Teaching 'The New Jim Crow'
Lesson 3: Slavery as a Form of Racialized Social Control
- How did slavery function as a mechanism of racialized social control?
- How did racial hierarchy adapt and persist after Emancipation?
- Throughout its history, the United States has been structured by a racial caste system. From slavery, to Jim Crow to mass incarceration, these forms of racialized social control reinvented themselves to meet the needs of the dominant social class according to the constraints of each era.
- Students will explain how categories of race were socially constructed as a method of controlling slaves and perpetuating the institution of chattel slavery.
- Students will describe how slavery was maintained by systematically preventing white and black members of poor and lower classes from forming alliances.
- Students will begin to trace the evolution of racial hierarchy after emancipation.
- Chapter 1 excerpt: “Slavery as a Form of Racialized Social Control”
Note: This lesson focuses on a subsection of Chapter 1, “The Rebirth of Caste.”
- Text-Dependent Questions for “Slavery as a Form of Racialized Social Control”
- cut up pieces of text from the excerpt for use with Text Graffiti
- Text Graffiti strategy
- Thinking Notes strategy
- Shared Reading strategy
- Say Something strategy
- Text Talk Time strategy
- Fishbowl strategy
- Socratic Seminar strategy
- The Rebirth of Caste handout (student version)
- The Rebirth of Caste handout (teacher version)
- definitions of select tier II and II words
- mini-lessons or additional information to build students’ background knowledge
- How to Ask and Answer Text-Dependent Questions Guide
Background Knowledge and Knowledge Areas
- Civil War
- Early American colonial period
- European imperialism
- Declaration of Independence
- Reconstruction Era
Tier II and III vocabulary
- chattel slavery
- indentured servitude
- Reconstruction era
Write the prompt (below) on the board and allow students time to quietly and independently respond in writing. If you have a journal procedure, use it here. Allow time for sharing and discussion.
Complete the prompts “Something I know … ,” “Something I believe … ” and “Something I wonder ... ” about each of the following (totaling nine responses):
Prepare students for thinking about the themes and topics in the excerpt “Slavery as a Form of Racialized Social Control” with the strategy below.
Text Graffiti exposes students to short pieces of the text prior to having them read the full excerpt. Students read selected quotes out of context, silently comment on the quote and then respond to their peers’ comments.
Engage students in a close reading of the excerpt. Use the text-dependent questions provided to build comprehension through textual analysis, or create your own to develop this thinking habit among students.
1. First Read. Have students read the excerpt independently and silently, marking the text with Thinking notes. Thinking notes are annotations (highlights, underlines or symbols) that students make to document their thinking during reading.
2. Second Read. Facilitate a Shared Reading of the excerpt.
You can modify shared reading for partner or paired readers with a Say Something activity, during which students take turns reading aloud to each other, stopping occasionally to comment on or question the text.
Facilitate a class discussion that centers on asking and answering the text-dependent questions, including the student-created questions. Discussions can be structured in a number of ways. Here are three suggestions:
- Text Talk Time is a whole class discussion structured to facilitate rich dialogue, active listening and use of textual evidence. The group setting challenges students to analyze The New Jim Crow through collaborative discussion and gives students an opportunity to practice answering questions they may later be asked to write about.
- Fishbowl is an engaging and student-centered strategy that builds comprehension while developing group discussion skills. In the inner circle, or fishbowl, students have a text-based discussion and practice responding to multiple points of view; students in the outer circle listen to the discussion and take notes.
- Socratic Seminar is an inquiry-driven discussion in which students examine issues and respond to open-ended questions about the themes and topics in a text. Using dialogue rather than debate to communicate, students listen attentively and respond civilly. But they are also expected to think critically, make persuasive claims and counterclaims and generate questions supported by evidence.
Recall for students the title of Chapter 1: “The Rebirth of Caste.” In this chapter, Alexander provides an historical overview to illustrate the persistence of racial hierarchy and the evolution of racial caste systems in the United States.
Have students plot what they have learned in this lesson onto the Rebirth of Caste graphic organizer. You can do this as a class, in partners or small groups or with students working independently. The list below can help students get started:
- Bacon’s Rebellion
- chattel slavery
- Civil War
- demand for cheap labor
- racial bribe of white supremacy
- Reconstruction Era
Have students return to their “I know … , I wonder … , I believe … ” responses from the Warm Up.
- Has anything you thought you knew changed? Explain.
- Have any of your beliefs changed? Explain.
- Were any of the things you wondered about answered? Explain.
- What new questions do you have?