Remembering a Forgotten Past: The 1906 Atlanta Race Riot

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Remembering a Forgotten Past: The 1906 Atlanta Race Riot

This lesson addresses the theme of events that have not been remembered in local history; the main focus of this lesson is the 1906 Atlanta Race Riot. Students will focus on the specific sites of the riot to understand how an important historical event has been erased from the physical geography of the site and how landmarks can be used to remember victims as well as educate the public about such events. Students will be able to identify and describe sites of historical importance by identifying key historical events that shaped the history and geography of an area. Students will also be able to create a memorial or marker that causes people to remember an event in history by understanding the significance of the historical event and why it was not originally commemorated. This lesson can be used in units that evaluate the Jim Crow era, post-Reconstruction South, sociology of racial and economic stratification, and job competition within economics.

 

Location

Atlanta , GA

Type of Landmark

Building

Topics

20th century
African American
Civil Rights

Learning Objectives

  • Students will be able to identify and describe sites of historical importance by identifying key historical events that shaped the history and geography of an area.
  • Students will be able to create a memorial or marker that causes people to remember an event in history by understanding the significance of the historical event and why it was not originally commemorated.
     

Materials

Primary Sources:

 

Suggested Instructional Procedures

  1. When students come into the classroom, they will be given an image of the 1906 Atlanta Race Riot (handout 1 primary source documents). There are six images, so there will be several copies of each image. This part of the lesson will be done independently; students will get in groups later by locating other students with the same image. Students should identify five things that they notice about the image and then make one conclusion about the image (space to do this is under the image).
  2. Give students an opportunity to share about their image with the class by displaying each image on the board and letting students share their observations and conclusions about what they think is happening in the image (PowerPoint slides 2-7).
  3. Explain to students that, in this lesson, they will be exploring how to remember historical events that haven’t been preserved.
  4. Pass out reading on 1906 Atlanta Race Riot (handout 2). Students should underline main idea in each paragraph. After reading and underlining main points, students should complete graphic organizer identifying the causes and effects of the riot (handout 3).
  5. Teacher will go over the causes and effects of the riot (PowerPoint slide 8).
  6. Teacher will then identify the main sites of the riot using map (PowerPoint slide 9). Teacher will then show students contemporary photos of the main sites and discuss what occurred at each site (slides 10-17 and handout 4 for reference).
  7. Students should then get in groups based on their common images from the beginning of the class. Students will be given a packet of the contemporary photos of the main sites for reference (handout 4). Students should discuss the following questions in groups: If you walked around this area of downtown Atlanta, would you know what had happened? Why or why not? Why do you think that this event was not commemorated through a memorial or by preserving the original site? After a few minutes of small group discussion, open the discussion up to the whole class.
  8. To assess and extend learning, in their groups students should create a memorial to remember the 1906 Atlanta Race Riot. Students should follow guidelines and rubric provided (handout 5).
  9. Optional: Have students present their ideas to the class.
  10. *If you are interested in taking students on the walking tour, please click here.

Vocabulary

Jim Crow: The system of government based racial oppression that came to dominate the southern states after the end of Reconstruction.

Race: A category of humankind that shares certain distinctive physical traits.

Riot: A situation in which a large group of people behave in a violent and uncontrolled way.

Reconstruction: The policy of rebuilding and recreating the society of the American South in the immediate aftermath of the American Civil War. Lasting from 1863-77, the U.S. government used federal troops to enforce the terms of surrender that the South had agreed to at the end of the Civil War, including full citizenship for African-Americans.

Political Activism: To advocate a political cause using protest, civil disobedience, or other means.

Disenfranchisement: To be stripped of the basic rights of citizenship.

Alleged: To be accused of, but not yet proven guilty of, an illicit action.

Assault: To cause harm to someone or something

Harmony: A pleasing arrangement of parts.

Stratified: To be spread throughout society.

End of Lesson Assessment

Focusing question: How can we remember historical events that haven’t been preserved?

Student task: If you walk through these areas of downtown Atlanta you won’t see any markers or monuments to commemorate the tragedy that happened over 100 years ago. Your job is to create a memorial of some kind to commemorate the event.

Your memorial could be a sign with a description of the event, a monument, or anything else you can think of. You must work in your groups and follow the rubric below. If you choose to design something visual like a monument or mural, you must include a written explanation describing how the monument or mural commemorates the event. If you choose to create a sign marker or markers, you must write the inscription that would be displayed. You must indicate where the marker, monument, mural, etc. would go and why.

Rubric for evaluation provided here.