Skip to main content

Race and American Culture: Assignment

The Essential Question

How has race shaped (formed) America?

Thinking Like a Historian

In your journal, answer the questions below.  Be sure to use PQPA (part of the question, part of the answer):

1. What issues are found in your book (why do you think the author wrote this book)?  What was h/she worried wouldn't be taught in the history books?

2. What is the most relevant issue in your book hat speaks to our Essential Question (how has race shaped America)?

3. What do you know about this time period?  Contextualize it. How does this time period contribue to this issue (your answer for #2)?

4. What has changed since then?  What has stayed the same?

5. How does this book help you answer our essential question?

Extending your reading to the world today...

As you read your novel, think about these questions as it compares and contrasts with our culture today...   

  • Examine one instance in which a significant injustice was overcome.
  • Examine an injustice that persists in the United States today.
  • Explore why Americans react to some cases of injustice and tend to ignore others.
  • Identify an important change in the way we battle or define injustice in the United States.
  • Use a historical or contemporary example or case study to argue for the United States as an agent of justice or injustice.

Think Like a Historian: FRAMEWORK


Understand issues emerging in your text

Contextualize the texts' setting (how does the setting explain the issues?)

Connect to today (what about your issue has stayed the same? What hs changed?)

1. List 3-5 issues emerging from your text.

2. The most relevant issue in my book that explains how race shaped the USA is:

3. Contextualize the setting. The time period in my text is ____________________(give time & place).  This time period connects and explains my most relevant issue (answer to #2) because:

List 3-5 facts about your time period; if you don't know, go research!.

4. Connect to today: What about your issue has stayed the same since your text's time period?

5. Connect to today: What about your issue has changed since your time period?

6. In conclusion, ___________________________ (title of the book) has helped me to understand how the issue of ________________has shaped the USA in the following way(s):

Civil Rights Era

"When all the talk, all the propaganda has been cut away, the criterion is nothing but the color of skin. My experience has proved that. They judged me by no other quality. My skin was dark. That was sufficient reason for them to deny me those rights and freedoms without which life loses its significance and becomes a matter of little more than animal survival."

John Howard Griffin, Black Like Me