Learning a Little Bit More About the Little Rock Nine

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Introduction

 Remember how you felt on the first day of school?  Did you feel lost?  Out of place?  Scared?  Anxious?  Imagine that your new school has 2000 students, most of whom hate you because your skin is black.  You walk the halls of the school every day searching for a kind face in the crowd but rarely find one.  Would your feelings be any different?   

    In 1957, nine black students entered the halls of Central High School, previously, a "whites only" school in Little Rock, Arkansas.  They were met with great opposition from parents, students and even the state government.  These nine black students felt lost, out of place, scared and anxious, but despite the odds came back to school every day to get their education.  Today they are know as the "Little Rock Nine."  What would it have been like to be at Central High School at this time?

Task

   You are going to spend the next few days in the shoes of the Little Rock Nine.  You will learn about segregation, the process of desegregation, and you will be able to feel and understand how these nine students felt in 1957, as they attended school. 

    At the end of this unit you will be writing a letter to a friend sharing the events of the first few days at school, changes that have taken place in your area relating to segregation, and your feelings about it all.  You may choose to write from the viewpoint  of one of  the Little Rock Nine or a white student at Central High School.

Process

1.  View the following video as an introduction to segregation and the Little Rock Nine.                             

                 "Little Rock Nine" History Documentary

 

2.  Familiarize yourself with the Little Rock Nine by navigating through and reading the Little Rock Central 40th Anniversary website (i.e. background, photos, historic videos, etc).

                            Little Rock Central High School 

 

3.  Meet the Little Rock Nine.

                   Individual summaries of the Little Rock Nine

 

 

4. Study the following photograph for two minutes.  Form an overall impression of the photograph and then examine individual items.

Divide the photo into quadrants and study each section to see what new details become visible.

What might you infer from this photograph?  What questions does this photograph raise in your mind?  

                http://www.shmoop.com/equal-protection/photo-little-rock-nine.html

 

5. Look at this picture.  What do you imagine is happening?  Why is he holding a gun?  What might you as a student be feeling at this time?

                                      101 Airborne Guard at Central High

 

 

6.  Compare the following video with a letter from the editor and the editorials in The Tiger, the student newspaper at Central High School.  Did all people share the same feelings about desegregation? 

               Pro-Segregation Riots draw Federal Troops

             Central High's Student Newspaper: "The Tiger"

7. The process of desegregation was an emotional one for all people involved.  Evaluate your thoughts and feelings as you have walked in the shoes of the Little Rock Nine.

 Write a letter to a friend sharing the events of the first few days at school, changes that have taken place in your area relating to segregation, and your feelings about it all.  You may choose to write from the viewpoint  of one of  the Little Rock Nine or a white student at Central High School.

Evaluation

 

EXCELLENT- 5PTS

GOOD- 4PTS

SATISFACTORY- 3PTS

NEEDS IMPROVEMENT- 2PTS

UNSATISFACTORY- 1PT

SUBJECT KNOWLEDGE

Students will make reference, in their letter, to four or more of the activities provided on the process page.

Students will make reference, in their letter, to three activities provided on the process page.

Students will make reference, in their letter, of two activities provided on the process page.

Students will make reference, in their letter, of one of the activities provided on the process page.

Students do not refer to activities on the process page at all.

ORGANIZATION and MECHANICS

Letter is a page and a half long, double spaced and uses proper grammar.

Letter is page and a half long, double spaced, and may contain minor spelling and/or grammatical errors.

Letter is a page and a half long, double spaced, but contains a few spelling and grammatical errors.  However, these errors are not severe enough to inhibit reading. 

Letter is at least a page long, double spaced, but contains a few spelling and grammatical errors that make it difficult to follow. 

Letter is less than a page, double spaced, contains significant spelling and grammatical errors that make it difficult to follow.  

CONTENT OF EVENTS

Students clearly state which view point there are writing from (Caucasian or African-American student) and give at least 3 very descriptive examples of what they feel they've experienced through this "change".

Students give view point (either a Caucasian student or African-American student), and give at least 2 descriptive examples of what they feel they have experienced through this "change".

Students give their view point (either a Caucasian or African-American student) and describe one example of what they feel they experienced through the "change".

Student does not give their viewpoint (either a Caucasian or African-American student) but he/she describes an example of what they feel they experienced through the "change".

OR

Student gives their viewpoint (either a Caucasian or African-American student) but he/she does not describe an example of what they feel they experienced through the "change".

 

Student does not state view point and makes no reference to any examples and gives no descriptions.

COMPLETE

Student will show that they have extensively researched the website and that they have done the activities and put forth thought into their descriptive letter.

Student will show that they have sufficiently researched the website and have put some thought into their descriptive letter.

Student will show that they have somewhat researched the website and have put some thought into their descriptive letter.

 

 

 

Students show that they did the bare minimum of research on the paper and show very little thought in their descriptive letter.

Student shows that they did very little research and shows no originality or thought in their descriptive letter.

 

 

Conclusion

A civil rights memorial was erected in LIttle Rock, Arkansas for the Little Rock Nine.  Their courage and determination helped open the doors to desegregation.  We enjoy the freedom of attending a school that will provide us with a good education, despite the fears we may have.  The Little Rock Nine fought their fears with courage and won.

     View the memorial and read quotes from the Little Rock Nine

Credits

Galiano, Amanda Little Rock Central High. Retrieved October 15, 2007, from About.com Web site: http://littlerock.about.com/cs/centralhigh/a/Integration.htm 

 Lane, Ambrose I We Ourselves. Retrieved October 15, 2007, from We Ourselves Web site: http://www.weourselves.org/be_1.html

Teacher's Page

Key Ideas and Details

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.3 Analyze how the author unfolds an analysis or series of ideas or events, including the order in which the points are made, how they are introduced and developed, and the connections that are drawn between them.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.7 Analyze various accounts of a subject told in different mediums (e.g., a person’s life story in both print and multimedia), determining which details are emphasized in each account.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.9 Analyze seminal U.S. documents of historical and literary significance (e.g., Washington’s Farewell Address, the Gettysburg Address, Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms speech, King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”), including how they address related themes and concepts.

Production and Distribution of Writing

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1–3 above.)
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.5 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience. (Editing for conventions should demonstrate command of Language standards 1–3 up to and including grades 9–10 here.)
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products, taking advantage of technology’s capacity to link to other information and to display information flexibly and dynamically.

Research to Build and Present Knowledge

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.7 Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.8 Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the usefulness of each source in answering the research question; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.9a Apply grades 9–10 Reading standards to literature (e.g., “Analyze how an author draws on and transforms source material in a specific work [e.g., how Shakespeare treats a theme or topic from Ovid or the Bible or how a later author draws on a play by Shakespeare]”).
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.9b Apply grades 9–10 Reading standards to literary nonfiction (e.g., “Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is valid and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; identify false statements and fallacious reasoning”).