Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Summarize key events in African-American History through the lens of one city

Montgomery, Alabama, is clearly among the most consequential cities in America in terms of African-American History.
Image result for montgomery alabama map
Just take a look at some of the things that occurred there:
  • A slave market operated there.
  • The Confederacy was organized there.
  • It was the capital of the Confederacy for four months in 1861.
  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was pastor at a church there.
  • Rosa Park's arrest and trial for disorderly conduct was held there.
  • Dr. King's address to a crowd of 5,000 people resulted in overwhelming support for the bus boycott.
  • Federal judges authorized the Selma-to-Montgomery March and Freedom Rides there.
  • The Selma-to-Montgomery March ended there.

You can use a terrific online resource from the Alabama Historical Association to help your students understand that historical era.

First, send them to this collection of Montgomery Historical Markers.  The list is presented in alphabetical order, so instruct your students to search for markers that relate to these four categories: African Americans generally, slavery, the Civil War, and the Civil Rights Movement.  While searching and sorting they should take notes on each event (emphasizing the event's cause and consequence).

Second, have them make a timetable of what they have learned.  They should use different colors to reflect each of the four different categories.

Third, they should plot what they learned on a map using StoryMapJS.  Here's a tutorial on how to use StoryMapJS.

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