Black Organizing in Pre-Civil War Illinois: Creating Community, Demanding Justice

Here we offer three teaching resources designed to adapt Black Organizing in Pre-Civil War Illinois: Creating Community, Demanding Justice for high school classrooms. These resources encourage students to develop an understanding of the lives and activism of Black residents in Illinois in the 1840s and 1850s, think about the many ways people have resisted oppression, and make connections to their own lives. The resources below were developed by a team of three teachers at Evanston Township High School in Evanston, Illinois. The team has linked the skills emphasized in each resource with specific skills identified within the National Council for Social Studies Framework.

Find Somebody Who…

Scavenger Hunt Activity

This is a lesson plan for a scavenger hunt that introduces students to the individual men and women profiled in Black Organizing in Pre-Civil War Illinois. This fully scaffolded lesson provides suggestions for framing the activity and 25 cards – representing 25 individual Black residents of Illinois – that teachers may print out and use in their classrooms.

Black Life & Resistance in Pre-Civil War Illinois 

Background Essay and Document Analysis

This resource offers teachers an essay and three primary sources adapted from Black Organizing in Pre-Civil War Illinois to invite students to explore the lives of Black residents in antebellum Illinois and the different ways they resisted oppression. The resource provides a warm-up exercise, exit slip, and suggestions for how students can work collaboratively.

Thinking Outward from 19th-Century Illinois

Questions and themes that draw connections across time and space

This resource provides guiding questions and resources that begin with Black Organizing in Pre-Civil War Illinois and expand outward to broader themes across space and time. Three separate areas are discussed here: 1) Religion and Resistance 2) Churches, Religion, and Education 3) Women, Gender, and Resistance.

Credits

These Teaching Resources were prepared by Dr. Kamasi Hill, Michael Pond, and Yosra Yehia, history teachers at Evanston Township High School (ETHS), in consultation with Dr. Kate Masur, project director of Black Organizing in Pre-Civil War Illinois.

The materials were reviewed by Denise G. Burgher (Colored Conventions Project Curriculum Chair and English PhD candidate) and Hope McCaffrey assisted with layout design.

We are grateful for encouragement and support from Nicole Parker, Chair of the History Department at ETHS. We also thank the Kaplan Institute for the Humanities at Northwestern for financial support.