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This lesson explores how racial discrimination affected the economic outlook for African Americans in the twentieth century. It examines segregated conditions in stores and businesses, common discriminatory hiring practices, and some of the grassroots campaigns developed in response to discrimination.
In the first half of the lesson, students use primary source materials to examine two demonstrations that took place before the Civil Rights Act of 1964: a student-led boycott in the South and an interracial, urban coalition on the West Coast, both focused on economic equality for all people. In the second half of the lesson, students examine economic strategies of the mid- to late 1960s: Martin Luther King's Chicago campaign of 1966 and the Freedom Budget of 1966, a blueprint for ending poverty.
Examine the resources ahead of time to familiarize yourself with the lesson content. Read the background article on the resource page for each resource, and add any questions for discussion that relate to people and events your class may be studying. Print and copy the PDF documents, watch the videos, and listen to the Freedom Budget speech excerpt.
1. Using the background articles for reference, provide an overview of legalized segregation before the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Help students understand that discrimination extended beyond water fountains and restaurants to hiring practices and housing plans.
Then ask the class to brainstorm answers to the following questions:
2. Distribute the Eleventh Commandment Flyer and the background article. Ask students to read the background article and analyze the flyer. Ask students to look for clues in the document to help them answer the following questions:
Descriptive Questions: What does it say?
Analytical Questions: What does it mean?
3. Have students examine the document's signatories. Explain that they will be watching an interview with Frank Dukes, who was a student at Miles College and one of the organizers of the campaign advertised in the Eleventh Commandment Flyer.
4. Show the Rev. Frank Dukes: Selective Buying Campaign Video. (You may also wish to distribute copies of the background article and/or the full interview transcript.) Ask students to write their answers to the following questions, then discuss them together as a class:
* Extend your knowledge
Ask students to imagine that they are organizing a selective buying campaign in their own community to protest unfair hiring practices. Look at the language of the Eleventh Commandment Flyer
5. Show the Decision in the Streets Video and distribute the background essay. Ask students to write their answers to the following questions, then discuss them together as a class:
* Extend your knowledge:
Have students write hypothetical letters to the editors of 1960s San Francisco newspapers on "Why we really don't have a problem here," or "Why we have a problem here." In their letters, students should describe themselves (i.e., their persona), including race, socioeconomic background, and other factors that might influence their perspective. Encourage students to do research on San Francisco in the 1960s in order to realistically develop their personas.
6. Distribute the SCLC's Chicago Plan Document. Ask students to read the article and familiarize themselves with the housing conditions in that city in the 1960s. Ask students to write their answers to the following questions, then discuss them together as a class:
7. The same year that the SCLC proposed the Chicago Plan, a national proposal for a Freedom Budget was drafted. Distribute the background article and have students listen to Bayard Rustin: A Freedom Budget, Part 2. Then ask:
Have students discuss or write their responses to the following: