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Africans and African Americans Lesson Plan
Using information from the narrative African Immigration, students examine racism in America today. Through a discussion and investigation into overt and subtle racist practices and behaviors, students will gain a better understanding of the societal challenges that immigrants from Africa have to face.
Grade Levels:High school, grades 9-12
For use with:African Immigration
Concentration Area:History
National Curriculum Standards met by this lesson
The following standards have been taken from the Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning ( standards.
Students will understand

  • How recent immigration and migration patterns impacted social and political issues (e.g., major issues that affect immigrants and resulting conflicts; changes in the size and composition of the traditional American family; demographic and residential mobility since 1970).
  • How different groups attempted to achieve their goals (e.g., the grievances of racial and ethnic minorities and their reference to the nation's charter documents to rectify past injustices; local community efforts to adapt facilities for the disabled).
  • The role of ethnicity, cultural identity, and religious beliefs in shaping economic and political conflicts across the globe (e.g., why terrorist movements have proliferated and the extent of their impact on politics and society in various countries; the tensions and contradictions between globalizing trends of the world economy and assertions of traditional cultural identity and distinctiveness, including the challenges to the role of religion in contemporary society; the meaning of jihad and other Islamic beliefs that are relevant to military activity, how these compare to the Geneva Accords, and how such laws and principles apply to terrorist acts).
  • That social groups may have patterns of behavior, values, beliefs, and attitudes that can help or hinder cross-cultural understanding.
  • That people often take differences (e.g., in speech, dress, behavior, physical features) to be signs of social class.
  • Discrepancies between American ideals and the realities of American social and political life (e.g., the ideal of equal opportunity and the reality of unfair discrimination).
Time required
Two class periods
Materials needed
Anticipatory Set

  1. Before they read the narrative, have students brainstorm what comes to mind when they hear the term " "Black" ." (You will find that the students, on the whole, tend to list negative traits, such as gangs, ghetto/projects, etc.)
  2. Put students' answers on the board. Then, ask them what actions or policies they consider to be prejudiced and racist.
  3. Once students have discussed the more obvious forms of prejudice, ask them to look at the brainstormed list, considering these questions:

    1. How many things were negative?
    2. How many were stereotypic?
  4. Explain the difference between overt and subtle racism. Assign students to read the narrative African Immigration for homework.

  1. Ask students what they thought about the narrative, taking their previous discussion into account.
  2. Have students break into six groups, then have each group use information from both the narrative and personal experience to explore the following:

    1. One group will discuss and create a list of acts of overt racism that African Americans have had to face since the Civil Rights Movement;
    2. The second group will discuss and create a list of acts of subtle racism that faced African Americans;
    3. The third and fourth groups will do the same, only with African immigrants; and
    4. The fifth and sixth groups will do so with white immigrants.
  3. After students have had sufficient time to come up with their lists, have a representative from each group report its findings to the class.
  4. On the board, compare the following:

    1. Which prejudices are common to the different groups?
    2. Which prejudices are different and why?
  5. Assign students to write a journal response discussing changes in their own attitudes and prejudices as a result of this lesson.

While your assessment should be informal, it also should take into account the students' written responses, as well as their classroom oral discussion.

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