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Inquiry Question

Historical Context

Map

Readings

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About This Lesson

This lesson is based on the National Historic Landmark Nomination, "New Kent School and George W. Watkins School" (with photographs), as well as oral interviews, newspaper accounts, and other primary sources. New Kent School and the George W. Watkins School: From Freedom of Choice to Integration was written by Jody Allen, Brian Daugherity, and Sarah Trembanis, Ph.D. candidates at the College of William and Mary, with assistance from Frances Davis, Na' Dana Smith, and Megan Walsh, Class of 2002, New Kent High School in New Kent County, Virginia. The lesson was edited by the Teaching with Historic Places staff. This lesson is one in a series that brings the important stories of historic places into classrooms across the country.

This lesson plan is made possible by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and Public Policy (VFH) as part of its African-American Heritage Program, which includes the African-American History in Virginia Grant Program, the African-American Heritage Database Project, and the African-American Heritage Trails Program, a partnership between VFH and the Virginia Tourism Corporation. Through these programs, VFH seeks to increase understanding of African-American history in Virginia; to promote research and documentation of existing African-American historic sites; to strengthen the institutions that interpret African-American history in the state; and to encourage Virginians as well as people from all parts of the nation and the world to visit these sites. For more information, contact VFH, 145 Ednam Drive, Charlottesville, VA 22903-4629 or visit VFH's website.

Where it fits into the curriculum
Topics: The lesson could be used in American History courses in units on the civil rights movement, or the history of education in America. The lesson could also be used to enhance the study of African-American history.
Time period: 1960s
Relevant United States History Standards for Grades 5-12
Relevant Curriculum Standards for Social Studies
Find your state's social studies and history standards for grades Pre-K-12

Objectives for students
1) To examine how Green v. New Kent County challenged earlier Supreme Court decisions by placing an affirmative duty on school boards to integrate schools.
2) To describe the significance of the Green v. New Kent County Supreme Court decision in the fight for educational equality for minorities.
3) To understand the role of activism at the local level and how it relates to sweeping changes on a larger scale.
4) To research the history of segregation in their own communities and compare that to what occurred in the New Kent School and the George W. Watkins School.

Materials for students
The materials listed below either can be used directly on the computer or can be printed out, photocopied, and distributed to students. The maps and images appear twice: in a smaller, low-resolution version with associated questions and alone in a larger version.
1) one map showing New Kent County;
2) three readings on the history of the Green case, excerpts from the Green case, and oral histories from individuals involved in integrating New Kent County public schools;
3) five photographs of students attending both New Kent School and George W. Watkins School.

Visiting the site
New Kent County lies approximately 30 minutes east of Richmond, the capital of Virginia. Take Interstate 64 from Richmond and Exit 214 to Route 155. Route 155 North (left) from Interstate 64 leads into New Kent County. After approximately 4 miles, Route 155 intersects Route 249, the principal east-west route through the county. Follow Route 249 East (right) to the New Kent School [now New Kent Middle School, 11825 New Kent Highway] on the right. Follow Route 249 West (left) for approximately 6 miles to the George W. Watkins School [now George W. Watkins Elementary School, 6501 New Kent Highway] on the left. Both schools are still in use as educational facilities.

 

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