Teaching About Voting Rights: Online Resources
This year marks 150 years since the 15th Amendment promised “the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”
Following the Amendment’s adoption, white supremacists waged a campaign of disenfranchisement to destroy its impact. After decades of struggle, through legal action, civil disobedience, and mass politics, the 1965 Voting Rights Act helped secure the promises of the 15th Amendment.
But in 2020, the right to vote is increasingly under attack. As today’s voting rights activists combat new forms of disenfranchisement, it is vital that educators provide students historical context.
We share here resources for educators that can be accessed online for free.
Civil Rights Teaching
Resources from CivilRightsTeaching.org.
The United States has a long history of limiting the right to vote of women and people of color through property ownership, taxes, registration and residency laws, and tests. The readings and lessons here will empower students to think critically about recent events and continue the fight to ensure voting rights for all Americans.
We’ve all seen the iconic image of President Lyndon Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965. But what do we know of the history that led to the signing of the legislation? This quiz can challenge assumptions, deepen understanding, and inspire further learning about the voting rights struggle.
An exploration of Freedom Schools allows students and teachers to explore the purpose and possibilities of public education today. This lesson uses primary documents to introduce the history and philosophy of Freedom Schools. The lesson is inquiry-based, hands-on, and engages students in critical reflection. Therefore, students learn about Freedom Schools not only from the readings, but they also experience the pedagogy.
Zinn Education Project
Resources from ZinnEdProject.org.
A unit with three lessons on voting rights, including the history of the struggle against voter suppression in the United States. Lesson one asks students to consider the question of who should vote. The second lesson asks students to predict how policymakers might have restricted the right to vote for certain groups to thwart movements and laws that expanded voting rights. The final lesson is a mixer role play in which students learn about a variety of people with firsthand experience having their voting rights granted or denied.
Social Justice Books
Resources from SocialJusticeBooks.org.
Selected titles for young readers on voting rights.
Color of Change
Resources from ColorofChange.org.
The national racial justice organization Color of Change is offering a Toolkit for Voting Rights Activists as part of the campaign to teach about voting rights in this 150th anniversary year of the 15th Amendment.
March 19, 2020