The purpose of this curriculum unit is to engage students in a classroom "outside school walls", as well as, exploring their bloodlines to ignite a family centered dialogue about origin and pride. The scope of this unit deals with Immigration and Migration of the Latino and African-American ethnic groups. While these groups share histories of migration and struggle, students will also learn how histories of race, ethnicity and class dramatically shaped the possibilities for migrants upon their arrival in northern cities. This curriculum unit will help to empower students whose family histories may indeed be complicated, but worth exploring. They will create a documentary which includes placing the students on a journey back to their homelands regarding immigration/migration into American cities. This is a historical and educational experience that will engage students with many linkages and connections to United States History. They will virtually travel in the same footsteps as their ancestors by uncovering the story behind their migrating from the South (or other homelands), aligning with benchmarks, and bringing life to the history books.
I currently teach two US History 11
grade classes, and provide support for the students with special needs at a magnet school with challenging behaviors and low-academic performance. This is an alternate placement, where students come from sending schools throughout the district, where they have experienced very little success in their educational environments. But at our school, they flourish and benefit from a small and flexible learning environment, as well as having the opportunity to build on small successes. We believe that our school must engage, value, challenge, and provide success to all our students, and that our students can grow to higher levels of achievement no matter the other obstacles in their lives.
Never before has such a demand been placed on schools, even schools that are lacking financially. The students' basic needs outside of school aren't being met. The educational and social issues are just as challenging today as yesterday, but our school is faced with different social-ills than in the past. How do educators change dysfunctional families, increase parental involvement or make schools safe from gangs and violence? Students are experiencing life tragedies and are forced to face real world issues before they complete high school. Many lack the necessities of life like: food, shelter and clothing. Schools must increasingly serve as safe havens for students, many whom come from dysfunctional families and neighborhoods. Many don't know their parentage, or at least their family's bloodline. Family history might be painful to some, or an unimportant factor to others. More undocumented migrants are attending public schools. Efforts are being made toward citizenship for young people who came to the United States illegally, but the government is making provisions for those who continue to live in United States. All these are factors in exploring the family bloodline; however, my goal is to encourage learning while embracing family empowerment. The struggles of low-income, minority families are often portrayed simply as sets of social problems that disempowered families. And this is where your unit would be helpful because you're making clear that the students' family histories are worth exploring.
My concept of learning is that learning is new, observable, and measureable knowledge. I believe learning can be modified by the way knowledge is acquired through different types of information. Learning is an on-going process and can occur through education, personal development, school or training. And learning theories allow us to better serve the diverse learning styles of our students and educate them for a wider range of intelligence. Everybody has different learning styles for meaningful learning, but teachers cannot represent all the styles in a traditional classroom environment. With the flexibility and help of the learning, we can design learning environments in which students can manage and construct their own representations of knowledge in their minds. By exploring, mapping, charting, and graphing the students' bloodlines, this will prove to be a worthwhile unit. Finding out that their great-great grandparent was born a slave, but died a businessman is worth knowing. Or offer studying the family history of a neighbor or friend. It's important that they see ordinary lives as important to study. In addition, it will allow the students to connect or crossed reference their origins, or in the cases where students are unaware of their particular bloodline and experience challenges uncovering information, that student will be able to chose a well-known American or celebrity in which they have a connection, and develop a map of their bloodline.
The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were a period of extreme social change in the US and the labor force. It was a time when racial difference was quite complicated and there were concerns of middle class white Americans with both European immigrants and the migrations of African Americans in this period. One of the concerns was that the integration of freed slaves into the American labor force after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, as well as the unprecedented migration of foreign immigrants and rural African Americans into urban areas, gave rise to acute racial tensions. African Americans were exposed to a range of mostly white middle-class responses to the racial crisis that were reflected in housing, jobs, and discriminatory treatment. Another concern was that it was a very different kind of discrimination in the north than what African Americans had experienced in the south. Many witnessed the rise of white mob rule in the Jim Crow South and the simultaneous exodus of hundreds of thousands of African Americans to the North. Where there were Jim Crow laws to oppress African Americans in the south; the North had exhibited hidden racism practices, poor work conditions, low wages and the possibility of no job advancement, and housing segregation excluded from unions. The migration to the north was celebrated by crossing over to the "Promised Land" with shouts, hugs and kisses, but to be faced with rejection from white Americans, somewhat like the treatment of European immigrants, which was very devastating to the African Americans. Others were concerned about how the labor force in the south was mainly agricultural, while in the North it was industrial. As the US economy became increasingly industrialized, vast disparities in income arose between the upper classes and the working poor, African Americans, Native Americans, and European immigrants. The working poor were not extended the same privileges, and relied upon progressive legislation to receive humane education and exemption from labor, though that there were different possibilities for advancement for these groups. For example, industrial labor though difficult offered Euro immigrants more econ opportunities. Finally, the post war demands also created a division between races. After World War I, the labor wars began; soldiers fighting for jobs, immigrants losing jobs, Chicago Riot of 1919 over housing and neighborhood control, to mention a few things. As Grossman indicated in his book,
Land of Hope
, "the simplest explanation of the Great Migration, at what one might call the macro-historical level, is that it happened because of the impact of the war on the labor market."
