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Analyze the post-Civil War struggles of women and African Americans in gaining basic civil rights
Focus Question: How did women struggle to gain basic civil rights in post-Civil War America?
For more, see
AP United States History 17
Suffrage parade in Washington
Explore the Women's Movement
from Ken Burns'
Not For Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony
Woman Suffrage and the 19th Amendment: Failure is Impossible
is a reader theater lesson plan based on primary sources from the National Archives.
Votes For Women: Selections from the National American Women Suffrage Foundation
is a digitized collection of suffrage documents from the Library of Congress.
The Women's Rights Movement, 1848-1920
from the United States House of Representatives
Suffragette banner carried in picket of the White House, 1918
for teaching modules on women's roles from 1837-1933
for "Women's Suffrage: Their Rights and Nothing Less" from the Library of Congress
for the lesson plan "Suffragists and Their Tactics" from the Library of Congress
Women's Fight for the Vote: The Nineteenth Amendment
. The 19th Amendment was ratified on August 18, 1920.
Test Your Women's History IQ
from the National Women's History Project.
For a children's literature connection, see
The Taxing Case of the Cows: A True Story about Suffrage.
Abby, Julia and the Cows
from American Heritage Magazine.
Below is a lesson plan on Women's Suffrage with a music element.
Wyoming was the first individual state to legalize white women's suffrage, in 1869. The fight continued, however, for national suffrage. In a 1917 national rally for white women's suffrage, Wyoming sent
to represent the state. Bellamy was also the state's first female state representative, and she worked extensively with the League of Women Voters and Carrie Chapman Catt.
For the Schoolhouse Rock video on women's suffrage, click
African American Women and Suffrage
Anna Julia Haywood Cooper, 1892
For background, see
Black Women & The Suffrage Movement: 1848-1923
Anna Julia Cooper biography
. She was an author, educator and African American scholar.
For more on African American woman and woman suffrage, see
Ida B. Wells-Barnett and Her Passion for Justice
Susan B. Anthony
Anthony was born in Adams, Massachusetts in 1820. She was raised a Quaker.
She was a teacher for 15 years and then became active in the temperance movement. However, she was not allowed to speak at temperance rallies because she was a woman.
She met Elizabeth Cady Stanton during this time. The two women became partners in their fight for women's suffrage.
They started the American Equal Rights Association in 1866 and the newspaper,
, in 1868
They supported each state individually passing women's suffrage amendments instead of one national amendment. Go here to learn about the passage of a
women's suffrage amendment in Colorado in 1893
from the Women of the West Museum. See also,
Woman Suffrage in Colorado, 1877-1893
Anthony was arrested for voting illegally. She refused to pay her bus fare for the ride to court because she felt she was traveling at the government's expense. In court, the jury was ordered to find her not guilty and she was fined $100.
In 1877, she gathered 10,000 signatures from 26 states supporting women's suffrage, which was presented to Congress and laughed at. Anthony spoke before Congress from 1881 to 1885 to ask for women's suffrage.
Anthony also assisted with writing the book,
History of Women's Suffrage
. She served as both Vice President and President of the National American Women Suffrage Association in her life.
Anthony also worked to end slavery, for the right of women to own property and keep their earnings, and to form women's labor unions.
For more details, read her
from the Susan B. Anthony House.
for a timeline on Anthony's life and activism
For an audio reading of Susan B. Anthony's speech before the court after she was arrested, follow
United States v. Susan B. Anthony
Susan B. Anthony
In the 1872 Presidential election, Susan B. Anthony and 13 other women voted illegally; the women were arrested and charged with "knowingly voting without having a lawful right to vote." This led to an historic case,
United States v. Susan B. Anthony
Sentencing in the case of United States v. Susan B. Anthony
Speech After Being Convicted of Voting in the 1872 Presidential Election
Anthony's Signature on a 1864 Petition to Congress
An Appeal to Congress for Impartial Suffrage
, Frederick Douglass, January 1867
for activities on petitions from Susan B. Anthony to Congress
for discussion questions on Anthony
Carrie Chapman Catt
Carrie Chapman Catt
Carrie Chapman Catt
Carrie Lane Chapman Catt
was one of the main coordinators of the suffrage movement and was a skillful political strategist. She was born in Wisconsin in 1859 and raised in Iowa. Chapman was the only female in her college's graduating class. She worked as a teacher, principal, and in 1883, she became the first female superintendent. She also became San Francisco's first female journalist. Chapman revitalized the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) and was a leader in its successful campaign to win the rights of women to vote. This league was founded upon the ratification of the nineteenth amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
for a timeline of Carrie Chapman Catt's life
Alice Paul (for more see her entry in
Influential Women in American History
Alice Stokes Paul
was born on January 11, 1885, in Moorestown, New Jersey.
