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From the ADL Poster Series "The Living Constitution" for use in junior high, senior high, and college courses in American History, American Government, Civics, Problems in American Democracy, World History, Political Science, Law, Economics, Sociology, and Current Affairs.

Below, we suggest some possible objectives but because of the range of grades, student levels of sophistication, teaching styles and school curricula, our suggestions have been kept to the basics. A detailed curriculum can be prepared about the issue raised here.

ADL encourages teachers to share their approaches and strategies. Please send any ideas and Lesson Planss for possible posting on the Internet. Please indicate the grade level and course of study and send the material to ADL.


  • Students will be able to explain how the poster reflects the racial policies and attitudes in parts of the United States through the 1950's
  • Students will be able to formulate a hypothesis about the social impact of racial segregation
  • Students will research and identify the various steps that were taken to end these discriminatory practices

segregation-300.jpg (13883 bytes)

Text of Poster

Long after the Civil War, some states required racially segregated schools, hospitals, buses, restaurants, hotels, public restrooms, and drinking fountains. In the 1950s and 1960s, Supreme Court decisions and new Civil Rights laws would outlaw racial segregation.

Terms to define

racial segregation, "separate but equal"

Sources to Investigate

Plessy v. Ferguson (1896).
Brown v. Board of Education (1954).
Civil Rights Law of 1964.

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Study Questions

1. Research the Supreme Court decisions in Plessy vs. Ferguson and Brown vs. Board of Education. What were the Courtís findings in the two cases separated by nearly 60 years? Pay particular attention to the language of "separate but equal."

Additional Activities

How have race relations changed in America since the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964? What has happened in such areas as employment, housing, education, voting, and election to high office?

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