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American Experience George Wallace: Worksheets for Entire Series

American Experience George Wallace: Worksheets for Entire Series
American Experience George Wallace: Worksheets for Entire Series
American Experience George Wallace: Worksheets for Entire Series
American Experience George Wallace: Worksheets for Entire Series
American Experience George Wallace: Worksheets for Entire Series
American Experience George Wallace: Worksheets for Entire Series
American Experience George Wallace: Worksheets for Entire Series
American Experience George Wallace: Worksheets for Entire Series
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2 MB|65 pages
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A Comprehensive Set of Cloze Worksheets to accompany the PBS documentary "American Experience: George Wallace -- Settin' the Woods on Fire"

This 3-hour episode of American Experience explores the life and controversial legacy of Alabama governor and presidential candidate George Wallace, delving deep into the Civil Rights Movement that characterized both his rise and fall. The tag line for the film says it all: "He preached 'Segregation now, segregation forever -- then asked to be forgiven."

It was George Wallace's well-publicized stand in the "schoolroom door," blocking the integration of the University of Alabama, that came to symbolize the depth of white resistance to the Civil Rights Movement. As such, he became one of the most infamous segregationists in the nation's history. These George Wallace video worksheets provide students with a detailed study of the man and his times, showing how Wallace -- like many of today's politicians -- found an effective wedge issue and used it ruthlessly to propel himself to power. Yet he wasn't always a demagogue on racial issues -- he started out as the most liberal judge in Alabama, one who bragged that skin color had nothing to do with justice, not in his courtroom. When it came time to win elections, however, that was all to change.


"Four times governor of Alabama, four times a candidate for president, he was feared as a racist demagogue and admired as a politician who spoke his mind. A lightning rod for controversy, Wallace both reflected and provoked tensions in American society over more than four decades. This film traces the rise of the firebrand politician from his roots in rural Alabama to the assassination attempt that suddenly transformed him."


--More than 100 cloze / fill-in problems for students to complete as they watch the film
--Divided into two separate worksheets, one for each part of the video series
--All problems in video order
--NO PREP -- just print and go!
--Both full context and full transcript answer keys included.


American Experience: George Wallace plays from time to time on local PBS stations and is also sometimes available on streaming services. The best way to find out where it might currently be available is to run a simple Google search.


This packet contains two worksheets, one for each part of the video series. All questions are presented in video order so that students can complete problems as they are watching. Tracking information as the video plays will help students to pay more attention and learn more, and students may also find that at times, the questions help to clarify what they see taking place on-screen.


1) All worksheets are designed to be re-usable so that teachers can make file copies and use them over and over. To this end, answer "blanks" in the cloze problems actually consists of five dashes in a row, like this: -----. This makes the blank too short to write on; the position in the vertical midpoint of the line will also discourage students from writing on their George Wallace worksheets. Students are therefore likely to record answers on their own paper!

2) Two answer keys are provided: a full-context one which replicates the student worksheet problems so that teachers can see what students were looking at. This helps with reviewing answers with the class. Also included is a full transcript answer key which will let teachers dive deeper into the context of surrounding passages, should they desire.


PBS also provides a more detailed description of the film, as follows:

To many, George Wallace was the embodiment of racism in America. To others, he was a champion of Southern pride and a defender of the working class. He rose to power as the nation’s best-known segregationist in the early 1960s, but later in his career he was elected governor of Alabama with overwhelming black support. A Golden Gloves fighter, he battled his way into the national spotlight and came close to deadlocking the 1968 presidential election as a third-party candidate -- then was shot down by a would-be assassin on the eve of his greatest political victory. Wallace would spend his remaining years seeking redemption for the divisiveness he had once preached and asking forgiveness from those he had scorned, but he left a conservative political legacy that continues to influence national politics today.

Winner of the Sundance 2000 Film Festival Special Jury Prize, "George Wallace: Settin’ the Woods on Fire" is produced by Paul Stekler and Dan McCabe and written by Steve Fayer ("Eyes on the Prize," "Vote for Me," "Rock & Roll," "Nixon"). The three-hour PBS special places the public and private George Wallace within the turbulent history of the 1960s and 1970s, tracing a powerful story relevant to today’s presidential politics.

Privately, it is the saga of a onetime progressive Alabama politician who makes a devil’s bargain to become Governor -- and finds his new position on race can propel him to power he has never imagined. Politically, it is the story of the man at the middle of the transformation of American politics, from the New Deal Democratic majority to the Reagan revolution -- a transformation that can be traced through the social issues introduced into national politics by George Wallace. As Pat Buchanan, the Nixon speechwriter who recognized the potential in Wallace’s issues, says: "He has never gotten the credit for being the figure he was and having the influence he did upon subsequent politics."


American Experience: The Presidents series:

American Experience The Presidents Woodrow Wilson Worksheets for the Entire 3-Hour Series

American Experience The Presidents LBJ Worksheets for the Entire 4-Hour Series
American Experience: LBJ Worksheets for the First Half of the 4-Hour Series
American Experience: LBJ Worksheets for the Last Half of the 4-Hour Series

American Experience The Presidents: Clinton Worksheets for Entire Series

Other American Experience Video Worksheets:

American Experience George Wallace Worksheets for Entire Series
American Experience: America and the Holocaust Worksheets and Activities
American Experience: America and the Holocaust Worksheet -- Editable Version
American Experience: The Crash of 1929 Worksheets

As always, I wish you a very happy and engaging school year!

Elise Parker

keywords: Civil Rights Movement, white resistance, segregation, Alabama, states' rights, state's rights, state rights, integration, political campaigns, state politics, voting rights, Vivian Malone, James Hood
Total Pages
65 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
1 Week
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