- History – Virginia Studies, Reconstruction
- Length of Lesson: 60 minutes
- Virginia Standards of Learning — SOL: VS.8 The student will demonstrate knowledge of the reconstruction of Virginia following the Civil War by b) identifying the effects of segregation and “Jim Crow” on life in Virginia for whites, African Americans, and American Indians;
- define discrimination, segregation, and Jim Crow Laws.
- identify effects of segregation and “Jim Crow” on life in Virginia for whites, African Americans, and American Indians.
Materials/Technology and Advanced Lesson Preparation
- video clip on discrimination from Iowa teacher in the 1960′s, Jane Elliot
- Skype Interview with a Civil War and Reconstruction historian
- a sign with “Reconstruction – Jim Crow laws” to add to the History Word Wall
Teaching and Learning Sequence
Introduction/Anticipatory Set –
- Tell the students that today we are going to continue to discuss the post-Civil War period in the United States, called “Reconstruction”, focusing on the effects of segregation and the “Jim Crow Laws” on life in Virginia for whites, African Americans, and Americans Indians.
- First, we are going to watch a short video clip about discrimination. Before we start, does anyone know what discrimination is? Allow the students time to answer this question. Tell them that after the video clip I am going to ask this question again.
- Show “A Class Divided” : Jane Elliot’s class in Iowa in the 1960′s.
- Ask the students again what discrimination means. After they have had the chance to share their thoughts, tell them the following definition: An unfair difference in the treatment of people.
- Ask the students how they think it feels to be discriminated against. How did they feel when the teacher was addressing children in the class with their eye color as “better”; how did they feel when they were part of the group that was labeled “not as smart or good”? How did Mrs. Elliot explain how the students’ performance tied into how they were being treated?
- Tell the students that today we are going to discuss segregation and the Jim Crow Laws in the United States – specifically Virginia.
Lesson Development –
- Review Reconstruction as the period following the Civil War in which Congress passed laws designed to rebuild the country and to bring the Southern states back into the Union, and remind the students that African Americans, because of their newly won freedoms, had earned equal rights, especially the rights to vote and hold office.
- Introduce the term segregation as the separation of people, usually based on race or religion. Explain that some Virginians, including some Confederate leaders, resented the fact that African Americans now had the same rights as white people. Therefore, Virginia and other southern states passed laws that took away the rights that African Americans had gained during Reconstruction. These laws were called “Jim Crow” laws, named for an antebellum minstrel show character,and started being passed in 1876. They segregated the races and reinforced prejudices held by whites.
- Tell the children what Jim Crow laws did. Explain how they legally separated African Americans in public and private places. Tell the students that these laws also affected American Indians in this same way.
- Provide some examples of Jim Crow laws. For instance, in many places black people had to use separate restrooms than white people, separate drinking fountains and sit at the back of the bus if they were allowed on at all. Businesses, such as restaurants, had to serve white people and black people in separate rooms, or could choose to serve only white or only black people.
- Tell the students that we will now have the opportunity to talk with a college professor who has studied the Civil War and Reconstruction for many years. Pull up Skype and connect on-line with the professor, as previously arranged. (We will have already worked out that he/she is going to talk about this period for a few minutes and then we are going to have a few minutes for the students to ask questions. Have several ready myself in case they do not ask any.)
- After our conversation with the professor ends, have them pull out their history observation notebooks and write down 3 things that they found interesting, have questions about or would like to know more about.
- Ask the students to share some things that they wrote down in their notebooks and/or any questions they may have.
- Before class ends, give them some idea of how Jim Crow laws finally ended. Explain Jim Crow laws were outlawed by the United States government in 1964 when President Lyndon Johnson and Congress passed the Civil Rights Act. The Civil Rights Act states blacks deserved equal rights and that segregation is unconstitutional. Tell the students that they will learn more about these events in the future.
- Add the sign Reconstruction – Jim Crow laws to the History Word Wall.
Have the students add the vocabulary words and their definitions (pre-prepared for them to take cut and paste – attached) to their History Vocabulary Dictionaries and tell someone at home about the Skype interview with the historian today.
Formative: During the class, listen for any questions or answers that may indicate confusion about discrimination or segregation from particular students.
Summative: Go over each child’s history observation journal at the end of class and read the observations they made after the Skype interview. Collect and look over their vocabulary dictionaries and ask some follow-up questions during the next class.
Virginia Department of Education – Enhanced Scope and Sequence:
Jim Crow History
Examples of Jim Crow Laws in Virginia: