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African American Lives 2 -- Hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
In Search of Our Roots -- Buy the companion book now from ShopPBS
Designed for immediate use in middle and high school classrooms, these lesson plans-- which adhere to national learning standards -- contain video segments from AFRICAN AMERICAN LIVES 2, comprehensive instructions for classroom implementation, downloadable student handouts, links to relevant and dynamic online resources, and suggestions for cross-curricular extensions. Feel free to adapt the lesson plans to meet your students' needs and your own curricular goals.

We strongly encourage educators to use segments of AFRICAN AMERICAN LIVES 2 in the classroom. As always, be sure to preview all video segments and suggested Web sites to make certain they are appropriate for your students. All video segments available online were carefully selected according to grade-level and content appropriateness. Due to the nature of the topic, the series touches upon the prejudice, racism, and injustices experienced by African Americans throughout US history. Of course, you know your students best, so we ask that you use your own discretion.

Grade level: 6-8
Grade level: 9-12
Grade level: 10-12
While creating the PBS series African American Lives 2, teams of historians, librarians, and genealogical researchers examined thousands of legal documents, land records, photographs, and letters. The evidence of the past, left behind by those who lived it, can be a valuable tool for understanding the lives and stories of our ancestors and the world in which they lived. The passage of time, however, can prove challenging and destructive to the preservation to items of material culture. In this lesson, students will develop an understanding of the conditions and circumstances that contribute to successful preservation of documents and artifacts over time.

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This lesson explores the experience of African American soldiers in the Civil War, examining their motivations for enlisting, the prejudices they faced in the military, and their courage under fire which helped earn them respect as soldiers and citizens. It also explores the ways in which racism and discrimination against African Americans remained pervasive in the US military through the end of World War II, and how desegregation of the armed forces in 1948 helped set a precedent for the rest of American society.

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The classification of humans into groups according to "race" is a fact of this country's history dating back to our founding documents and has been immortalized in innumerable official and unofficial ways ever since. In contemporary America, the categorization of people by race is so common as to risk making racial divisions seem to represent natural, fixed, and unquestionable distinctions between people. This lesson seeks to build awareness among students of the subjective and fluid distinctions that support categorizations of people according to race and the ways that these distinctions have been used to the detriment or advantage of groups of Americans over time: both negative, leading to discrimination against particular groups of people, and positive, leading to group identity, unification around causes, and mobilization to fight racism and other forms of injustice.

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Major corporate funding for African American Lives 2 and its outreach initiatives is provided by The Coca-Cola Company and Johnson & Johnson. Additional corporate funding is provided by Buick.
The Coca-Cola Company Johnson & Johnson Buick
KUNHARDT Thirteen/WNET New York