Patriotism Crosses the Color Line: African Americans in World War II

Professor Clarence Taylor reminds us of the role African American soldiers played in the conflict—and the role their military service played in shaping the racial politics that followed in peacetime. Taken together, these essays help us appreciate the complexity of mobilization for modern warfare and drive home the impact of events on the world stage upon domestic affairs.

  • Resource Type: Essays, Primary Sources
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Moments in History: Remembering Thurgood Marshall

Few people know the legal mind of justices or judges as well as the law clerks who have worked with them. Justice Thurgood Marshall’s former law clerks offer unique insights into the character, values, and thought processes of the first African American to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States.  In this 8.5-minute video called “Moments in History:  Remembering Thurgood Marshall,” prominent lawyers reminisce about the examples of compassion and courage they saw in the life and work of this legal legend.  

  • Resource Type: Video
  • Subject:
  • Grades: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Pathways to the Bench: African American History Month

Video profiles of seven African American federal judges, who overcame obstacles on their paths to the bench, are featured on the federal courts’ website. In their inspirational first-person narratives, they recount the challenges they faced growing up and offer uplifting insights. The four-minute videos are part of the federal courts’ Pathways to the Bench series.

  • Resource Type: Video
  • Subject: Judicial Branch/Supreme Court
  • Grades: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Extending Suffrage to Women

In this activity, students will analyze documents pertaining to the women’s suffrage movement as it intensified following passage of the 15th Amendment, which guaranteed the right to vote for African American males. Documents were chosen to call attention to the struggle’s length, the movement’s techniques, and the variety of arguments for and against giving women the vote.

  • Resource Type: Primary Sources
  • Subject: Voting, Elections, Politics
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Freedom Summer

In the summer of 1964, student volunteers from around the country joined organizers and local African Americans in a historic effort to shatter the foundations of white supremacy in Mississippi, one of the nation’s most segregated states . The website features historical background essays, bonus video of interviews with participants and original art work.

  • Resource Type: Closed Captions, Essays, Media, Photography, Video
  • Subject: Voting, Elections, Politics
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

“What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?”

Frederick Douglass earned wide renown as an outspoken and eloquent critic of the institution of slavery. In this speech before a sizeable audience of New York abolitionists, Douglass reminds them that the Fourth of July, though a day of celebration for white Americans, was still a day of mourning for slaves and former slaves like himself, because they were reminded of the unfulfilled promise of equal liberty for all in the Declaration of Independence.

  • Resource Type: Primary Sources
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12

Reconstructing a Nation

This unit provides a backdrop for the social, political, and economic changes that accompanied the Reconstruction amendments. A 30-minute video explains the events leading to Reconstruction, and introduces three individuals who played different roles — an African-American U.S. senator, a college-educated former plantation mistress, and a former Union Army officer who went to work for the Union Pacific Railroad. All dealt with upheaval and opportunity during this tumultuous period.

  • Resource Type: Closed Captions, Editorial Cartoons, Essays, Media, Primary Sources, Research (Digests of Primary Sources), Special Needs/Language Focus, Video
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12