Facing History and Ourselves/Boston Public Schools Civil Rights Curriculum Collaborative
Documents for this curriculum can be found at
The Legacy of Lynching
Lessons Two and Three deepen students understanding of the murder of Emmett Till by introducing aspects of the historical context that influenced thedecisions made by individuals involved in this event. Why did Roy Bryant and J. W. Milam murder Emmett Till for whistling at a white woman in a store? Why was Mamie Till-Mobley’s decision to have an open casket able to have anational and international impact? There are many ways to answer these ques-tions, but all of these answers involve an awareness of the history that precededthe murder of Emmett Till and shaped the customs and attitudes that prevailedin Money, Mississippi, and across the country in 1955. Students’ investigationof historical context begins with the history of lynching. In this lesson, students will explore various primary documents in order to answer the question: How did the legacy of lynching influence the choices made by individuals involved inthe story of Emmett Till? To help understand the relationship between histori-cal context and individual choices, students will begin to think about how theirown historical context has shaped their beliefs and actions.
This lesson will help students . . .
aw th gu Qu:
What is historical context? What is your historical context? How does
your historical context shape your beliefs and actions? What is lynching? What was the purpose of lynching?
How did the legacy of lynching influence how people thought and
acted in 1955 at the time of Emmett Till’s murder?
df th Ky tm:
Ida B. Wells
P th sk:
Applying the concept of historical context to their lives
Interpreting primary source documents
Explaining the relationship between historical context and individual or
unIt 1/lEsson 2