Alice was the first-born child of William Mickle Paul and Tacie Parry Paul. Her father was a banker and a businessman who served as the president of the Burlington County Trust Company. Alice had two brothers named William Jr. and Parry and a sister named Helen. Her family, being Hixsite Quakers, believed in gender equality, education for women, and working for the betterment of society. Tacie often brought Alice to her women’s suffrage meetings.
Alice Paul earned degrees in law and social work while studying in London. She also joined the radical British suffrage movement.
After being jailed several times, she returned to the United States in 1910, determined to put new life into The National American Women Suffrage Association (NAWSA).
This old organization was still focused on state-by-state campaigns, while Alice preferred to lobby congress for a suffrage amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
She first worked within the NAWSA and then moved to working in her own rival organizations. Soon, she demonstrated her political savvy, stealing the spotlight at the inauguration of Woodrow Wilson with a huge suffrage parade. When Wilson was slow to aid her cause, Alice adopted the British strategy of holding the powerful party responsible.
The group that she was in, the Congressional Union, was campaigning against Democrats in the states in which women already had the right to vote. Alice led her group in tactics such as picketing the White House and other more militant tactics.
The film "Iron Jawed Angels" is based on Alice Paul and
work for women's suffrage. It is on youtube.com in 12 parts. Click
for part one.
for lessons that accompany "Iron Jawed Angels"
for a short skit on Alice Paul
for a lesson plan on the nonviolent strategies from Alice Paul and the National Women's Party from the National Parks Service
Focus Question: How did African Americans struggle to gain basic civil rights in post-Civil War America?
Drinking fountain on the county courthouse lawn, Halifax, North Carolina, 1938
for a timeline of African American history
Paris 1900: The Exhibit of American Negroes
assembled by Eugene Provenzo, University of Miami reconstructs an exhibit put together by W. E. B. Du Bois, Thomas Calloway and the Historic Black Colleges for the Paris 1900 International Exposition.
Black Farming and Land Loss: A History
from the PBS series
deals with the struggles of African American farmers in the United States since the Civil War. In 1920, Blacks owned 14 percent of the nation's farms; today less than 1 percent of all farms.
The Top Ten African American Inventors
from Scholastic, including Elijah McCoy, Lewis Latimer, Granville T. Woods, and Madam C. J. Walker.
Documenting Our Past: The Teenie Harris Project
from the Carnegie Museum of Art is an archive of 1,500 photographs taken by Teenie Harris, photographer for thePittsburgh Courier, "one of the largest and most influential Black newspapers in the country," documents African American urban life in Pittsburgh from the 1930s to the 1960s.
See Dramatic Event Page on the
Atlanta Washerwomen Strike
The Niagara Movement
W.E.B. DuBois met with other African American men in 1905. The group originally planned to meet on the American side of Niagara Falls. However, there was no American hotel that would accept the group. As a result, the group met on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls.
At the meeting, the group created a list of demands and principles that African Americans should receive. The list included an end to segregation and discrimination in the unions, courts, and public places.
They also demanded equality in economics and education. However the group was able to do little to effect legislation.
In 1909, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) formed.
This group became the main group fighting for civil rights for African Americans. The NAACP used many of the demands of the Niagara Movement.
Segregated Billiard Hall, Memphis Tennessee, 1939
The Niagara Movement's Declaration of Principles
for learning modules on the Niagara Movement.
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
On the 100th anniversary of the birthday of Lincoln’s birthday on February 12, 1909, sixty black and white citizens, including W.E.B. DuBios, formed the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
Throughout the struggle of African Americans to secure their rights, violence often broke out and the founders of the NAACP found this to be a tragic event and sought to reform this.
Thus, the NAACP was founded on the belief that non-violent protests and legal actions were the most effective ways to secure the equal rights for all Americans.
Over the years, the NAACP persuaded presidents to end racial discrimination in the hiring of workers and in terms of military service. From the original sixty founding members, the organization grew to its over 500,000 current members. The NAACP headquarters is in Baltimore, Maryland. One of the most famous lawyers of the NAACP was Thrugood Marshall who went on to become a member of the Supreme Court.
