How did the state of race relations in America influence aspects of To Kill a Mockingbird, and what is the state of racial tensions in America today, many decades later? Can examining events from To Kill a Mockingbird help us to better understand present-day America?
Visual Literacy - students will "read" a selected photograph from the 1930s or 40s, explaining what the photograph shows and how it is significant to American society
Students will watch one of several (10 min.) videos -- Understanding Jim Crow, The Origins of Lynching, ...Reflections on Growing Up in the South and possibly listen to Studs Terkel interviews about "class" in southern society (2 minutes each)
Students will then be given one of several articles and/or primary sources that highlight perspectives on the state of racial tensions in the US during the 1930s-40s. Students will evaluate these articles for perspective / bias and usefulness for helping us understand the time period. (Scottsboro Boys & the Groveland Boys - two real-life cases where black men were falsely accused of rape and pursued or killed by mobs, in the jail house and through the swamps)
After reading about this history (and maybe reading the TKAM jailhouse scene) -- students will study the impact of the past on the present. Students will be asked to find and evaluate an article about race relations in America today (Ferguson, Black Lives Matter, Chicago protests, etc). [or read an article that we provide, such as the article with this focus: "Some people like to pretend the world sprang into existence yesterday. In an era of mass incarceration and epidemic police misbehavior, they earnestly wonder why African-Americans often don't trust law enforcement. Here, then, is an instructive reminder, past tapping present on the shoulder -- justice denied for 66 years and counting."
SLO: students will evaluate the articles about present-day race relations for perspective / bias and usefulness in helping to answer their focus question (past vs. present and racial tensions). we will measure student growth with a rubric that assesses students' ability to evaluate a source for perspective and usefulness.