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Caribbean Migration
Studying the Caribbean Immigration Lesson Plan
This lesson is designed for use with the narrative Caribbean Immigration. Students will use the site maps and other resources to research one of the influential Caribbean immigrants or descendents of immigrants mentioned in the narrative. After compiling their research in a paper, students will orally present their papers to the class so all students learn more about the lives of these immigrants.
Grade Levels:Middle and high school, grades 9-12
For use with:Caribbean 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 (McRel) standards.
Students will understand

  • How recent immigration and migration patterns impacted social and political 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 racial and ethnic events influenced American society during the Progressive movement to restrict immigration.
  • Challenges immigrants faced in society in the late Nineteenth century (e.g., especially immigrants from 1870 to 1900, reasons for hostility toward the new immigrants, restrictions against immigrants, the tension between American ideals and reality).
Time required
From two traditional class periods to two weeks, depending on depth and breadth of student research
Materials needed
  • Narrative, Caribbean Immigration
  • Internet connection for viewing of internal and external links
  • Library resources
Anticipatory Set

  1. Ask students to think about what the word "influential" means to them. Whom do they think of when they think of an influential person in history?
  2. Then, ask students for examples of characteristics of an influential person and make a list of them on the board or overhead.
  3. Have students write a journal entry about a person they think was influential in history, what they did to be influential, and which of the characteristics listed on the board they think the person had.

  1. Have the map of the migration on the overhead projector or on students' computer screens. (link to map of this migration)
  2. Hand out copies of the narrative; or, if students are online, they can read it on their screens. If the reading level of the class is low, you may opt to read and stop at intervals to check for understanding.
  3. Once the students have read through the narrative, have them start filling in any information that they can based on the following series of springboard questions:

    1. What are the dates, from beginning to end, that frame this migration. Where is the point (or where are the points) of origin of the people?
    2. What was their existing circumstance in that location? How did conditions differ from the city to country plantations and estates?
    3. Who were some of the influential immigrants mentioned?
    4. Why did they leave?
    5. How many left?
    6. Where did they go?
    7. How did they choose their destination(s)? Were the destinations chosen before they embarked upon their journeys, or were they arbitrary in nature?
    8. What was the economic result of their immigration for both countries?
    9. What hardships did they endure because of their immigration?
    10. What is the legacy today of this migration in both the points of origin and destination?
    11. How does this migration fit in with the other migrations (can only be done if studying a group of migrations)? Are there any connections between migrations?
  4. For any unanswered questions, direct students to other resources, such as the gateway, other areas of the site, or library resources.
  5. So they can learn more about the influential Caribbean immigrants or their US-born children mentioned in the narrative, have students choose one of the following people to research more about:

    1. Prince Hall
    2. Denmark Vesey
    3. John B. Russwurm
    4. Samuel E. Cornish
    5. Jan Earnst Matzeliger
    6. Edward Wilmot Blyden
    7. Joseph Sandiford Atwell
    8. Bert Williams
    9. Robert Brown Elliott
    10. W.E.B. Du Bois
    11. James Weldon Johnson
    12. Rosamond Johnson
    13. William Stanley Braithwaite
    14. Grace Campbell
  6. Students might need to look back through the narrative to review the description given about each person so they can decide which one they are most interested in learning more about.
  7. Then, instruct students to use library resources and the Internet to research more about the person, including the following information:

    1. The person's background.
    2. Circumstances that motivated the person to immigrate.
    3. The person's experiences once in the United States, for instance, where did he or she settle? What was his or her occupation? Why was he or she considered "influential?"
    4. The legacy of the person's actions, for instance, will he or she remain in the United States or return to Africa?
  8. Assign students to write up their findings in an essay format and include a picture of the person, if possible, and a bibliography of sources. Once the due date for the essays has passed, have students orally share their essays with the class.

Grade students' papers using the rubric below. With a total of 20 points possible, figure a letter grade from the number of points each student earns.

Grading Criteria Excellent (4) Good (3) Unsatisfactory (2) Poor (1)
Organization Information is in a logical, interesting sequence, which the reader can easily follow. Information is presented in a sequence the reader can follow. Reader has difficulty following the work because the student jumps around. Sequence of information is difficult to follow.
Content and Knowledge Student includes answers to all questions asked in the interview in an elaborate manner. Student answers most questions, but with little elaboration. Student doesn't answer most of the questions, and the information is basic. Student doesn't have a grasp of the information at all.
Grammar and Spelling The writing has no grammatical or spelling errors. The writing has two or fewer grammatical or spelling errors. The writing has three or four grammatical or spelling errors. The writing has more than four grammatical or spelling errors.
References The bibliography is written correctly with at least two references. The bibliography has minor errors in it. The bibliography has several errors in it. The bibliography has numerous errors in it.
Presentation Student presents the essay orally in a way that is informative for the other students while also being poised and knowledgeable. Student presents the essay orally in a way that lacks some energy but is still informative to others. Student presents the essay orally but is only marginally informative to others. Student is not serious at all.

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