Lessons of Emmett Till
This WebQuest is designed
to take students on a journey into the darkness that is race prejudice
and the often-violent means in which it is manifested. Students investigate
the murder of a 14-year-old Chicago boy visiting relatives in Mississippi
in 1955. Emmett Till's lynching may be one of the most important moments
in the history of the Civil Rights Movement. Students approach the
event from different angles to determine how this could have happened
in the America of 1955. The final activity is a moderated forum where
each group presents their findings and takes questions from the audience.
Lessons of Emmett Till addresses
New York State standards in history, geography, civics, behavioral
studies, life skills, mathematics, technology, and art.
include several computers
with Internet access and word processing (Word, AppleWorks),
and drawing or photo manipulation programs (Photoshop, Illustrator)
as well as a spreadsheet creator (Excel), a copy machine, and, possibly,
conventional drawing or painting tools.
This is a project for
more mature students, as some of the images provided are disturbing
and not suitable for younger students. This project is listed as being
appropriate for high school students or more advanced junior high
Lessons of Emmett Till approaches its topic
from many angles and requires students to get involved from various
directions. They make written reports that include charts they create
from the information mined in guided web activities. They discuss
not only what happened to this young man, but how these same issues relate to today's world.
The teacher is to
be advised of the
shocking nature of some of the images and descriptions provided within
The most shocking image, that of young Mr. Till's body as it was displayed
at his funeral, has been omitted from the sites provided, but the
students may discover it on their own with additional research. These
images are important, but you must judge for yourself as to what is
appropriate for you, your students, and your community.
About the teacher:
Larry Buskey began his
career as a teacher and filmmaker interested in media education and
is one of the founders of Rise & Shine Productions. One of Rise
& Shine's best-known programs is the Poetry Video Learning Project,
an award-winning experiment in education that combines the teaching
of poetry with the skills allowing students to then translate their
words into images and sound for the screen. He went on to earn an
MFA in film production at Bard College and is currently one of the
technology teachers at PS161 in Manhattan.