Paired Texts > Reconstruction
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.
Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906) was an influential African American poet, the son of freed slaves, and friend of Frederick Douglass. In "We Wear the Mask," 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 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.
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?
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?
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?
In "The forgotten history of Memorial Day," the history of how Memorial Day helped heal a divided country is explored.Pair “Reconstruction” with “The forgotten history of Memorial Day” and ask students to compare how each article portrays reunification of the country following the Civil War. What were the challenges addressed in each article? How were the challenges overcome? In your opinion, which article presents a more realistic picture of post–Civil War attitudes? Why?
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' Speech” 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.
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 on the violence against African Americans following the Civil War.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?
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 “Excerpt from '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”?
In "The Wild West: Fact or Fiction?," Marcia Amidon Lusted explains why the Wild West was not as dangerous as people think.Pair “Reconstruction” with “The Wild West: Fact or Fiction?” to give students additional information about the time period discussed in the text. According to “Reconstruction,” what were the goals of the Radical Republicans? How did the KKK fight back against these goals? According to “The Wild West: Fact or Fiction?,” why did people move West? What were some ways people created safety for themselves? How do these two texts provide unique perspectives about overlapping periods in U.S. history? How does “Reconstruction” suggest that violence and lawlessness were not isolated to the Wild West?