The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow A Century of Segregation
Jim Crow Stories
A National Struggle
Interactive Maps
Tools and Activities
For Teachers

Introduction Lesson Plan Activities Resources

Lesson Plan 1: The Economics of Jim Crow
overview procedures for teachers steps

The economy of the Southern States during the era of Jim Crow was primarily based on agriculture. While the majority of Southern blacks worked in agriculture as sharecroppers and tenant farmers, others sought work in the cities of the South and North, including a small but influential black middle class. This unit looks at the economics of Jim Crow, how Jim Crow laws sustained black economic dependency, and why the rise of a black middle class challenged white supremacy.

Grade Level:
Grades 9-12

Time Allotment:
Five class periods

Subject Matter:
Economic History, African American History, Civil Rights, Economic History

Learning Objectives:
Students will be able to:

  • Understand the relationship between Jim Crow laws and the economic conditions of African Americans.
  • Consider the manner in which economic conditions change over time.
  • Understand the relationship between economic power and political power.

Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning

United States History Standard and Benchmarks

MCREL Standard 15, Level IV (Grade 9-12)
Understands factors that inhibited and fostered African American attempts to improve their lives during Reconstruction.

MCREL Standard 15, Level IV (Grade 9-12)
Understands social and economic factors during and toward the end of Reconstruction.

Historical Understanding Standard and Benchmarks

MCREL Standard 2, Level IV (Grade 9-12)
Analyzes the effects specific decisions had on history and studies how things might have been different in the absence of those decisions.

MCREL Standard 1, Level IV (Grade 9-12)
Understands historical continuity and change related to a particular development or theme.

This lesson was prepared by: Thomas Thurston


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Intergenerational Discussion Guide
presents ideas and facts on the Jim Crow era.
  To download the Guide, you'll need the Adobe Acrobat Reader. Download Adobe Acrobat.  


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