What did the civil rights look like in Iowa and how have the movements affected our current state?
From 1968 to 1976, the Fort Madison NAACP fought plans to widen Highway 61 in a route that would remove many homes owned by Mexican and African Americans who could not buy homes elsewhere in Fort Madison due to discriminatory real estate practices. With help from the national NAACP, the Iowa Department of Transportation was forced to pick a different route for the highway in 1976. This picture was taken during a Highway Commission hearing held in Fort Madison.
Virginia Harper, an active member of the NAACP, helped in fighting against the Iowa State Highway Commission to reroute Highway 61 whose original route went through African-American and Mexican neighborhoods. Harper filed a discrimination complaint against the board, claiming that the highway would "disproportionately harm black and Mexican residents." From 1968-1975, she wrote multiple letters, attended meetings and worked with the NAACP and Highway Commission until they agreed to drop the highway plan. Harper is not pictured in the image.
~ Matthew Miller, Teaching Iowa History Team
Lesson Supporting Question
How did the NAACP’s actions represent the early plans of the association by the president of the NAACP Iowa-Nebraska Conference?
Initial discussion on what students know about the NAACP, if nothing, the civil rights movement. Students will write down ideas that will be used later. A short clip of the president of the Iowa-Nebraska Conference will be played as students write down key ideas. Students will then read through and investigate a picture of an NAACP meeting in Iowa and his goals. The worksheet that will be handed out after reading (popcorn reading/group). Students will answer questions about the larger and individual goals of the NAACP and illustrate how Virginia Harper’s actions affected regional infrastructure and challenged de jure segregation.
We will have a brief discussion of any NAACP and civil rights movements prior knowledge (might be review from other lessons). Then I will ask students if they think civil rights was important in Iowa (why or why not, do they know of any key events/people). Have students write these down for the rest of the lesson.
The video of the NAACP Iowa-Nebraska State Conference president, Robert A. Wright Sr. played in the front of the class (projector). Instruct students to write down 3-5 man ideas, things that stood out to them, or questions.
Students will read the background and analyze the image of the Fort Madison NAACP through questions.
Students will then illustrate the aim of the NAACP in Fort Madison provided, it does not need to be precise, but students somehow need to illustrate how the widened highway would remove homes (ex. Students draw in and designate homes of Mexicans and African Americans that would be affected. Students will then summarize the goals of the NAACP and how they were implemented in Iowa, as well as the challenges of the organization.
Formative Assessment (How will you use the formative assessments to monitor and inform instruction?)
The formative assessment will be in the form of discussion and what students know from prior knowledge. This assessment should be used to adjust how much time is spent on the introduction, although this should not be the first civil rights unit covered, so the students should know something.
Summative Assessment (How does the lesson connect to planned summative assessment(s)?)
The final assessment, illustrating and predicting the effects of the NAACP through a map and brief summary of the goals of the NAACP, goals, challenges, and practice will broaden students' understanding of how a national issue occurred on local levels and different forms of segregation.