We've identified these texts as great options for text pairings based on similar themes, literary devices, topic, or writing style. Supplement your lesson with one or more of these options and challenge students to compare and contrast the texts. To assign a paired text, click on the text to go to its page and click the "Assign Text" button there.
We Shall Overcome Speech
- President Lyndon B. Johnson
This rousing speech by President Lyndon B. Johnson was delivered right after civil rights protesters were brutally beaten on “Bloody Sunday.” This speech is considered one of the best presidential speeches in history, and eventually led to The Voting Rights Act of 1965.Pair “Reconstruction” with “We Shall Overcome” and ask students to discuss the similarities between the Reconstruction policies and President Lyndon Johnson’s view of America one century later. With their understanding of Reconstruction policies, students should evaluate LBJ’s speech to determine the ways in which America had made progress towards racial equality and the ways in which America had stagnated.
We Wear the Mask
- Paul Laurence Dunbar
Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906) was an influential African-American poet during the early twentieth century. He was the son of freed slaves and was a friend of Frederick Douglass. In “We Wear the Mask” (1896), Dunbar introduces the idea of hiding behind a metaphorical mask.Pair “Reconstruction” with “We Wear the Mask” and ask students to discuss the emotional impact of Reconstruction era policies on African American identities.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965
- Jessica McBirney
The impetus for and impact of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 are discussed in this informational text.Pair “Reconstruction” with “Voting Rights Act of 1965” and ask students to discuss how Reconstruction impacted the rights of African-Americans living in the American South. Then, based on these two articles, what can readers infer about the conditions for African-Americans in the years between the end of Reconstruction and the passage of the Voting Rights Acts in 1965.
Assassination of the President
- Evening Star
On April 14, 1965, John Wilkes Booth shot President Abraham Lincoln at the Ford Theatre. Lincoln would die the following day.Pair “Reconstruction” with “Assassination of the President” to give students a deeper understanding of the confusing and pressing issues faced by Americans in 1865. How did the Civil War and the Reconstruction that came after affect the American people?
Excerpt from Southern Horrors: Lynch Laws in All Its Phases
- Ida B. Wells
In “Excerpt from Southern Horrors: Lynch Laws in All Its Phases,” historical activist Ida B. Wells discusses the injustice and horrors of Southern lynch laws, focusing especially on the violence enacted against African Americans following the Civil War and Reconstruction Era.Pair “Reconstruction” with “Excerpt from Southern Horrors: Lynch Laws in All Its Phases” to further students’ understanding of the Reconstruction Era following the American Civil War. What was the purpose of Reconstruction? How did it succeed or fail?
America's Most Infamous Hate Group: The KKK
- Jessica McBirney
In the informational text “America’s Most Infamous Hate Group: The KKK,” Jessica McBirney discusses the KKK’s various waves of activity and popularity in America.Pair “Reconstruction” with “America’s Most Infamous Hate Group: The KKK” to provide students with additional information regarding the connection between Reconstruction and the creation of the KKK. What ideologies did the KKK hope to preserve during this time? How did the government respond to the establishment and actions of the KKK during Reconstruction?
Henry Adams’ Testimony Before Congress
- Henry Adams
In “Henry Adams’ Testimony Before Congress,” a person who was freed from slavery discusses his experiences working as a sharecropper following the Civil War.Pair “Reconstruction” with “Henry Adams’ Testimony Before Congress” to provide students with information about Reconstruction and discuss how Reconstruction policies contributed to sharecropping. How did these policies and sharecropping help whites stay in power during Reconstruction?
Excerpt from The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man
- James Weldon Johnson
In this excerpt from The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man, the narrator describes his trip to Paris and his impressions of the city.Pair “Reconstruction” with “The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man” to provide students with additional information about America’s social and political climate during this time. In what ways was America dangerous for African Americans during the Reconstruction era and following it? How might this have influenced the narrator’s decision to go to France in “The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man”?