African American

Medgar Evers and the Origins of the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi Lesson Plan

OVERVIEW

Anthropologist Margaret Mead once argued against the improbability of one person bringing about major changes in society. Rather, she asserted, one person’s dedication and commitment was normally the only way change would come. Few would argue that Mississippi became a vastly different state as the result of the life and work of Medgar Wiley Evers, a pioneer in the state’s Civil Rights Movement.

Free Black People in Antebellum Mississippi Lesson Plan

OVERVIEW

With the exception of a brief mention and reference to William Johnson, the free barber of Natchez, very little attention is given by Social Studies texts to free Black people in pre-Civil War Mississippi. In this lesson, students will become acquainted with the free Black population of Mississippi, the prevailing attitudes of slaveholders toward this class, and the efforts of the American and Mississippi Colonization Societies to resettle the free individuals in Africa.

Students will be expected to answer these questions:

B.B. King, King of the Blues Lesson Plan

OVERVIEW

In this lesson, students will explore the life and work of “the most popular and influential blues guitarist of the last three decades,” according to Robert Palmer, author of Deep Blues, (p. 178). The life of Riley B. “B.B.” King is, in many ways, reflective of the early hard lives of most Delta blues musicians. No study of Mississippi’s rich cultural history is complete without including the Delta blues and its practitioners, now studied, sung, and imitated around the world.

The Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission: An Agency History

Theme and Time Period

The Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission was created in March 1956 by an act of the Mississippi Legislature. It came in the wake of the May 1954 Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka public school desegregation ruling by the U. S. Supreme Court. The court ruled that laws enforcing segregated schools were unconstitutional and called for desegregation of schools “with all deliberate speed.”

About the Mississippi Constitution of 1890

Theme and Time Period

Reconstruction in Mississippi ended in 1875, and many White Mississippians were determined to remove Black Mississippians from politics. In the summer of 1890, specially elected delegates to a constitutional convention gathered in Jackson in today's Old Capitol. All but one of the delegates were White.

About the Mississippi Constitution of 1868

Theme and Time Period

By 1868, momentous changes had occurred in Mississippi since the Constitution of 1832 was written. Slavery had grown enormously in Mississippi before the Civil War. By 1860, on the eve of the Civil War, enslaved Black Mississippians outnumbered White Mississippians. The sale of Native American lands had created a great boom in cotton agriculture.

WPA Slave Narratives

Theme and Time Period

The WPA Slave Narratives are interviews with formerly enslaved people conducted from 1936 through 1938 by the Federal Writers’ Project (FWP), a unit of the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Both the FWP and its parent organization, the WPA, were New Deal relief agencies designed by the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt to provide jobs for unemployed workers during the Great Depression.

On Violence and Nonviolence: The Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi

Theme and Time Period

The American Civil Rights Movement in the late 1950s and 1960s represents a pivotal event in world history. The positive changes it brought to voting and civil rights continue to be felt throughout the United States and much of the world. Although this struggle for Black equality was fought on hundreds of different “battlefields” throughout the United States, many observers at the time described the state of Mississippi as the most racist and violent.

Resistance by Enslaved People in Natchez, Mississippi (1719-1861)

Theme and Time Period

From the time of their first arrival in Natchez, enslaved people resisted bondage. Slavery existed in Natchez beginning in 1719 and continued through French, British, Spanish, and finally American rule. Then, in 1863 in the midst of the Civil War, U. S. President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, and in 1865 the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery.