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Webquest About Grades 3-5

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Although most southern blacks migrated North with high hopes, many were disappointed to find that it had its own brand of discrimination. Many northern whites reacted with prejudice toward the migrants.

This panel shows a public restaurant or dining space in the North. Blacks and whites are divided by a yellow barrier that zigzags through the center of the painting. The tables and chairs are placed so that the people sitting at them do not face each other. In this way, Jacob Lawrence increased the people’s separation in this space.

Unfair treatment or behavior based on race, color, ethnic background, age, or gender.

A negative opinion or attitude about a person or group of people, based on insufficient knowledge rather than fact.

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In this webquest you will:
  • Examine how Jacob Lawrence has shown discrimination in his Migration Series.

  • Read stories and look at websites about ways that people have challenged discrimination.

  • Create and perform a short play about challenging discrimination and/or prejudice.

  • Review and discuss your play.
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They also found discrimination in the North although it was much different from that which they had known in the South.

The Migration of the Negro, panel 49, 1940-41
Casein tempera on hardboard
18 x 12 in. (45.7 x 30.5 cm)
The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.
© Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence, courtesy of the Jacob and Gwendolyn Lawrence Foundation
  1. Look at  Jacob Lawrence's painting, panel #49 from The Migration Series. Move your mouse over the painting and find questions to discuss with your classmates.

  2. Divide into small groups of 4-6 people. With your teacher, research and read some of the stories in the bibliography below. Explore some of the websites listed below to find out how three American heroes challenged discrimination.

  3. Have a class discussion about challenging discrimination. Use the following questions for your discussion:

    What challenges did these American heroes face?
    How did they deal with discrimination?
    What kinds of discrimination and prejudice exist today?
    How do people deal with discrimination today?

  4. Go to this website to read some kids’ opinions about how they would challenge discrimination and prejudice:

  5. In your small groups, discuss and write a short play about a situation of prejudice or discrimination that has happened in history, or in your everyday lives. In your play, include at least one way to challenge this discrimination.

  6. Design a backdrop for your play. Use art materials, props, a slide projector, or your classroom furniture.

  7. Perform and discuss your plays with your classmates.

    What situations did you choose? Why?
    How did you deal with discrimination or prejudice?
    Would your ways of dealing with discrimination or prejudice be successful in a real life situation? Why or why not?
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Gloria Anzaldua, Friends From the Other Side/Amigos Del Otro Lado, San Francisco: Children's Book Press, 1993

Tomie dePaola, Oliver Button is a Sissy, New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1979

Virginia Fleming, Be Good to Eddie Lee, New York: Philomel Books, 1993

Peter Golenbock, Teammates, San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1990

Mary Hoffman, Amazing Grace, New York: Dial Books for Young Readers, 1991

Margy Burns Knight, Who Belongs Here? Gardiner, ME: Tilbury House Publishers, 1993

Margaret Merrifield, Come Sit By Me, Toronto: Women's Press, 1990

Judith Vigna, Black Like Kyra, White Like Me, Morton Grove, IL: Albert Whitman and Company, 1992


Rosa Parks.

Jackie Robinson.

Martin Luther King.

Stomping out hate.

Working for equality.

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You will receive two evaluations: a group evaluation and an individual evaluation. Your teacher may also choose to create rubrics for evaluation or evaluate your contributions to group discussions about American heroes and discrimination.
  • Group Evaluation: Creative Play Writing: Does your play show that you have a solid understanding of discrimination and prejudice?

  • Does your play also show how people can challenge discrimination or prejudice in a positive, productive way?

  • Is your play interesting and entertaining for your audience and does it engage them in the subject matter?

  • Does the backdrop you designed for your play show evidence of creativity and originality given the limited resources you may have available to you?

  • During the process of creating the play did your group show evidence of teamwork, collaboration, and time management?

  • Individual Evaluation: You will be evaluated on your collaborative efforts and contributions to your group.

  • What unique contributions did you make to the group? Did you demonstrate leadership, teamwork and collaboration?

  •  Learning Standards Addressed
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How would you continue to challenge discrimination and prejudice in your daily lives?
Go to the website below and share your ideas about challenging discrimination with others.


Stage and perform your plays for a wider audience at your school. Invite other classes and teachers to see your plays. Ask your teacher or your peers to take photographs of your performances. Make a photo wall in your classroom or a computer presentation. If you include sound, use your own voices performing the play.

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©2001 Whitney Museum of American Art