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Social Studies Lesson Plan - August Wilson Archives
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By the mid 1960s, Americans’ interpretation of the Civil Rights Movement was split. While many white Americans perceived laws like the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act as solving the problem of segregation and civil rights, the experiences of many black Americans proved that there was still a great discrepancy in their treatment, opportunities, and economic status. The philosophy of black nationalism, which argued for …, grew in influence during this time. This lesson examines how black nationalism impacted not only the larger aims of the civil rights movement, but institutions like schools, universities, local economies, and the arts.

This lesson is organized as a warm up quote and mini-lecture to affirm student understanding of black nationalism and the ongoing struggle faced by black Americans even after many civil rights “milestones.” Students will then explore in a gallery walk/station format the different ways that black nationalism impacted society in the late 1960s and 1970s. Depending on time, teachers may want to have students visit multiple stations or focus on one and then share findings with the class. A final class discussion will ask students to compare their findings and to find connections with our society today.

Many of the sources in this lesson were found in the August Wilson archives at the University of Pittsburgh. August Wilson was a Pittsburgh playwright whose work chronicled the experience of black America, and the sources found there speak to both the desire within the arts for more artwork about the experience of people of color in the United States and more arts organizations to support it; as well as sources that reflect on the growth within the University of Pittsburgh of a Black Studies program and the Black Action Society, a student group. While local in focus, these changes reflect national movements in the 1960s and 1970s.

Social Science
U.S. History
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Kate Harris
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