
Biography of Ida B. Wells from Living Our Stories, Telling Our Truths: Autobiography and the Making of African American Intellectual Tradition by V.P. Franklin. [.pdf] [.docx]
What was Jim Crow? by Dr. David Pilgrim, professor of Sociology at Ferris State University
|Videos||Ida B. Wells: Crash Course Black American History from Crash Course
The 13th Documentary from Ava Duvernay
Strange Fruit” performed by Billie Holiday
Common Core Standards
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.9-10.2: Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.9-10.8: Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is valid and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; identify false statements and fallacious reasoning.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.3: Analyze in detail a series of events described in a text; determine whether earlier events caused later ones or simply preceded them.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.4: Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary describing political, social, or economic aspects of history/social science.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.6: Compare the point of view of two or more authors for how they treat the same or similar topics, including which details they include and emphasize in their respective accounts.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.8.4: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
On day 18, students create visual poems to capture their reflections on "Mass Incarceration" by Bryan Stevenson from The 1619 Project and sections of The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander (Image attached)
For their final performance tasks, students create a visual diagram of terms from the unit to use as the foundation for a discussion about the unit's essential question, "What is the connection between enslavement, the Jim Crow era laws and policies, and incarceration?" Below are images from the diagrams created by students in Philadelphia, PA, and quotes from their reflections on the diagrams.