“Freedom Schools”: Exploring Racism, Tolerance, and Prejudice

Kimberly Palmer, Language Arts, Ridge Road Middle School

Final Unit (PDF)  Implementing Common Core Standards (PDF)


This unit focuses on the various events and ideas that shaped the integration of
schools in the U.S. history that is taught in U.S. schools. Specifically, the texts in this unit
explore events of racism, tolerance, and prejudice towards African-Americans during the
1960s. Students will read texts that take place during the events of the Mississippi
Freedom Summer Project and the integration process. They will see how hard people
fought to go to school, something many take for granted now. In order to complete this
unit successfully, students will need to have a firm grasp on how to extract the central
idea and support their claims and ideas with textual evidence. The activities in the unit
will ask students to analyze texts and make connections among details, ideas, and events.
The goal of the unit is to challenge preconceived notions made about this precious time in
U.S. history. Students will study picture books (illustrations; content), do close readings,
make connections, and analyze ideas throughout the unit. Lastly, the culminating activity
will require students to choose, analyze and argue which event during this time in history
was the most pivotal by creating a digital/media presentation of their argument.