ALEX Lesson Plan

W.E.B. DuBois, Booker T. Washington, and Jim Crow

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Alabama Department of Archives and Hist
System: Informal Education Partner
School: Informal Education Partner
The event this resource created for:Alabama History Education Initiative
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 34026


W.E.B. DuBois, Booker T. Washington, and Jim Crow


Students will use primary sources to compare and contrast the viewpoints of two notable persons (Booker T. Washington & W.E.B. Du Bois) of the early 1900s and identify the influence they had on the civil rights movement, especially the Jim Crow Laws.

This lesson was created as a part of the Alabama History Education Initiative, funded by a generous grant from the Malone Family Foundation in 2009.

Author Information: Tammy Brown (Cohort 1: 2009-2010)

Central Elementary School Madison County School System Huntsville, AL

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
Social Studies
SS2010 (2010)
Grade: 6
United States Studies: The Industrial Revolution to the Present
4 ) Identify cultural and economic developments in the United States from 1900 through the 1930s.

•  Describing the impact of various writers, musicians, and artists on American culture during the Harlem Renaissance and the Jazz Age
Examples: Langston Hughes, Louis Armstrong, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Andrew Wyeth, Frederic Remington, W. C. Handy, Erskine Hawkins, George Gershwin, Zora Neale Hurston (Alabama)

•  Identifying contributions of turn-of-the-century inventors
Examples: George Washington Carver, Henry Ford, Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Alva Edison, Wilbur and Orville Wright (Alabama)

•  Describing the emergence of the modern woman during the early 1900s
Examples: Amelia Earhart, Zelda Fitzgerald, Helen Keller, Susan B. Anthony, Margaret Washington, suffragettes, suffragists, flappers (Alabama)

•  Identifying notable persons of the early 1900s
Examples: Babe Ruth, Charles A. Lindbergh, W. E. B. Du Bois, John T. Scopes (Alabama)

•  Comparing results of the economic policies of the Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover Administrations
Examples: higher wages, increase in consumer goods, collapse of farm economy, extension of personal credit, stock market crash, Immigration Act of 1924

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SS.AAS.6.4- Identify at least one or more inventions and inventors of the late 1800s and early 1900s, including Thomas Edison (practical light bulb), Alexander Graham Bell (telephone), George Washington Carver (uses for the peanut), Wright Brothers (airplane), and Henry Ford (affordable car); illustrate the cultural changes of the early 1900s presented by at least one or more individuals including, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Zora Neale Hurston, Helen Keller, Babe Ruth, W. C. Handy, and Charles Lindbergh.

Social Studies
SS2010 (2010)
Grade: 6
United States Studies: The Industrial Revolution to the Present
9 ) Critique major social and cultural changes in the United States since World War II.

•  Identifying key persons and events of the modern Civil Rights Movement
Examples: persons—Martin Luther King Jr.; Rosa Parks; Fred Shuttlesworth; John Lewis (Alabama)

events—Brown versus Board of Education, Montgomery Bus Boycott, student protests, Freedom Rides, Selma-to-Montgomery Voting Rights March, political assassinations (Alabama)

•  Describing the changing role of women in United States' society and how it affected the family unit
Examples: women in the workplace, latchkey children

•  Recognizing the impact of music genres and artists on United States' culture since World War II
Examples: genres—protest songs; Motown, rock and roll, rap, folk, and country music

artists—Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Hank Williams (Alabama)

•  Identifying the impact of media, including newspapers, AM and FM radio, television, twenty-four hour sports and news programming, talk radio, and Internet social networking, on United States' culture since World War II

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SS.AAS.6.9- Define civil rights movement; identify key figures and events of the Civil Rights movement, including Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Montgomery Bus Boycott, and the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing; identify culturally influential music from the post-World War II world including, Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Bob Dylan, and Jimi Hendrix.

Social Studies
SS2010 (2010)
Grade: 11
United States History II: The Industrial Revolution to the Present
2 ) Evaluate social and political origins, accomplishments, and limitations of Progressivism. [A.1.a., A.1.b., A.1.c., A.1.d., A.1.e., A.1.f., A.1.i., A.1.k.]

