History Curriculum

A History Of Forced Labor

Grade Level: Grade Level: 9-12

Overview: This activity guide focuses on the specific types of forced labor systems used in the South after the Civil War. Students will research and prepare presentations about these systems in addition to making connections between this little-known history to events, dates, and historical figures from America’s more familiar history.

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This clip explores the post-slavery, exploitative practice of sharecropping, a common practice in the American South after the Civil War and up until the 1950s before it largely disappeared.

The Price of Labor

Grade Level: Grade Level: 9-12

Overview: This activity guide examines the vital role that labor played in the development of the South after the Civil War as it moved towards industrialization. Using the rise of Birmingham, Alabama as an example, students will be introduced to the various forced-labor systems — which also subjugated child workers — that industrialists used to trigger and sustain industrial growth. Students will also define exploitation and consider its use in modern labor forces.

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This clip discusses the rise of convict leasing, a legal practice used by Southern states, and the system’s profitability.

Their History is Our History

Grade Level: Grade Level: 9-12

Overview: This activity guide examines the interconnectedness of history and how history is dynamic, not static. Students will examine how personal histories overlap within a wider historical narrative to create a web of connection between us. Students will also explore how history can be viewed, perceived, and recollected differently by people and across generations, and reflect upon ways that reconciliation can be achieved for difficult histories. In doing so, students will analyze historical accuracy and the role that narrative plays in history. Lastly, students will develop recommendations, based upon America's history, for improving its present.

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