Developed By: Meghan Geary, Dr. Stacey Close, and Paquita Jarman-Smith

This unit will focus on Black Americans’ movements for equality, both geographical and societal. It will begin with the ideology of Nadir, which triggered the Great Migration of approximately a half million African Americans from Southern to Northern states between 1916 and 1918, and will then explore the fight for equal rights and the enormous contributions of Black people in America during the early 20th century. The unit should help students understand how the events of the period helped shape present-day systems. Topics include: the impact of Jim Crow laws on Black communities and their resistance; The Harlem Renaissance and African American arts; Black Wall Street and the Tulsa Massacre; African American participation in WWI and WWII; the “Red Summer” of 1919; how FDR’s New Deal Fair Housing Act exacerbated segregation and led to current wealth/wage/opportunity gaps; the establishment of important organizations including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), The Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), the National Urban League, The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), The National Council of Negro Women, The Nation of Islam (NOI), The Congress of Racial Equity (CORE), The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC); landmark Supreme Court decisions such as Brown v. BOE; major Civil Rights legislation such as CRA of 1957 and 1964, and the VRA of 1965; Black women’s role in the ongoing revolution; and the contributions of W.E.B. Du Bois, August Wilson, Mary Townsend Seymour, John Lewis, Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, Constance Baker Motley, Mamie Till and others as detailed in the lessons. In this unit, students will: • Identify tactics, mission, and accomplishments of major groups involved in the movement for equality. • Investigate the causes, consequences, and historical context of key events in this time period. • Evaluate how individuals, groups, and institutions in the United States have both promoted and hindered people’s struggle for freedom, equality, and social justice. • Analyze the role of the federal government in supporting and inhibiting various 20th century civil rights movements. • Analyze the role of women of color in the women’s rights movement.

Compelling Question: How successful have Black Americans’ movements for equality been in transforming the dreams, status, and rights of Black Americans in the United States?

Applied Science, Arts and Humanities, History, U.S. History, World History
Material Type:
Unit of Study
High School
9, 10, 11, 12