Units May 29, 2024

Resilience, Power and Pride

Lesson Summary: Students explore texts and multimedia sources to evaluate the role of abolitionists from the Middle Passage to current day and identify as future abolitionists through journalism and civic engagement.
Links: Unit resources

This unit was created by the Radical Possibilities Collective as part of the 2023 cohort of The 1619 Project Education Network. It is designed for facilitation across approximately eleven 90-minute sessions.


Today you will get smarter about...

  • The resistance that began in 1619 from the enslaved against the colonizer
  • The Little George Ship Revolt and Bisa Butler, an artist-activist
  • Slave revolts led by women
  • The role the abolitionist movement played in resistance and revolts
  • How music has historically been used as a tool for black joy, activism and resistance 
  • The history of the Crosswhite Affair, the Underground railroad, and how art has been used as a form of expression and activism by Faith Ringgold
  • The role the abolitionist movement played in resistance and revolts, by learning about Anthony Burns and the Boston Slave Riot as well as the history of black hairstyles
  • The origins and impact of the Black Panther Party
  • The movement to abolish prisons
  • The origins and impact of the Black Lives Matter movement

Unit Overview

Using Dr. Alfred Tatum’s Framework to teach literacy, we explore the complex 400+ year history of resistance and resilience through the eyes of the enslaved as well as the Abolitionists who worked beside them. Through a broad range of literature and media, students will understand how this history connects to their current-day culture, activism, and the systemic issues facing American citizens. They will further see themselves as the next Abolitionists in this ongoing struggle for freedom.

This unit is centered on building literacy skills as well as high-interest content. Through a combination of Dr. Alfred Tatum’s Framework, GLAD strategies and a culminating student-led research project. To learn more about this methodology and how it is employed in this unit, refer to the Teacher Facilitation Guide [.pdf][.docx].

Teachers should read The 1619 Project created by Nikole Hannah-Jones, The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story, Born on the Water by Nikole Hannah-Jones and Renée Watson, Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi, and "Understanding the Historical Perspective" by Erica Murdock to build a solid foundational knowledge on which these lessons have been crafted and materials have been created.

Before engaging in the unit, the teacher must ensure that students:

  • Feel safe intellectually, and emotionally while engaging in collaborative discussion
  • Have a basic understanding of slavery and the colonies and the United States
  • Have been introduced to main idea, key details, theme, and facets of non-fiction text 

In this unit each era begins with anchor texts that are read before engaging with the slide deck and reviewed throughout by using GLAD strategies, and narrative charts. 

Colonial Era (1619-1750)

Anchor Text: “The White Lion,” Born on the Water by Nikole Hannah-Jones and Renée Watson

Civil Era (1800-1865)

Anchor Text: January’s Sparrow by Patricia Polacco

Modern Era (1966-2023) 

Anchor Text: Stamped for Kids by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi

In addition, each era will begin with an anchor map that can anchor students to the time period being taught and what the country (America / United States) looked like at that time in terms of colonies, states, etc. Each era will also contribute to an interactive timeline that captures important events, movements and legislation during each era. Students will continue to leverage new learning to extend the timeline.

Performance Task:

Research Project Student Packet (Guidelines)[.pdf]

After all lessons is implemented, students will apply their knowledge about U.S. History to conduct their own research project capturing underrepresented histories with their community. They will present what they learned about resistance and resilience through their own research and explain how their project connects to learning from the unit.

Each student will conduct a research project based on a list of key figures, events or movements from the unit (or from topics touched on in the unit). Students must:

  1. Choose at least 2 sources to create their project including articles, anchor texts (from the unit), web pages, student journal entries, etc.
  2. Students will use these sources to create three subtopics on their chosen subject and create or find two graphics about their topic.
  3. Students will then choose the method they want to present their project with such as Google Slides, essay, or video.

Assessment / Evaluation:

Formative: At the end of each Lesson (slide deck) students will write one full page about what they learned in an ongoing learning journal. Journal response rubric for formative assessments [.pdf]

Summative: Rubrics (Student & Teacher) and Student Project Checklist [.pdf]


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