BQN > Teacher Resources > Lesson Plans > Spring Semester Teach-In > Teach-in #2: Complicated Textures: Confronting Racism + Sexism


Complicated Textures: Confronting Racism + Sexism

Spring Semester Teach-in (2 lessons) pdf format


During the second Teach-In, teachers will focus on historical biases and help students to learn both the language and the critical thinking skills they need to address, confront, and process inherent racism, sexism, and classism. Using NVLP visionary interviews that discuss the strategy of nonviolence as an entry point and a webisode about dealing with racism and sexism during the modern Civil Rights Movement, students will be introduced to visionaries who describe their own experiences with processing these difficult concepts.


Cell Phones or Computers (for Teach-In Evaluation)
Television or Computer to view the webisodes and videos
Access to the Internet
Postcards from Teach-In #1


  1. If students completed the optional assessment, have them share out, and discuss what diversity looks like through their eyes.

  2. Lesson Review: Remind the students that last month they used video and text to examine the March on Washington, a key moment in our American history quilt, and today they will explore the strategy of nonviolent resistance and they will develop strategies that can be used to confront racism and sexism. Tell students that they have come to the end of the Two-Month Teach-In program and they will spend the day wrapping up and concluding the discussion.

  3. Explain to them that the practice of nonviolent resistance has its roots in the teachings of Jesus Christ and the work of Mahatma Gandhi and that it takes training to be able to stand in the face of hate and violence and actively choose not to fight back.

  4. Using both the “Timeline” and the “Words and Phrases” from the online Civil Rights Movement dictionary, create a timeline on the board to highlight some of the key events that took place during the modern Civil Rights Movement to help students understand what was happening throughout the South prior to Dr. King’s arrest. Time permitting (and depending upon your classroom’s access to technology), have students work through the “Timeline” website in small groups or individually.

  5. Videos

    1. Tell the students that this month’s webisode, “Dealing with Racism and Sexism,” highlights the ways in which civil rights leaders confronted and dealt with racism and sexism.

    2. Time permitting, share clips of Coretta Scott King talking about how the Montgomery Bus Boycott started and C.T. Vivian discussing the “Freedom Rides”.

Independent Practice

  1. Tell the students that they will work in pairs or groups of three to read through and deconstruct Dr. King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” his open response to the Call to Unity.

    If necessary, explain to them that Dr. King was in Birmingham to participate in the targeted Birmingham Campaign, which consisted of coordinated marches and sit-ins against racism and segregation. He was later arrested and after the “Call to Unity” was published (a letter written by eight white Alabama clergymen, who felt that black Civil Rights leaders should not get involved in Birmingham’s affairs), Dr. King responded (with the help of Rev. Wyatt T. Walker) by writing and publishing his “Letter.”

Wrap Up

  1. Students will share-out their notes on the Dr. King’s “Letter” and discuss how the Birmingham Campaign (as described in the “Letter”) later led to the March on Washington.

  2. Tell students to take a look at their postcards from Teach-In #1 and work to create a postcard quilt. The postcards can either be taped together or yarn can be used to attach them to one another. Students should bring their postcard to the front of the room, share what they have written, and then add it to the quilt. Once all postcards have been connected it can be hung up in the room or somewhere in the building.


  1. Have students either take out their phones or move to a computer station to complete the BQN Post-Evaluation using Survey Monkey.