As unit 1 Topic D5 Pursuing Life and Liberty: Equality in the usa, 1945-68

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AS Unit 1 - Topic D5 Pursuing Life and Liberty: Equality in the USA, 1945-68

The struggle by black people in the USA for equal rights in the years between the end of the Second World War and the assassination of Martin Luther King in 1968.






(a) Introduction - The position in the 1930s for Black Americans
(b) Overview … c1600 – Present: Key Features, Key Events & Key People
(c) Background … 1860s-1830s: From Civil War to Segregation
2 Weeks

What can Jesse Owens’ story tell us?
What impact did the Civil War have on Black Americans? Was it a war to end slavery?
Why did ‘Reconstruction’ give way to ‘Segregation’ during the late 19th century?
What factors led to improvements for Black Americans before the Second World War?

Which individuals/groups played an important role?

To what extent did life improve for Black Americans before the Second World War?

Declaration of Independence (1776) & US Constitution
Slavery, Civil War (1861-65) & President Abraham Lincoln
Reconstruction (1866-77)
Segregation & Jim Crow Laws

Plessy V Ferguson (1896)

Ku Klux Klan & Lynching
NAACP & W.E.B. Du Bois
Booker T Washington
A. Philip Randolph
Marcus Garvey & UNIA (United Negro Improvement Association)
Joe Louis
Paul Robeson

Layers of inference diagram & Cross-Referencing using films (‘Gone with the Wind’, Birth of a Nation, Within Our Gates), music (Strange Fruit)
Living Graph (overview hypothesis)
Mind Map Summaries (x2) – Treatment of Black Americans in the South & North (late 19th/Early 20th century)
Factors Table (focus reasons for improvement) & Diamond 9 (prioritise factors)
‘Top Trump’ Flash Cards (Key Individuals) Use to debate - Who did most to help improve the position of Black Americans?
Period Chart (Summary)


Source handling - Inference

- Cross-Referencing

- Reliability

- Utility




(a) The nature and extent of discrimination and segregation …

The social, political and economic position of black citizens in the USA in the 1940s and early 1950s.

(b) Signs of change by 1955.

2 Weeks

What was the Social, Political, Economic and Legal position of blacks in different parts of the USA?
How, if at all, this position was changing?
Why were things beginning to change? (Consider: impact of the Second World War, Cold War, improving employment prospects, internal migration)
Why was progress slow?
How important was the work of the NAACP? What was the importance of Brown versus Board of Education (1954-55)?
To what extent did opportunities for Black Americans improve between 1945 and 1955?

World War 2 – Migration
March on Washington Movement
James Farmer & CORE (Congress of Racial Equality)
Sit-ins & boycotts
President Truman & ‘To secure these rights’ report (see online)
Segregation ended in armed forces (1948)
Adam Clayton Powell
Roy Wilkins & NAACP (National Association of the Advancement of Coloured People)
Brown V Board of Education Topeka (1954) & Thurgood Marshall
De jure & De facto change
Murder of Emmett Till (1955)

Mind Map & Acronym/Pneumonic (impact WW2)
Comparison Table using criteria (SPEL position in 1945 … North V South)
Factors Table (help and hinder change)
8Q Key Event Summary (Brown Case) for importance see ‘Blue Eyes, Brown Eyes’
Mock Trial: Truman


1. Check/adjust Living Graph (overview hypothesis)

2. Complete Factors Table (help and hinder) & Diamond 9 (prioritise factors)

3. ‘Top Trump’ Flash Cards (Key Individuals) –Debate ratings

4. Continuum Line Debate – Extent of Change by 1955.

5. Period Chart (Summary)


- Decoding Questions

- Question Types (Explain or reach a judgement)

- Concept focus

- Paragraphing (PEE Technique)
Why was progress towards racial equality so slow in the period 1945-1955? (Edexcel p33 - Causation) [Walking Essay]
How far is it accurate to describe Black Americans as second class citizens in the years 1945-55? (SAM 2007 – Key Features) [Plan … Self & Peer Assess against Mark Scheme]
How far did the position of Black Americans improve in the years 1945–55? (June 2009 & ATH - Change)
How accurate is it to say that the status of black people in the United States changed very little in the years 194555? (June 2010)
To what extent was the

NAACP responsible for the successes of the civil rights campaign in the years 1945–57? (Jan 11)

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