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menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

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Create a Magic Lantern Show: Freedpeople in the Reconstruction South

In this activity students create a "magic lantern show," or presentation that illustrates how African American defined freedom for themselves after emancipation and the challenges and threats they faced. Students use primary sources from the [...]

Qualifying to Vote Under Jim Crow

In this activity students learn about literacy tests and other barriers that kept black Southerners from being able to vote. Students also take a 1960s literacy test from Alabama.

Adding to the Picture: The 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

In this activity, students examine three documents to better understand the goals, participants, and leaders of the 1963 March on Washington.

A Committee of Freedmen on Edisto Island Reveal Their Expectations

This letter was written by a group of freedmen to the Commissioner of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Land (known as the Freedmen’s Bureau). The freedmen were from Edisto Island, South Carolina, an area that came under Union [...]

Angelina Grimke Argues for Women's Political Rights

In this letter Angelina Grimke, abolitionist and women's rights advocate, argues for the right of propertied women to participate in government through petitions despite their lack of enfranchisement. This letter was a part of a series of essays [...]

The Movement Before the Movement: Civil Rights Activism in the 1940s

In this activity, students read cards about various civil rights protests and events during the 1940s. For each event, students match the issue (voting rights, fair employment, fair housing, or segregation in public places) at stake, identify the [...]

"School Desegration Pickets"

Though rallies featured national figures like Martin Luther King, Jr., and lawsuits were often filed by men, the day-in, day-out on-the-ground organizing and protesting against school segregation was led by mothers who demanded the best possible [...]

Item Type: Photograph
What Was Jim Crow?

This activity introduces students to the term Jim Crow and the concept of legally mandated racial segregation.

Debate: How Should African Americans Achieve Equality?

In this activity students role play a debate among four African-American leaders at the turn of the century, about what strategy the black community should adopt to achieve full equality in the twentieth century. Students research their roles by [...]

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