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Urban Concentration and Racial Violence Lesson Plan
Overview
In the narrative The Second Great Migration specifically the segment titled "Impact on Destination Communities," the author probes the relationship between urban concentration of African-American residents and race riots. Urban Concentration and Racial Violence is a lesson plan that may be used in history classes with or as a follow-up to this narrative. Students will research one of the many urban race riots in U.S. history, from the New York City riots during the Civil War to the "Red Summer of 1919" or the hate-strikes of 1943. Students will present their findings in the form of a newspaper's front page.
Grade Levels:Middle school, grades 6-8
For use with:The Second Great Migration
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 (McRel) standards.
Students will understand

  • The struggle for racial and gender equality and for the extension of civil liberties.
  • The social and economic impact of the Great Depression (e.g., the impact of the Depression on industry and workers; the response of local and state officials in combating the resulting economic and social crises; the effects of the Depression on American families and on ethnic and racial minorities; the effect on gender roles; the victimization of African Americans and white sharecroppers).
  • The economic boom and social transformation of post-World War II United States.
Time required
Two 50-minute class periods if students read the narrative outside of class, but they also use some class time to allow groups to organize and conduct research at the media center
Materials needed
Anticipatory Set

  • Ask the class whether concentration makes any ethnic or racial group an easy target for violence (such as Jews in the shtetls or ghettos of Europe, or Native Americans on reservations).
  • Direct students to read the narrative The Second Great Migration focusing particularly on the segment "Impact on Destination Communities." Make sure they also are familiar with the content within the narratives, The Northern Migration, The Great Migration.. You may also provide students with the photograph from 1917 for the Silent Parade in Harlem. 8-076
  • Discuss, as a class, whether the concentration of African Americans in urban communities contributed to race riots. Ask students to consider how urban violence is different from other types of violence, such as the rural violence of the Ku Klux Klan or lynching.
  • Procedures

    1. Divide the class into teams of two to three students. Either assign or have each team sign up for a different event. Possible topics should include the:

      1. New York City draft riots during the Civil War in 1863.
      2. 1898 Wilmington, North Carolina, riot.
      3. 1906 Atlanta, Georgia, race riot.
      4. 1908 race riot in Springfield, Illinois.
      5. East St. Louis, Illinois, massacre of July 2, 1917.
      6. Red Summer of 1919 with race riots in Charleston, South Carolina; Omaha, Nebraska; Washington, DC; Longview, Texas; Chicago, Illinois; Elaine, Arkansas; and Nashville and Knoxville, Tennessee.
      7. Tulsa, Oklahoma, race riot of 1921.
      8. 1923 Rosewood, Florida, massacre.
      9. 1943 race riots in either Los Angeles, California; Beaumont, Texas; Detroit, Michigan; Chicago, Illinois; or Harlem, New York.
      10. 1946 riots in Columbia, Tennessee; Athens, Alabama; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
      11. 1964 riots in Paterson, New Jersey; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; St. Augustine, Florida; and Harlem and Rochester, New York.
      12. 1965 riots in Watts, California.
      13. 1967 riots in Newark, New Jersey, and Detroit, Michigan.
      14. 1992 riot in Los Angeles, California.
    2. Explain to the teams that they should present their research in the form of newspaper's front page. The mock-up page should include all of the following:

      1. A masthead with the name of their fictitious newspaper.
      2. A date and price.
      3. Column layout.
      4. The banner headline along with additional headlines.
      5. An illustration for at least one of the stories.
      6. A byline of the student writer for each article.
      7. An article by each student about some aspect of the race riot studied and that answers these standard journalism questions: "who, what, when, where, why, and how."
    3. Clear a bulletin board or set up a display area for the newspapers. On the day the assignment is due, ask each team to summarize the information they have learned about their event in a three-minute presentation and then to post their "front page" for class display.
    4. Provide all groups the opportunity to examine the display.
    5. Direct students to assess whether there is a cause-effect relationship between urban concentration and racial violence based on the examples their class has studied. The assessment may be in the form of a paragraph, a journal entry, or a formal five-paragraph composition.
    Assessment

    Evaluate the compositions on a 20-point scale (which may be multiplied by 5 to convert to 100-point scale or to letter grades) using the following rubric:

    Grading Element/Total Points Excellent (10) Good (9-8) Fair (7-6) Not Satisfactory (5-1) No Work (0)
    Written Assignment's Historical Comprehension (10) Demonstrates excellent:

  • Historical analysis of information
  • Identification of cause-and-effect
  • Synthesis of information
  • Evaluation of impact of urban concentration
  • Demonstrates good:

  • Historical analysis of information
  • Identification of cause-and-effect
  • Synthesis of information
  • Evaluation of impact of urban concentration
  • Shows fair:

  • Historical analysis of information
  • Identification of cause-and-effect
  • Synthesis of information
  • Evaluation of impact of urban concentration
  • Shows little:

  • Historical analysis of information
  • Identification of cause-and-effect
  • Synthesis of information
  • Evaluation of impact of urban concentration
  • No work
    Written Assignment's Technical Writing Skills (10) Shows excellent:

  • Compositional structure
  • Persuasiveness
  • Sentence structure and variety
  • Vocabulary use
  • Grammar, spelling, punctuation
  • Shows good:

  • Compositional structure
  • Persuasiveness
  • Sentence structure and variety
  • Vocabulary use
  • Grammar, spelling, punctuation
  • Shows adequate:

  • Compositional structure
  • Persuasiveness
  • Sentence structure and variety
  • Vocabulary use
  • Grammar, spelling, punctuation
  • Shows inadequate:

  • Compositional structure
  • Persuasiveness
  • Sentence structure and variety
  • Vocabulary use
  • Grammar, spelling, punctuation
  • No work

    Related Works

    • The Schomburg Center's Digital exhibit Harlem 1900-1940: An African-American Community examines activism in Harlem, much of it originating from the pain and anger of African Americans over race riots. The exhibit homepage is located at: http://www.si.umich.edu/CHICO/Harlem/index.html.
    • The Library of Congress' American Memory Collection features over seven million online digital documents. Among the documents are those related to race riots in U.S. history. For example, images from the Chicago Daily News show the destruction of the 1919 riots. And, a Work Projects Administration (WPA) narrative explores whether a 1939 riot in Harlem was racially motivated or not (caution: narrative contains offensive language). In another example, newspaper images from the African-American Experience in Ohio, 1850-1920, section report additional incidents. The collection may be accessed at: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/ammemhome.html.
    Interdisciplinary Links

    • Audiovisual Production: Rather than presenting the information in the form of a newspaper, students may collaborate with the school's audiovisual production teachers, either with the videography instructor to present the information in the form of an evening news broadcast or with the computer instructor to present the information in the form of a news web page modeled after the online editions of other newspapers, either local or national.
    • Government/Political Science: Students may investigate the adoption of the 1969 Federal hate crime statute, 18 United States Code (U.S.C.) §245, its implementation, and the annual Federal Bureau of Investigations' statistics on hate crimes. They then assess whether hate crime laws have had an impact on reducing race-related crime or not.
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