Crossing the Veil: A Young W.E.B. DuBois in Rural Tennessee

W.E.B. DuBois encountered the realities of postReconstruction life in the rural South during his summers working as a teacher in a seasonal African American school in Alexandria, Tennessee. This lesson plan explores how DuBois’s experiences as a student at Fisk University and his time teaching in rural middle Tennessee shaped his understanding of the challenges facing African Americans and his ideas for uplifting the race. Students will examine how generational viewpoints differed within African American communities and how race relations varied in the different locations that DuBois lived during this early period in his life.

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.1
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.2
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.4
Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grades 11-12 reading and content, choosing flexibly...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.5
Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.6
Acquire and use accurately general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.1
Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text,...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.4
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze how an...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.8
Delineate and evaluate the reasoning in seminal U.S. texts, including the application of constitutional principles and use of legal reasoning...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.1
Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text,...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.10
By the end of grade 11, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, in the grades 11-CCR text complexity band...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.3
Analyze the impact of the author's choices regarding how to develop and relate elements of a story or drama (e.g., where a story is set, how...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.4
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.6
Analyze a case in which grasping a point of view requires distinguishing what is directly stated in a text from what is really meant (e.g.,...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.1
Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.2
Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) in order to make...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.4
Present information, findings, and supporting evidence, conveying a clear and distinct perspective, such that listeners can follow the line of...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.6
Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating a command of formal English when indicated or appropriate. (See grades 11-12...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.1
Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.10
Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.2
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.3
Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.4
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience....
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.5
Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.7
Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.3
Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.
CLE 3001.3.1
Write in a variety of modes for different audiences and purposes.
CLE 3002.3.1
Write in a variety of modes for different audiences and purposes.
CLE 3003.1.1
Demonstrate control of Standard English through grammar usage and mechanics (punctuation, capitalization, and spelling).
CLE 3003.1.2
Employ a variety of strategies and resources to determine the definition, pronunciation, etymology, spelling, and usage of words and phrases.
CLE 3003.2.6
Deliver effective oral presentations.
CLE 3003.2.7
Participate in work teams and group discussions.
CLE 3003.3.1
Write in a variety of modes, with particular emphasis on persuasion, for different purposes and audiences.
CLE 3003.3.3
Organize ideas into an essay with a thesis statement in the introduction, well-constructed paragraphs, a conclusion, and transition sentences that connect...
CLE 3003.5.1
Use logic to make inferences and draw conclusions in a variety of complex oral and written contexts.
CLE 3003.5.2
Analyze text for fact and opinion, cause/effect, inferences, evidence, and conclusions.
CLE 3003.6.1
Comprehend and summarize the main ideas of complex informational texts and determine the essential elements that elaborate them.
CLE 3003.6.3
Read, interpret, and analyze graphics that support complex informational and technical texts.
CLE 3003.8.5
Know and use appropriate literary terms to derive meaning and comprehension from various literary genres.
CLE 3005.1.1
Demonstrate control of Standard English through grammar usage and mechanics (punctuation, capitalization, and spelling).
CLE 3005.1.2
Employ a variety of strategies and resources to determine the definition, pronunciation, etymology, spelling, and usage of words and phrases.
CLE 3005.2.6
Deliver effective oral presentations.
CLE 3005.2.7
Participate in work teams and group discussions.
CLE 3005.3.1
Write in a variety of modes for different purposes and audiences.
CLE 3005.3.3
Organize ideas into an essay with a thesis statement in the introduction, well-constructed paragraphs, a conclusion, and transition sentences that connect...
CLE 3005.5.1
Use logic to make inferences and draw conclusions in a variety of complex oral and written contexts.
CLE 3005.5.2
Analyze text for fact and opinion, cause/effect, inferences, evidence, and conclusions.
CLE 3005.5.4
Analyze the logical features of an argument.
CLE 3005.6.1
Comprehend and summarize the main ideas of complex informational texts and determine the essential elements that elaborate them.
CLE 3005.6.3
Read, interpret, and analyze graphics that support complex informational and technical texts.
CLE 3005.8.5
Know and use appropriate literary terms to derive meaning and comprehension from various literary genres.
SPI 3001.3.14
Select the most precise word to provide clarity appropriate to audience and purpose.
SPI 3001.3.4
Select a vivid word (e.g., adjective, adverb, verb) to strengthen a written description.
SPI 3002.1.9
Recognize a shift in either verb tense or point of view within a writing sample.
SPI 3002.3.15
Select the most precise word to provide clarity appropriate to audience and purpose.
SPI 3002.3.4
Select a vivid word (e.g., adjective, adverb, verb) to strengthen a written description.
SPI 3003.1.1
Demonstrate the correct use of commas and lesser-used punctuation marks (e.g., hyphens, dashes, colons) in complex and sophisticated constructions.
SPI 3003.1.11
Correctly choose verb forms in terms of tense, voice (i.e., active and passive), and mood for continuity.
SPI 3003.1.5
Use previously learned techniques such as recognizing cognates, root words, affixes, foreign phrases, and textual context to identify unfamiliar words, including...
SPI 3003.1.8
Choose correctly or incorrectly spelled words.
SPI 3003.2.5
Identify the rhetorical devices used in a complex speech (i.e., rhetorical questions, parallelism and repetition, analogies, hyperbole, metaphors, simile,...
SPI 3003.3.13
Identify the targeted audience for a selected passage.
SPI 3003.3.8
Choose the transitional device that appropriately connects sentences or paragraphs within a writing sample.
SPI 3003.3.9
Rearrange the order of supporting paragraphs within a writing sample given a specified organizational pattern (comparison-contrast, chronological).
SPI 3003.4.3
Evaluate the reliability and credibility of sources for use in research.
SPI 3003.5.1
Make inferences and draw conclusions based on evidence in text.
SPI 3003.5.11
Identify the main claim, premise(s), evidence, or conclusion of a given argument.
SPI 3003.5.8
Determine whether a given argument employs deductive or inductive reasoning. (NOTE: NO Check for Understanding)
SPI 3003.8.6
Identify and analyze standard literary elements (i.e., archetype, allegory, parable, paradox, parody, satire, foreshadowing, flashback).
TSS.ELA.11-12.L.CSE.1
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking; consider complex and contested matters of usage...
TSS.ELA.11-12.L.CSE.2
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing; when reading and writing, use...
TSS.ELA.11-12.L.VAU.4
Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on 11th -12th grade-level text by choosing flexibly from a...
TSS.ELA.11-12.L.VAU.5
Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings in grades 11-12 reading and content; interpret...
TSS.ELA.11-12.L.VAU.6
Acquire and accurately use general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the...
TSS.ELA.11-12.RI.CS.4
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze how an author...
TSS.ELA.11-12.RI.KID.1
Analyze what a text says explicitly and draw inferences; support an interpretation of a text by citing and synthesizing relevant textual evidence from...
TSS.ELA.11-12.RI.KID.3
Analyze how an author's choices regarding the ordering of ideas and events, the introduction and development of ideas, and connections among ideas...
TSS.ELA.11-12.RL.CS.4
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific...
TSS.ELA.11-12.RL.KID.1
Analyze what a text says explicitly and draw inferences; support an interpretation of a text by citing and synthesizing relevant textual evidence from...
TSS.ELA.11-12.RL.KID.3
Analyze how an author's choices regarding the development and interaction of characters, events, and ideas over the course of a text impact meaning.
TSS.ELA.11-12.SL.CC.1
Initiate and participate effectively with varied partners in a range of collaborative discussions on appropriate 11th - 12th grade topics, texts, and...
TSS.ELA.11-12.SL.CC.2
Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse media formats in order to make informed decisions and solve problems; evaluate the...
TSS.ELA.11-12.SL.PKI.4
Present information, findings, and supporting evidence, conveying a clear and distinct perspective so that listeners can follow the line of reasoning;...
TSS.ELA.11-12.SL.PKI.6
Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.
TSS.ELA.11-12.W.PDW.4
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
TSS.ELA.11-12.W.PDW.5
Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most...
TSS.ELA.11-12.W.RBPK.7
Conduct and write short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem by...
TSS.ELA.11-12.W.RW.10
Write routinely over extended time frames and shorter time frames for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.
TSS.ELA.11-12.W.TTP.1
Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning supported by relevant and sufficient evidence.
TSS.ELA.11-12.W.TTP.2
Write informative/explanatory texts to analyze, synthesize, and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the...
TSS.ELA.11-12.W.TTP.3
Write narrative fiction or literary nonfiction to convey experiences and/or events using effective techniques, well-chosen details, and well-structured...
TSS.ELA.9-10.W.TTP.3
Write narrative fiction or literary nonfiction to convey experiences and/or events using effective techniques, well-chosen details, and well-structured...
US.3
Explain the impact of the Hayes-Tilden Presidential election of 1876 and the end ofcReconstruction on African Americans, including Jim Crow laws, lynching,...
 