•  Explaining the impact of the Populist Movement on the role of the federal government in American society
•  Assessing the impact of muckrakers on public opinion during the Progressive movement, including Upton Sinclair, Jacob A. Riis, and Ida M. Tarbell
Examples: women's suffrage, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, temperance movement

•  Explaining national legislation affecting the Progressive movement, including the Sherman Antitrust Act and the Clayton Antitrust Act
•  Determining the influence of the Niagara Movement, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Booker T. Washington, W. E. B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, and Carter G. Woodson on the Progressive Era
•  Assessing the significance of the public education movement initiated by Horace Mann
•  Comparing the presidential leadership of Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and Woodrow Wilson in obtaining passage of measures regarding trust-busting, the Hepburn Act, the Pure Food and Drug Act, the Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Reserve Act, and conservation

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SS.AAS.11.2- Identify the goals of the Progressive movement; identify people and/or describe major events and developments in the United States during the Progressive movement.

Local/National Standards:

NationalStandards for History, 1996

Standards in History for Grades 5-12 (p. 73)

Era 7, Standard 1 – How Progressives and others addressed problems of industrial capitalism, urbanization, and political corruption.

1A – The student understands the origin of the Progressives and the coalitions they formed to deal with issues at the local and state level.

1B – The student understands Progressivism at the national level.

1C – The student understands the limitations of Progressivism and the alternatives offered by various groups.


National Council for the Social Studies, (Bulletin 89, 1994) Standard V – Individuals, Groups, and Institutions, High School

Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of interactions among individuals, groups, and institutions, so that the learner can:

h. explain and apply ideas and modes of inquiry drawn from behavioral science and social theory in the examination of persistent issues and social problems.

Primary Learning Objective(s):

The students will be able to:

  • identify two notable persons (Booker T. Washington & W.E.B. Du Bois) of the early 1900s
  • compare and contrast their viewpoints on the Jim Crow Laws
  • explain how each man influenced the civil rights movement

Additional Learning Objective(s):

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

31 to 60 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

Technology Resources Needed:

  • Computer with internet access
  • LCD projector 
  • PowerPoint


  • The students should be familiar with the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the United States Constitution.


Engagement/Motivation Activity:
The teacher will ask students to imagine laws such as the following:

  • All blacks shall be required to own real property in order to qualify to vote. (New York)
  • Black children shall be prohibited from attending Pittsburgh schools.
  • No person or corporation shall require any white female nurse to nurse in wards or rooms in hospitals, either public or private, in which Negro men are placed. (Alabama)
  • It shall be unlawful for a Negro and white person to play together or in company with each other at any game of pool or billiards. (Alabama)
  • No colored barber shall serve as a barber [to] white women or girls. (Georgia)
  • The officer in charge shall not bury, or allow to be buried, any colored persons upon ground set apart or used for the burial of white persons. (Georgia)

After students react to these laws, the teacher will explain that laws such as these existed in the United States and became known as “Jim Crow” laws.


Step 1 Show slides 1-7 on “Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois: Two Paths to Ending Jim Crow” PowerPoint.

Step 2 Ask students the following questions:

  • “What is the purpose of a trade school education?”
  • “What is the purpose of a traditional four-year college education?”
  • “Is either type of post-high school education more valid than the other?” Allow time for student discussion.

Step 3 Divide the class into four groups. Pass out a picture (Smith-Hughes & Howard University Photos under attachments) to each group along with the Photo Analysis Worksheet (under attachments) from the National Archives. Give the groups time to analyze the pictures by answering the questions on the worksheet. After the groups have analyzed the photographs, allow a spokesman from each group to share answers to the questions while the teacher shows the appropriate picture on the PowerPoint (slides 8-11).

Step 4 Show the remaining PowerPoint slides about W. E. B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington. During the PowerPoint, students will use the Compare/Contrast Matrix to draw their own conclusions about the viewpoints of Washington and Du Bois.  After the PowerPoint, allow students to share their conclusions.


Step 5 Pass out the poem, “Booker T. and W. E. B.” to students. Allow individuals time to silently read the poem. Ask for volunteers to read the poem out loud to the class. Then ask the students, “How does the poem illustrate the differences between Washington and Du Bois?”

Step 6 Remind students of the information given on the PowerPoint concerning the backgrounds of Washington and Du Bois. Ask the students, “How did the backgrounds of each influence their points of view?” Students will Think-Pair- Share. Teacher will call on partners to share their thoughts with the class.


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Assessment Strategies

Grade the Compare/Contrast Matrix for accuracy. Consider both men's views on civil rights, political power, and education for African Americans.


Students can research other notable persons of the civil rights movement such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X and compare & contrast their views to Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois.


Students needing reinforcement may watch the videos on Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois 

View the Special Education resources for instructional guidance in providing modifications and adaptations for students with significant cognitive disabilities who qualify for the Alabama Alternate Assessment.