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Unforgivable Blackness: A Film Directed by Ken Burns

About the Film Rebel of the Progressive Era Sparring The Fight of the Century Knockout Ghost in the House For Teachers
For Teachers
Introduction

Lesson Plans

Resources
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Lesson Plans

Above the Law? Athletes in Trouble
Grades: 9-12
Subjects: U.S. History, Civics
Like Jack Johnson, other athletes ride their fame with a flamboyancy and freedom that sometimes leads to trouble with the law. Their behavior gives rise to important questions: How should athletes, who are often in the public eye, be expected to act? Why do athletes sometimes behave as if they are above the law? What drives their behavior? How does the legal system treat athletes who get in trouble? If standards of character for athletes were established, what would they be?

Circling the Square: Boxing Ring Math
Grades: 9-12
Subjects:Mathematics
As the rules of boxing have evolved over the years, one thing has always remained the same: a well-defined area in which the competition is restricted to take place, the Boxing Ring. The Boxing Ring has sometimes been referred to as "The Square Circle". This lesson and the extension activities will explore the some of the geometry of boxing in the modern ring.

Crossing the Color Line
Grades: 9-12
Subjects: American History, Sociology, Civics
Students will use Johnsonís life as a means to investigate why the system of legal and de facto segregation was inherently threatened by the legitimization of interracial relationships.

Defying Convention: A World of Black and White
Grades: 9-12
Subjects: American History, Sociology, Civics
Students will examine the history of interracial marriage in the context of Jack Johnson's life.

Immorality and Intolerance: The Mann Act of 1910
Grades: 9-12
Subjects: U.S. History, Civics
The Mann Act of 1910 banned the interstate transport of women for "immoral purposes." In this lesson, students explore the origins and application of the Mann Act, particularly with regard to Jack Johnson, and the social and economic environment in which it was created.

Johnson, Louis and Ali
Grades: 9-12
Subjects: U.S. History, Sociology, Civics
While many professional athletes have had a major impact on society beyond the scope of their sport, three boxers in particular — Jack Johnson, Joe Louis, and Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay) — left an imprint on American culture and society far beyond the ring. In this lesson, students will evaluate the impact of these three fighters on American history and society.

The Physiological Effects of Boxing
Grades: 9-12
Subjects: Health, Physical Education, Science
Boxing is a sport characterized short duration, high intensity bursts of activity. In this lesson, students research the physical effects of boxing on the human body, including lactic acid build-up, aerobic glycolysis, and anaerobic ATP production. Students also investigate injuries that may occur in the professional boxer.

Press Perceptions of Jack Johnson
Grades: 9-12
Subjects:U.S. History, Sociology, Language Arts, Media Studies
Students will role-play journalists of the late 19th and 20th centuries and create newspaper sports pages, reporting on events and editorializing about Jack Johnson's life and career.

Reading and Writing About Boxing
Grades: 9-12
Subjects: English
Students will write about Jack Johnson and his opponents in the style of Muhammad Ali's rhyming taunts and boasts.

Writing With Punch
Grades: 9-12
Subjects: English
Students will analyze the media's responses to Jack Johnson and role-play reporters to compose headline poems.