Lessons on African American History in Los Angeles
Los Angeles Unified School District and the Stanford History Education Group have partnered to develop four new lessons focused on African American history in Los Angeles. There are lessons for use in four different grade bands: K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12. (See below for descriptions of the lessons.) Teachers helped to identify topics for the lessons and provided feedback on SHEG's drafts. The lessons are part of the Reading Like a Historian curriculum, which has been used in LAUSD classrooms since 2014.
Too often, archival photos are not analyzed as historical sources. Instead, they are treated as windows into the past. This lesson introduces students to reasoning about photographs as historical evidence through four activities. Students are first given an opportunity to practice thinking historically with a familiar classroom scene, then examine different historical photographs of African Americans in Los Angeles.
This lesson was designed with elementary school students in mind but can be used with a wide range of students as an introduction to analyzing historical photographs. The first activity in this lesson is also included in our Evaluating Photographs intro lesson.
This lesson introduces students to the work of historians and to the historical figure Biddy Mason, an African American woman who lived in Los Angeles in the 19th century. Students practice sourcing and contextualization as they investigate three historical documents to answer the question: Who was Biddy Mason?
This lesson was designed with upper elementary school students in mind but can be used with a wide range of students as an introduction to the field of history. Although Biddy Mason is a lesser-known historical figure and her story is exceptional, studying her life offers insights into various national historical topics, including enslavement, westward expansion, and the long African American freedom struggle.
In this lesson, students examine articles and advertisements from The Liberator, an African American newspaper published in Los Angeles in the early 20th century. Through primary source analysis, students work to answer the question: What was the purpose of The Liberator?
While this lesson focuses on one Los Angeles newspaper, it provides insight into the role and purpose of the African American press in this period more generally.
In this lesson, students read a passage on Black Power from a popular textbook. Students then examine four historical documents to complicate the textbook’s description and answer the historical question: What was the Black Power Movement in Los Angeles?
While the lesson focuses on the Black Power Movement in Los Angeles, it offers insights into the nationwide Black Power Movement.