Teaching Activities 2014

Teaching the Freedom Struggle
A collection of classroom resources created by the spring 2014 class of “All Power to the People!”

The following “teaching modules” are designed to promote specific learning outcomes while using topics related to 20th century movements for racial justice. Each is geared toward a high school classroom and comes complete with sources and suggested activities.


My Black is Beautiful: The Politics of Reclaiming and Celebrating Black Beauty in the long 60’s (by Emily Carpenter)
This project will focus on the creation of a particular black aesthetic especially as articulated and put forth by the Black Panther Party. The examination of Kathleen Cleaver’s words, rank-and-file Black Panthers, and an article of the Black revolutionary woman will help students to critically evaluate the intersections of aesthetics, politics, and gender.

The Los Angeles Riots (by Heewon Jeon)
The purpose of the lesson is to help students understand the racial tensions that led to the Los Angeles Riots in 1992. Students will analyze the dynamics between the different races and the outcome of the series of events.

The Rise of Symbols and Icons in the United Farm Workers Movement (by Alonso Iniguez)
The goal of this lesson plan is to introduce 12th grade students to the use of symbols and icons in social and political movements. They will analyze El Plan Delano, the manifesto of the United Farm Workers movement, and analyze the role of these symbols within the movement itself.

Creating the UFW: Farmworker’s Fight to Unionize (by Bryn Launer)
This lesson focuses on the struggle of the Mexican farmworkers to form a union and successfully sign with major growers. Using two primary documents, students will undergo activities in which they compare and contrast the resources, tactics, and challenges that the workers as well as the growers were presented with. This set of learning activities will allow students to engage in discussion with their peers, present main points of their discussion to the class, and compose a short paper designed to situate primary documents within a historical context.

The Many Faces of the Red Power Movement: IAT and AIM (by Hannah Walhout)
This lesson will provide students with a background on the history of the Red Power movement, both in the narrative of American Indian history and in relation to other contemporaneous social justice movements. The document analysis activity will also allow students to examine two iterations of Red Power activism, facilitating an understanding of different interpretations within the movement as a whole and drawing connections between historical context and rhetoric.

The Movement Toward School Desegregation for Mexican-American Communities (by Enrique Romero)
Students will comprehend the significance of the Mendez v. Westminster case in regards to its role in desegregating schools for Mexican and Mexican-Americans.  By understanding the case, each student will not only learn about a long-forgotten case but they will also recognize the efforts made prior to the Brown v. Board of Education verdict to obtain equal educational opportunities.

Black Women Revolutionaries and the Black Liberation Movement (by Phoebe Rosenheim)
Through analyzing a primary source by Assata Shakur, Black woman revolutionary, and secondary sources about the constructions of Black masculinity, students will interrogate dominant narratives about the Black Power movement and reflect on the importance of Black Feminism within the movement.

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Nonviolent Direct Action (by Timmy Novom)
Students will analyze Martin Luther King, Jr.’s nonviolent direct action by reading his historical document, Letter from Birmingham Jail. Students will focus on the temporal and philosophical aspects of MLK’s use of nonviolent direct action in the context of the civil rights movement.

The New Mexican Land Grant Struggle and the Birth of Chicano Identity and Nationalism (by Madelyn Perez)
In this lesson, students will learn of the role the New Mexican Land Grant Movement within the overarching Chicano Movement. Students will gain an understanding about the underlying principles of the Land Grant Movement which promoted activism beyond the Chicano Movement. Specifically, students will come to understand how the Land Grant Movement fostered and influenced the burgeoning sense of Chicano identity and nationalism.

How Asian American Groups Joined the 1968 SF State Student Strike (by Dillon Dong)
This lesson is designed to guide 11th/12th grade US history students to an understanding of what motivated Asian American students at San Francisco State University to join in the longest student strike for affirmative action and Ethnic Studies in US history.  Students will learn about the systematic racism faced by Asian American communities at the time, about the strikers’ demands for Ethnic Studies and affirmative action to help address that racism, and about the role of community in motivating students to fight for change.

UFW’s Campaign Against the Use of Pesticides in the Fields (by Johnny Wang)
The purpose of this lesson is introduce the students to a rather unique facet of the Chicano-Latino movement. Specifically, the students will learn about UFW’s journey though fighting against pesticides.

His Life is a Sundance: Analyzing the Case of Leonard Peltier (by Paola Reyes)
Leonard Peltier is a Native American, member of the Indian American Movement, who is serving two consecutive life sentences after his 1977 conviction for the murder of two FBI agents on the Pine Ridge Reservation in 1975.  Looking at  Peltier’s Sentencing Statement at the end of his 1977 trial, students will learn about the controversy surrounding this case, the struggle of Native Americans in the past and the struggle of Native Americans now.

Black Nationalism, Malcolm X and International Revolution: The Contextualization of Black Nationalism in the African Freedom Struggle (by Mike McGuinness)
This lesson hopes to broaden students’ understanding of the ideological development of Black Nationalists, particularly Malcolm X, in the 1960s, with specific focus on the developing internationalism of the Black Nationalist Movements in the period of African anti-colonial struggle. Focusing on Malcolm X’s “Speech at the Audubon” from December of 1964, this lesson hopes to show how international radicalism and Malcolm X’s own personal experiences abroad with these movements shaped the ideological progression of Black Nationalists towards militancy, as well as how these ideological connections influenced the political and ideological basis of the Black Power Movements of the late 1960s.

Black Power, White Privilege: Explaining the Black-Jewish Schism (by Jeffrey Zalesin)
This ambitious module asks students to develop sophisticated historical and theoretical knowledge about race, then apply this knowledge to explain the rift between the Black and Jewish communities in the U.S. Some questions about this historical phenomenon will have to be left open, but students who complete this module should understand the connection between the Black-Jewish rift and the Black Power Movement’s rejection of integration with whites.

“Propaganda Theatre”: Luis Valdez’s Actos and the 1965 Farm Worker Strike (by Alison Mercer-Smith)
High school students will examine two of Luis Valdez’s actos, written for the farm worker strike in Delano in 1965, in order to determine how these performances may have functioned as a motivational tool for workers and what they revealed about the ideology of the movement.

Changes to Educational Curriculum: A Subset of the Chicano Movement (by Diana Partida)
This lesson will help students understand a subset of the Chicano movement that led to high school student walk-outs. Specifically, this lesson will focus on exploring the roots of the Chicano student demand for changes in educational curriculum during the late 1960s.