Frederick Douglass turns down an invitation to speak at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia in 1870 when he learns that “the Directors of that popular Hall persist in refusing to allow it to be used for a lecture to which my race shall be admitted on terms of equality.”
A carefully crafted lesson is structured with a well-defined focus and a clearly-stated purpose. The lesson should present the class with an issue that is phrased in the form of a problem to be solved or a question to be analyzed and assessed by the class. Effective lessons do not merely cover information; they present students with major concepts and ideas and challenge students to think critically and take positions on open-ended essential questions. Here are some examples of essential questions for students of American history:
All freedmen...over the age of eighteen years, found on the second Monday in January, 1866, or thereafter, with no lawful employment or business, or found unlawfully assembling themselves together, either in the day or night time, and all white persons so assembling with freedmen...shall be deemed vagrants, and on conviction thereof shall be fined in the sum of not exceeding in the crease of a freedman...fifty dollars, and a white man two hundred dollars, and imprisoned at the discretion...
Which of the two views presented below, W.E.B. Du Bois’ or Booker T. Washington’s, offered a better strategy to put our nation on a quicker path to equality for African Americans at the turn of the twentieth century?