The Great Migration was the movement of 6 million African-Americans out of the rural Southern United States to the Northeast, Midwest, and West for most of the 20th century. Before the Depression, moving north had been a major way for Southern African Americans to find higher-paying jobs. As in the early 50's, my parents were part of the great migration to the North. They resided in Newton Grove, North Carolina until they found themselves blocked from the better agricultural jobs, and were forced to accept lower-wage employment. My unit addresses the migration of African –Americans, as to how they left the oppressed south (small rural town) to the land of good and plenty in the North, of course, that was the perception of the North, but not the case. The African American migration decreased the European immigration in 1924. Some historians differentiate between the first Great Migration (1910–1930), numbering about 1.6 million migrants, who left mostly rural areas to migrate to northern and mid-western industrial cities, and after a lull during the Great Depression, a Second Great Migration (1940 to 1970) in which 5 million or more people moved, including many to California and other western cities. The unit also explores the bloodlines of other Europeans, because they too were faced with the hustle and bustle of the large city life, trying to survive being a newcomer by working very hard. In many ways, the end of that European immigration pushed up demand for southern black labor in the urban north.
Black migration picked up from the start of the new century, with 204,000 leaving in the first decade. When the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863, less than eight percent of the African-American population lived in the Northeastern or Midwestern United States. African-Americans were mentioned only by race prior to the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation in the census records. The censuses were taken every ten years. After 1870, African Americans were listed by name, race, and grouped with the head of the household. Therefore, by examination of census records, the students will demonstrate the competency for problem solving and critical thinking, accessing and analyzing information, communication and collaboration, accountability, citizenship and responsibility. They will virtually travel in the same footsteps as their ancestors, by uncovering the story behind their migrating from to the South (or other homelands) and bringing life to the history books. There is the perception that the conditions of the south have been better than during the Reconstruction, Depression and Jim Crow eras. This will be relevant because a reverse migration had gathered strength since 1965, dubbed the New Great Migration, the term for demographic changes from 1965 to the present in which many blacks have returned to the South, generally to states and cities where economic opportunities are the best. Since 1965, economic difficulties of cities in the Northeastern and Midwestern United States, growth of jobs in the "New South" with lower costs of living, family and kinship ties, and improving racial relations have all acted to attract African Americans to the Southern United States in substantial numbers. As early as 1975 to 1980, seven southern states were net black migration gainers. African-American populations continue to drop throughout much of the Northeast, particularly with black emigration out of the state of New York, as well as out of Northern New Jersey, as they rise in the Southern United States James Gregory Bennett calculates decade-by-decade migration volumes in his book,
The Southern Diaspora
The unit will address visual, audio, tactile and kinesthetic learners. The demographics at my school are thirty percent Latino Americans, sixty percent African-American and ten percent of other nationalities. That is why the Great Migration experience is instrumental in the learning process for my students, and for them to know the perseverance of and to develop positive relationships about their ancestors. My curriculum unit is called "
Exploring Bloodlines through Immigration and Migration"
. The activities will include placing the students on a journey back to their homelands; which suggests that the students will research a database of digitized material on African, Caribbean, Jamaican, Spanish, European, etc. regarding immigration/migration into American cities. This is a historical and educational experience that will engage students with many linkages and connections to United States History.
In essence, the student will be able to create a documentary as their final project about the 20
Century and the Great Migration. By 1910s-30s, tensions between African Americans and Irish were not anywhere near what it had been in 19
century as discussed by Anbinder and Harris. During the early 20
century, the Irish had very much established themselves in U.S. cities. The documentary will exhibit how between 1910 and 1930, the African-American population increased by about forty percent in Northern states as a result of the migration, mostly in the major cities, including Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, and New York City; which had some of the biggest increases in the early part of the 20th century. Some of the highlights will be how Blacks were recruited for industrial jobs, such as positions with the expansion of the Pennsylvania Railroad, but as the economy declined, many African Americans lost their jobs to unemployed white workers, the "last hired, was first fired", many share croppers' that lost their jobs when farmers were in less demand and married women lost their jobs to men. The documentary will address the changes which were concentrated in cities, and had also attracted millions of new or recent European immigrants. Much thought will remain focused on how the tensions developed as the people competed for jobs and housing. Tensions were often most severe between whites, defending their recently gained positions and territory, and between recent immigrants and blacks.
