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Units July 12, 2022

From Reconstruction to Mass Incarceration

Lesson Summary: Students explore the methodical progression that the United States took from the period of Reconstruction to the current crisis of mass incarceration. Downloads: Unit resources
SECTIONS


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.

Objectives

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.

Unit Overview

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.

Performance Task

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.

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