Patchwork Narratives: Exploring The March on Washington
Building upon the previous two Teach-Ins, including discussions on the modern Civil Rights Movement and historical biases, the third Teach-In discussion focuses on social justice and equity. This month’s webisode will explore the March on Washington and provide students with a broad overview of the different ways that the leaders addressed, and believed in, racial healing. Students will brainstorm solutions for healing, learning how to have these conversations without anger and distrust. They will also learn how to conduct a mini-oral history interview.
Television or Computer to view the webisodes and videos
Access to the Internet
Postcards from Teach-In #1
Copies of the Debate Overview Sheet
Copies of the Mini-Oral History Interview Information Sheet
If students completed the Optional Assessment, have them share out and discuss the ways in which the issues of race, class, and gender were presented in the movie.
Tell the students that, in the last two Teach-Ins, they have discussed some of the speeches from the March, nonviolent resistance, and Dr. King’s “Letter” in preparation to deconstruct the events that happened during the March on Washington and its impact on American policies, practices, laws, and procedures; and to analyze the role that children played during the Movement.
Activate prior knowledge by asking the students to share some of the key points covered during the first two Teach-Ins as well as to list the names of the some of the civil rights leaders. Write the information down on the board and tell them that they will review the list and add to it at the end of the lesson. Ask students to share any questions that they have about the topic throughout the lesson so that they are also engaged in inquiry as they move through the lesson.
Tell them that today they are going to specifically look at the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Ask them what they know about the March and then have them view the webisode, “The March on Washington.”
After viewing the webisode, discuss some of the key points from the March on Washington. Ask them to consider whether the goals of the March have been realized. Tell the students that during the Movement, there were many points of tension. In addition to the discussions around gender, the issues of race and class where heavily contested and debated as well.
Tell them today they are going to talk about healing and learn how to have conversations without anger or distrust. Tell them that there are four key rules to having difficult conversations:
- Help to establish, and then abide by, the Ground Rules (to monitor the discussion).
- Seek First to understand rather than to be understood.
- Monitor yourself, your attitude, and your emotions
Leave the emotions in the room but take the lessons with you.
More information on how to lead difficult classroom discussions.
- Have students think about the healing process (as it pertains to emotions) and why it is so difficult to have difficult conversations. Split them in multiple groups and assign each group a position: Pro: “The modern Civil Rights Movement was a success.” Con: “The modern Civil Rights Movement was a failure.”
For more information on how to have an in-class debate
- Students will use both electronic and print sources to examine and deconstruct the Movement, and find 2-3 key points to support their position.
- Students will spend the last portion of class debating their topics.
- Tell students to take a look at their postcards from Teach-In #1 and add another word or description based upon what they learned today.
- Students will produce a mini-oral history package where they will select an elder (someone who is at least 50 years of age) from their community, develop interview questions, and conduct a 5-10 minute interview with them.
Note that if students are assigned this project, they will need at least another day to select someone to interview and to develop interview questions.