New York was the gateway for immigrants to enter into the northeast, and the location was ideal for transportation by ship. Many immigrants travelled for weeks to reach the United States. Eric Homberger's book,
The Historical Atlas of New York City
, a visual celebration of nearly 400 years of New York City's history, is a great selection of maps, drawing and charts, and an in depth history to engage students with a walk in New York City prior to the 19
century. However, at the building of the city in the early 1600's, the presence of the Dutch was in New York City. Then the British came between the era of 1664-1783, and African Americans were among the early settlers at that time. African Americans arrived in New York through the oppression of slavery before the Roman Catholics and decades prior to Jews arriving from Curaco. During the 19
Century, the culture of New York was vastly changing, Taverns played a role in politics, and amusement was sought through activities at Central Park and Coney Island.
At the turn of the 20
century, there were Jewish, Eastern European, and Italian enclave, and the Irish was dominating the neighborhoods. The Latinos had similar experiences migrating to the North as the European immigrants and the African Americans. They were considered the newcomers, and received the treatment marginal to their consciousness. After the nineteenth century and World War I, Puerto Rican settlements in New York City continued through various social and economic processes. As Virginia E. Sanchez Korrol mentioned in her book,
From Colonia to Community, The History of Puerto Ricans in New York City, 1917-1948
, "changes in the island's economic structure increasingly led to both internal and external emigration to the mainland. Instigated by a poorly integrated labor force, Puerto Rican men, women, and children left their homes. Early Puerto Rican settlers came as merchants and students, as adventures and revolutionaries, and as field and factory workers. The first migration based on commercial factors served as a rehearsal for the next two, which were more politically and economically motivated." The documentary will explore the development of the Puerto Rican settlements, or colonias, in New York during the first four decades of the 20
century. Sugar cane and tobacco processing constituted Puerto Rico's main industries. By mid-1920s, cigar makers suffered a decrease in the industry, due to an increase in cigarette smoking and the Great Depression. "By 1939, because the tobacco industry in Puerto Rico was virtually nonexistent, lack of production lead to an increase in unemployment. During the period of 1930, Puerto Rico's dependency increased on the United States for basic commodities. Virginia E.Sanchez Korrol continues to explain, "Clearly, the movements of people from Puerto Rico to the United States responded basically to economic conditions on the island which in turn created a marginal population outside of the stable work force". European immigration was halted after 1924 in United States, and opportunities for the Puerto Rican migrant workers were increasing for the next two decades.
There were demographic problems in Puerto Rico, and some social scientists agreed that migration was one the best solution to the demographic problem of the Island. Many New York business men needed workers to increase their productivity and welcomed the Puerto Ricans to New York. From the 1930-1950's, the migrants took work below their skilled level, and worked factories, hoping to climb the occupational ladder. Here is where African American and Latinos shared decaying neighborhoods, racial conflicts, and disparity of jobs. In Arlene Davila's book,
Barrios Dreams, Puerto Ricans, Latinos, and The Neoliberal City
, she stated that, "My focus on Latinos is purposeful and part of a growing literature intended to disturb the dominant tenet or urban studies, where issues of race and ethnicity are consistently subsumed to a black-and-white paradigm that veils the complex multiethnic/multiracial dilemmas of contemporary cities." She illustrated how the meaning of East Harlem was to Latinos as Harlem was to African Americans, and how the specificity of current racial, ethnic, and spatial conflicts in East Harlem." How does a community with a long, multicultural immigrant history, formerly Europeans, with a massive immigration of Puerto Ricans from 1900's and peak in 1950's change into a ghetto culture? As East Harlem became "The Island within the City", it was home for many Latinos. East Harlem also embraced one of the fasting growing immigrant groups in the United States, the Mexicans. Presently, the government has created provisions for undocumented immigrants, and allowing them to remain in this country to work as Americans.
As a veteran teacher of 35 years and family historian, I have done extensive research on my family history. I wrote the series,
All Roads Lead to Newton
Grove"; which should be used as a tool to ignite a family centered dialogue about origin and pride. I have appeared in
, the June 27, 2011 issue, featured in an article titled "Healing Slavery's Wounds." Also, I am trained in TV productions and behind the scenes duties such as set design, lighting, and camera work. I believe my research on pre- and post slavery coupled with my training in TV Productions and editing, this unit will provide a fulfilling educational experience for each student.