Black History Month: The African American Vote
Black History Month: The African American Vote

Black History Month: The African American Vote

I can explain how and when African Americans obtained the right to vote.

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This lesson teaches students about the history of the disenfranchisement of African Americans throughout history, from the passing of the 13th Amendment to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.



Learning Objective

Students will be able to explain how African Americans got the right to vote and describe the obstacles they faced throughout history.


The lesson begins with a K-W-L chart in which students share prior knowledge on the topic of voting. They will also be introduced to vocabulary like, “suffrage” and “disenfranchise.”


Students will learn about each of the amendments to the constitution which have had an impact on citizens’ voting rights. They will also be introduced to the different barriers which prevented groups like African Americans from exercising their right to vote. These include poll taxes, literacy tests, and racial violence. Students will be able to explain how each of these could have been used to disenfranchise African Americans and be shown an example of a literacy test.


Check for understanding with ten true/false and multiple-choice questions.


To conclude, students reflect on whether they look forward to voting in the future and return to the K-W-L chart to list what they learned.

Teaching tips

The lesson includes various engaging discussion questions, allowing students to analyze the information to draw their own reasonable conclusions.

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