Teaching the Freedom Struggle
A collection of classroom resources created by the spring 2015 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.
African American Athletes in the Civil Rights Movement: Looking at the 1968 Olympics Through the Lens of Black Power (by Errol Francis II)
The purpose of this lesson plan is to aid students in viewing the 1968 Olympics through a social lens to: (1) understand the racial implications surrounding many of the black athletes involved within the competition, (2) identify why many athletes were extremely willing to participate in the boycott while others were not, and (3) evaluate how actions leading up to and those eventually taken during the Games contributed to the Black Power Movement within the United States.
The Brown Berets: Involvement in the Civil Rights Movement and the Impact on Education (by Sichen Hernandez-Martinez)
The purpose of this lesson is to help students understand the involvement of the Brown Berets during the Chicano Movement of the 1970s. At the end of the lesson, students will be able to understand the objectives and goals of the Brown Berets.
The Black Panther Party: A History We Can Learn From (by Edgar Morelos)
Through an in-depth analysis of primary and secondary sources about the Black Panther Party (BPP) and the FBI’s Counterintelligence Program (COINTELPRO), students will be able to engage in an exercise that will allow them to use their critical thinking skills to challenge dominant narratives about the BPP and the American democratic system.
Sterilization Abuse on Women of Color (by Anabel Gómez)
The purpose of the activity is to give students ample information to understand the racial and socioeconomic circumstances surrounding sterilization abuse inflicted on poor women of color from the 1960s to late 1970s.
“Good Mothers with Guns:” The Black Panther’s Evolution on Women in the Party (by Lauren Bollinger)
Through the analysis of a primary source by Black Panther member Candi Robinson and secondary sources about the gender dynamics and influences of black feminism/womanism within the Party, students will question popular conceptions of the organization and reflect of the dynamic nature of the Party.
Black Manhood and Women Revolutionaries: Gender Dynamics in the Black Panther Party (by Liam Toney)
This lesson will help students understand the importance of a news organ such as The Black Panther (TBP) in framing women as revolutionary figures. Students will thoroughly dissect a short primary source from TBP, and critically evaluate how language and structure is used to frame women’s experiences in the Black Panther Party (BPP).
Organizing Rage: Understanding the Black Panther Party Movement and Ideology (by Sergio Rodriguez)
This project will focus on Eldridge Cleaver’s 1969 Credo for Rioters and Looters and its reflection or contribution to Black Panther Party ideology. By analyzing Eldridge Cleaver’s words, beliefs, and sentiments, this will help students understand the political and historical context of the late 1960s, define Black Panther Party ideology, and reflect on continuities in today’s history.
“To the Great White Father and his People” – The Native American Occupation of Alcatraz Island (by Nicole Hourie)
This lesson focuses on the Native American Occupation of Alcatraz Island. Students will be asked to analyze a primary source from the occupation. Here they should explore the Native American issues identified by the Indians of All Tribes (IAT) and how they are tied back to broader underlying problems. They will also investigate what the IAT was able to achieve through an occupation strategy.
“Poverty of the Spirit”: Education and Self-Determination in American Indian Communities
In this lesson, high school students will engage with secondary sources as well as Clyde Warrior’s speech, “We Are Not Free,” to consider the meanings of and connections between education, poverty and freedom within American Indian communities. By focusing on the history of American Indian education and guiding students through an analysis of related primary and secondary sources, this lesson will enable students to develop an understanding of the call for tribal self-determination by American Indian activists during the early years of the Red Power Movement.
The 1968 East Los Angeles High School Student Walkouts (by Ariana Tribby)
The 1968 East Los Angeles high school walkouts constituted the first time Chicano/Latino students protested the inadequate system of education. By critically analyzing primary and secondary sources, students will identify the context that framed the protests as well as the immediate impact the walkouts had on both the inadequate system of education and how Chicano students were viewed.
The American Indian Chicago Conference: A Movement Within a Movement (by Jesal Pothi)
The purpose of the lesson is to help students understand the universal reforms that Native Americans wanted in the mid 20th century as demonstrated through the proceedings in the American Indian Chicago Conference (AICC) and how these reforms contributed to the American Indian Movement. Students will analyze the proceedings of the conference and then evaluate it for its historical significance.
A Look at America’s Continual Racism: The Case of Emmett Till (by Pamela Chiemela Diala)
The purpose of this lesson is to help students understand the racial tension of the 1950s civil right era that led to the death of 14-year old Emmett Till. The examination of the National Administrative Committee’s memo on behalf of Communist Party USA, along with a song about the death of Emmett Till will guide students in critically evaluating the role of racism in the Deep South, the power of a social movement and where America stands today in regards to justice and equality.
The Brown Struggle: Brown Berets (by Maria Arciniega)
The goal of this lesson is to introduce students to the Brown Berets pro-Chicano organization and their involvement in the Chicano movement. More specifically, this lesson will focus on the objective, incentive, and evolution of the Brown Beret organization during the 1960s.
The Extended Movimiento de las Hijas de Cuauhtémoc: Chicana Feminists’ Struggle to be Heard (by Jacqueline Fernandez)
Students will analyze the growth of the Chicana feminist identity, Chicanas’ experiences in the broad Chicana/o movement as women, and the importance of Chicana feminism in the 1960s and the 1970s by reading Chicana feminists’ works, such as Anna Nieto-Gomez. Students will gain a greater awareness of Chicanas’ involvement and experiences as minority women in the race and feminist movements.
