SpringBoard English Level 4 (Grade 9) Unit 5 Activity 5
Form students into small groups of three or four. Ask each group to appoint a recorder, and give each group a large piece of butcher paper. Direct groups to scan the sample Jim Crow laws, using the boldface descriptors to create categories. Possibilities include these: Marriage, Education, Transportation, Entertainment, Work, Public Buildings, Personal Behavior.
After a short time, you may want to have a brief large group discussion about the categories. Then ask groups to undertake a close reading to sort the laws into categories. Explain that the categories are flexible; some may be added, some changed, some deleted.
As students read and categorize these laws, ask them to record questions they have about the laws.
Leave time for a whole group discussion after this small group activity in order to acknowledge the blatant racism of these laws. Point out that these laws reached into every facet of daily life. Solicit from students, laws they found especially shocking, irrational, or ridiculous. Note the geographic extent of these laws. As an extension, you might ask students to research information about the context in which these laws were enacted and abolished.
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