Alignment of this item to academic standards is based on recommendations from content creators, resource curators, and visitors to this website. It is the responsibility of each educator to verify that the materials are appropriate for your content area, aligned to current academic standards, and will be beneficial to your specific students.
 
Learning objectives: 

The student will be able to:

  • Explain the racial interactions and relationships DuBois experienced from the northern city to rural Tennessee.
  • Explain the historical context of the New South period using excerpts from Henry Grady.
  • Analyze a political cartoon and picture to understand the importance of industry and labor in the New South.
  • Analyze primary source excerpts from DuBois to understand his thought processes about how to improve the African American community.
  • Compare and contrast the differences in rural white schools and rural black schools to understand the development of rural education.
Essential and guiding questions: 

According to DuBois, how did the “Veil” hinder “Progress” for African Americans?

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Applying
Extension suggestions: 
  • Compare and Contrast teaching contracts: Students will analyze W.E.B. Du Bois’ Southern teaching contract with that of a Northern white woman from the same time period. Students will complete the questions to determine the differences and similarities in the teaching certificates.
  • Niagara Movement and NAACP: Students will study the exhibit, paying particular attention to the Prelude section, to determine what W.E.B. Du Bois was trying to achieve for African Americans through the NAACP. Students can speculate about the method that the organization planned to use for African Americans to gain their legal rights. How did this method compare with DuBois’s writing that students read in this lesson? 

Helpful Hints

MATERIALS:

  • PowerPoint: DuBois Background
  • Henry Grady reading excerpt
  • Rural schools images
  • Compare and contrast graphic organizer
  • Reading excerpts with questions (pgs. 6-9)