Pushed by the combined power of Booker T. Washington’s organizations and DuBois’ Niagara Movement, the NAACP created a middle road of interracial cooperation. However, since the end of the Civil Rights Movement, the power of the NAACP has been waning and it has been suffering a decreasing number of memberships and a series of internal scandals.
The first president of the NAACP was
, a White lawyer from Boston, Massachusetts.
for a NAACP timeline with resources
for an interactive timeline from the NAACP. Includes personal testimonies, resources, and history.
Anne Moody was a Mississippi native who joined the NAACP in the post-Civil War era, along with other pro-rights organizations. She detailed her experiences in her memoir,
Coming of Age in Mississippi.
Plessy V. Ferguson Supreme Court Case (1896)
Homer Plessy, a light skinned African American, was arrested for sitting in the "white" car of a train. His lawyer argued that the separate train cars violated the 13th and 14th Amendments. The Supreme Court ruled by a 7 to 1 vote that the doctrine of separate but equal was constitutional, establishing a standard that prevailed for more than 50 years until the Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954.
Supreme Court Justice John Marshall Harlan
The lone dissenter was Justice
John Marshall Harlan
for more information.
For a complete text of the Supreme Court's decision, visit
Harlan's Great Dissent
for a unit plan "Keeping Them Apart:
Plessy v. Ferguson
and the Black Experience in Post-reconstruction America"
for a lesson plan on teaching segregation in the classroom.
African Americans and Baseball
Homestead Grays at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, 1913
In the 20 years after the Civil War, about 200 African American baseball teams formed. They mostly played each other, since only a few areas allowed interracial playing.
In 1890, the National Association of Baseball Players forbade African Americans from playing. This formally banned black teams from the organized leagues for 50 years. However, the African American teams kept playing. They continued to play each other and occasionally faced white teams.
In 1920, Rube Foster (owner of Chicago American Giants) created an all black league: The Negro National League. This league consisted of Midwestern teams. The North and South regions also created their own leagues. These leagues were successful but fell apart during the Clutch Plague.
After the Depression, the National League formed to replace the African American regional teams. The first African American player to be signed to a Major League team was
in 1946, who played for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Slowly, other Major League teams signed African American players and National League disbanded. The last of the National League's African American teams broke up in 1960.
for more information from PBS
For information on African American baseball, go the
Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.
See also the
Negro Baseball Leagues e-Museum
with resources for teachers and students.
Ken Burns has a documentary, "Baseball: the Tenth Inning" that features information on African American baseball players. Click
for the PBS companion site.
Moses Fleetwood Walker
For a short quiz, go to
Baseball in Black and White
Moses Fleetwood Walker
was the first African American to play in the major leagues of professional baseball until Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947.
for an ESPN article from April 19, 2013 on why African Americans are participating less in professional baseball.
to watch a short youtube video on the decline of African Americans in baseball
W.E.B. Du Bois
W.E.B. Du Bois
William Edward Burghardt Du Bois
was a famous scholar, editor, and African American activist and was a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The NAACP is the largest, and oldest, civil rights organization in America. Du Bois set his life to fighting discrimination and racism, making significant contributions to racial, political, and historical aspects of the United States in the first half of the 20thcentury.
Du Bois served as editor of
The Crisis magazine
and also published several scholarly works on race and African American history.
for the current
Click here for a
timeline of Du Bois' life
W.E.B. Du Bois was born in 1868 in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. There were around 25, no more than 50 however, black people in a population of about the 5,000 people of Great Barrington. Du Bois’ mother was a domestic worker and his father was a barber who died when Du Bois was very young. At the age of 15, he became the local correspondent for the
New York Globe
. In this position, Du Bois dedicated his duty to pushing his race, black, forward by the means of lectures and editorials that reflected on the need of blacks to make themselves politicized.
Du Bois’ mother died in 1884 when he was but 16 years old, but he worked on as a timekeeper at a local mill and became the first African American to graduate from the school that he was attending. Du Bois graduated from Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, and received his Ph. D. from Harvard University. Upon doing so, he became a pioneer in the civil rights movement.
Living in Nashville gave him a new experience about African American culture. He also played witness to the effects if racism with which people treat others who have a different skin color than them. It was during this time period that Du Bois’ ideas were shaped his beliefs and ideas about race relations. These ideas would last him his entire lifetime.