Vincent Who? Pan-Asian Solidarity after the Murder of Vincent Chin (by Sophia Yeji Han)
This set of learning activities will concentrate on the murder of Vincent Chin and its effect on the Asian American movement, especially in spurring pan-Asian solidarity. Using primary source documents, students will analyze different interpretations on the significance of the Chin case from perspectives of both the Asian American and white communities, and be introduced to anti-Asian violence in the United States during this time period.
Taking Control of Their Education: Students and The Third World Liberation Front Strikes (by Griffin Saxon)
This exercise will help students not only examine primary sources, but analyze them in conjunction with secondary sources in order to understand differing points of view around a historical event, and additionally see how secondary sources can give primary sources context that is not given just by looking at the source.
Identity and The Environmental Justice Movement (by David Rosas)
The goal of this lesson is for students to come to know the issues and events that helped to create the Environmental Justice Movement, and for students to explore how the movement helped to shape a shared, common identity as people of color to address the issues of environmental injustice and racism.
The New Student Voice (by Matthew Roberts)
Create a newsletter with the whole class covering a current issue or social justice movement.
Ruben Salazar: The Mexican American Middle Man (By: Charmaine Garzon)
This lesson will seek to narrate Ruben Salazar’s career trajectory as well as provide greater insight into his historical context. A documentary will be watched to provide the class with a broader background of Salazar’s life. A primary source focused on the August 29 protest (the date of Salazar’s death) will be analyzed to explore the period of Salazar’s writing that consisted of great conflict and hostility among diverse racial groups. The goal of these modules is for students to improve their analytical skills by collaboratively and independently working through various sources, formulating questions about the sources, and integrating the sources together to better frame a historical narration of the essential questions provided.
Young Lords Party: Rethinking Agency and Self-Determination (Zachariah Oquenda)
The purpose of this lesson is to help understand the complexity of group identity by analyzing the influences on and conflicts within the Young Lords Party in 1960s and 1970s. Students will evaluate historical tensions in culturally constructed racial and gender hierarchies. Students will determine how and to what extent those hierarchies both challenged and enabled the Young Lords Party’s development.
Taking Back the Rock: Indians of All Tribes’ Fight for Self-Determination (by Chelsea Fusco)
This lesson is designed to examine the Occupation of Alcatraz and its role in Indian self-determination. This lesson will ask students to explore the history, motivation and goals of the occupation as well as its outcomes. Students will engage with primary sources to gain a deeper understanding of Native American history, specifically their various negotiations with the federal government over property rights.
The Switch from a Non-Violent Direct Action Movement to a more Militant One (By Maria Martinez)
This lesson plan aims to broaden the understanding of the Black Power Movement, particularly the some of its leaders with specific focus on the developing internationalism of the Black Nationalist Movements in the period of African anti-colonial struggle. By focusing on Stokely Carmichael’s famous Black Power speech at UC Berkeley that occurred April 1966, this lesson plans aims to demonstrate how this movement shaped the switch between nonviolence towards a more militant approach.
The Fight for Equality in Education for Chicanas(os) in the United States
In this lesson, 11-12 graders will have a better understanding of history and the fight for educational equality in Los Angeles, specifically among Chicanas(os) during the 1960s. This history lesson will provide students with a unique opportunity to learn about a narrative from a community of color and their struggle for educational justice. In order to help students sharpen their comprehension, analytical, and evaluation skills, students will engage with both primary and secondary sources and have a meaningful discussion, reflection, debate, and creative project that will stress the importance of the Chicana(o) student walkouts (blowouts) of 1968.
The American Indian Movement and the Trail of Broken Treaties (by Mariah Farris)
This project is designed to teach 11th or 12th grade students about the significance of the Trail of Broken Treaties event. More specifically, it focuses on the demands enumerated in the Twenty-point proposition the Caravan intended to deliver to the federal government.
Black Feminism and Other Forms of Activism in the 1960’s and 1970’s (by Sarenna Cech)
This lesson will provide students the opportunity to learn about Black feminists in the 1960’s and 1970’s, specifically as their ideology relates to mainstream white feminism and Black Power activism. The statements posed in the activity strike at the heart of these relationships and encourage the students to form individual opinions on these highly debatable questions.
One Bronze People: El Plan Espiritual de Aztlán, Mexican Americans, and Mexican Immigrants (by Efrain M. Zuniga)
The purpose of this lesson plan is to help students understand how the Chicano movement impacted Mexican American-immigrant relations and the importance of identity. To do so, students must also comprehend the dynamic and complex relationship between Mexican Americans and Mexican immigrants, through a set of activities, a lecture, analyzing a primary source, and reflection. Students will examine the intersection between self-determination and identity and the relationship between Mexican immigrants and Mexican Americans.
Black Panthers in the Ivory Tower (by Maria Young)
By analyzing primary sources from the Los Angeles Times and comparing them with the writings of Black Panther members and scholarly works about the Black Panther Party, students will examine the representation of Eldridge Cleaver’s 1968 lectures at UC Berkeley, focusing on narratives of black radicalism and the role of higher education. More broadly, students will learn to examine media representation for narratives and seek alternative sources with which to analyze and question these narratives.
Identity Crisis: Chicano vs. Mexican-American (by Bianca Rodriguez)
The beginning of the Chicano Movement and the formation of the Chicano identity lead to a split within the Mexican community living in the United States: Mexican-American versus Chicano. These two identities, separated by political belief and social action, lead to an identity crisis in the Mexican community residing north of the Mexico-United States border.
Intersectionality in the Black Feminist Movement (by Aviva DeKornfeld)
This project will focus on intersectionality as a key theoretical concept in the Black feminist movement.