The older students are part of a Reconstruction unit. First students considered What is history? Who cares? Why study it?” This led us to the Declaration of Independence and a discussion of why and when it was written. What is “Freedom.” What can and should a person own? We then watched part of Lincoln, a film that covers the Civil War, why it was fought and Lincoln’s struggles to pass the 13th Amendment.
Using a Cobblestone magazine, students read articles about putting the union back together, President Lincoln’s Reconstruction plans, the impeachment of Andrew Johnson, and the struggle for education. After watching episodes from Joy Hakim’s History of US, students discussed what freedom meant to the newly freed slaves. What could they do in 1866 that they were unable to do in1864. In these articles the children learned about the South’s insistence of keeping the former slaves under control by using the Black Codes, Jim Crow laws, and controlling voting rights.