On the 100th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, February 12, 1909, 60 black and white citizens, including Du Bois, formed the NAACP, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Du Bois became a member of the NAACP board and edited a journal of opinions called
Du Bois played an important role in the ongoing development of the NAACP. In 1945 he represented the association in San Francisco, California, during the establishment of the United Nations.
In 1899, Daniel A.P. Murray, an African American researcher and historian at the Library of Congress, worked with Du Bois and others to put together pictures and other items to show the state of African Americans as the 20th century began.
In 1900, their award-winning “Negro Exhibition” debuted in Paris, France. In the exhibit, Du Bois showed that African Americans, in the 35 years since the Civil War, had come an amazing distance since being an enslaved people. This exhibition showed that African Americans were and essential and productive part of American society. However, Du Bois and others were aware that stronger measures needed to be installed for the grasping of the full rights of his people.
His role as a pioneering Pan-Africanist was memorialized by the few who understood the genius of the man and neglected by the many who were afraid that his loquacious espousals would unite the oppressed throughout the world into revolution.
Du Bois coined the term "Talented Tenth," referring to his plan to create an elite leadership class of African-Africans that constituted the ten percent most intelligent members of the African-American population. The speech in which he sets forth this idea can be found
By the time of his death in 1963, Du Bois wrote 17 books, edited four journals and played a key role in reshaping black-white relations in America. Click here for the website
Digital Du Bois
from the Du Bois Library at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
for a selection of Du Bois writings by decade.
Click here for an electronic version of
The Souls of Black Folk
for a packet on Du Bois. Includes links to lesson plans and resources.
Marcus Garvey was born in St. Ann’s Bay, Saint Ann Parish, Jamaica, on the seventeenth of August, 1887. His father was Marcus Mosiah Garvey, who was a mason, and his mother was Sarah Jane Richards, who was a domestic worker and farmer. Garvey had eleven siblings. Of this eleven, only Garvey and his sister, Indiana, reached maturity. His father was known to have a large library. Garvey gained his love for reading and interest in books from his father.
He was a published, journalist, entrepreneur, and the founder of the Universal
Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL).
Garvey created a “Back to Africa” movement in the Unites states and became an insparational figure for later civil rights activists. This movement eventually inspired other movements including the
Nation of Islam
, which proclaims Garvey as a prophet. Garvey said that he wanted those of African ancestry to “redeem” Africa. He also wanted the European Colonial powers to leave it.
At the age of 14, Garvey left school and became the apprentice of a printer where he led a strike for higher wages. From 1910 to 1912, he traveled in South and Central America, also visiting London. Upon his return to Jamaica in 1914, Garvey founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) and upon his move to Harlem, New York in 1916, UNIA strived. By this time, Garvey was a formidable speaker and spoke publicly across America.
In 1922, Garvey was arrested for mail fraud in connection with the sale of the stock of the Black Star Line, which was a means of transport of African Americans back to West Africa and was part of his Back to Africa movement. The Black Star Line had failed by then. He was sent to prison and was deported to Jamaica. In 1935, he moved to London permanently. He died on June 10, 1940. In 1964, his body was returned to Jamaica, where he was declared the country’s first national hero.
for primary sources on Garvey, including editorials, memos, and speeches.
for a lesson plan on Garvey and Nationalism
Booker T. Washington
Booker T. Washington
was a lecturer, a civil rights and human rights activist, and an educational administrator as well as a professor and an organization founder and author and poet.
Booker T. Washington was born in Hale’s Ford, Virginia on the Burroughs tobacco farm in 1856. His mother was a black slave who worked as a cook and his father was a white man who had owned a small farm. The laws of the time made Booker a slave also. Booker went to school in Franklin Count as a book carrier for one of James Burroughs’ daughters.
After emancipation Booker’s family was poverty-stricken, forcing Booker to work in salt furnaces and coal mines at the age of 9. He took a job that started at 4:00a.m. so that he could go to school later in the day. His parents had no money to helm him, so he had to walk 200 miles to attend the Hampton Institute in Virginia and had to pay his own tuition and boarding fee by working as a janitor.
Booker thought that an education would raise his people to equality in the United States. He became a teacher, teaching in his hometown and then at the Hampton Institute. In 1881, Booker founded the
Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute
in Tuskegee, Alabama, become recognized as the nation’s top and foremost black educator. As the head of the institute, Booker traveled the country raising funds from blacks and whites alike. In a short time, he became a well-known speaker. In 1895, Booker was asked to speak at the opening of the Cotton States Exposition which was an unprecedented honor for a black person.
speech explained that black could secure their constitutional rights through the betterment of themselves morally and economically, not through the change in legal and political elements. Although his stand angered some blacks, whites approved of his views and thus major achievement was to win over diverse elements among southern whites. Without those people, the programs that Booker had envisioned would not have been actualized.
Press play to listen to the Atlanta Compromise speech
Andrew Carnegie and Robert Ogden visiting Tuskegee in 1906
Booker’s social philosophy was that work was the key to success. "There was no period of my life that was devoted to play," he once wrote, "From the time that I can remember anything, almost everyday of my life has been occupied in some kind of labor."
Booker helped to establish the National Negro Business League, as well as instituting a variety of programs for rural extension work.
Later in his life, Booker moved away from his accommodationist policies. He spoke out with new honesty and attacked racism. In 1915, he joined the ranks with former critics to protest the stereotypical portrayal of blacks in the movie, “
Birth of a Nation
.” Some months later, Booker died at the age of 59. Booker T. Washington is best remembered for helping blacks rise up from economic slavery that held them down long after they were free citizens.
for a lesson plan on Booker T. Washington vs W.E.B. Du Bois
for online resources on Booker T. Washington.
for a timeline on Washington
for the audiobook
Up From Slavery
George Washington Carver
George Washington Carver was born into slavery in 1864.
He was kidnapped along with his sister and mother from the Carver farm when he was only a few weeks old. They were sold on auction in Kentucky, but a Carver family friend found George and returned him to the Carver farm.
After the Civil War, the Carver family adopted and educated George and his brother. After graduating from high school, he was accepted into Highland College in Kansas. The college rescinded his acceptance when they learned he was black. He ended up attending Iowa State Agricultural College, where he was the first black student. He received a bachelor and masters degree in botany. After graduation, he was hired by Booker T. Washington to teach at Tuskegee.
At Tuskegee, he did research on crop rotation and alternative cash crops. These methods helped the struggling African American sharecroppers.
Carver also did a lot of research on peanuts, soybeans, sweet potatoes, and pecans. Carver also researched plastics, paints, dyes, and a special kind of gasoline. He proposed that Congress create a tariff on imported peanuts, which they did. Carver spent a lot of time raising awareness for agriculture, racial equality, and the achievements of Tuskegee.
for the Tuskegee website on Carver. It contains lists of the peanut and sweet potato products that Carver created.
for a full biography on Carver
for an interactive exhibition from the Field Museum on George Washington Carver and his many achievements.
timeline of George Washington Carver's life
from the state Historical Society of Missouri.
Lewis Howard Latimer, 1882
helped develop the first commercially viable electric light. He was the only African American member of Thomas Edison's team of inventors. He was born in Chelsea, Massachusetts.
For a discussion of Lewis Latimer's efforts to represent African Americans as equal members of society, see
Inventing a Better Life: Latimer's Technical Career, 1888-1928
from Rutgers University (
Blueprint for Change: The Life and Times of Lewis H. Latimer
Sayen, Melissa (2007). Carrie Chapman Catt: A Biography. Retrieved April 25, 2007, from Carrie Chapman Catt Web site:
The Library of Congress, (1998). Carrie Chapman Catt. Retrieved April 25, 2007, from National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection Web site:
Hynes, Gerald C. (2007). A Biographical Sketch of W.E.B. DuBois. Retrieved April 25, 2007, from W.E.B. DuBois Learning Center Web site:
Liberty of Congress, (2007). W.E.B. Du Bois. Retrieved April 25, 2007, from America's story from America's library Web site:
Corp, Toonari (2007). Black American History. Retrieved April 25, 2007, from Africanaonline.com Web site:
NAAPC National Headquaters, (2006). History. Retrieved April 25, 2007, from NAACP Web site:
Thomson Gale, (2007). Black history: Booker Taliafero Washington. Retrieved April 25, 2007, from Thomson Gale Web site:
National Park Service. U.S Department of the interior, (2006). Up from slavery. Retrieved April 25, 2007, from Booker T Washinton National Monument Home Page Web site:
British Broadasting Corporation, (2007). Historic figure: Marcus Garvey. Retrieved April 26, 2007, from bbc Web site:
Board of Trustees, (2006). Alice Paul. Retrieved April 26, 2007, from Like Wood Public Library Web site:
National women's hall of fame, (2007). Women of the hall: Alice Paul. Retrieved April 26, 2007, from National women's hall of fame Web site:
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