Category Archives: Social Sciences

You’ll find domain-specific material designed to meet Common Core Standards in social studies, along with adapted and differentiated materials that deal with a broad array of conceptual knowledge in the social sciences. See the Taxonomies page for more about this category.

Frederick Douglass on Patriotism

“No, I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard on this or the other side of the Atlantic, I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of this country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins.”

Frederick Douglass

Speech at Market Hall, New York, N.Y., 22 Oct. 1847

Excerpted from: Schapiro, Fred, ed. The Yale Book of Quotations. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.

Cultural Literacy: Kenya

The country has interested me since I studied it at Hampshire College in Frank Holmquist’s course “Grassroots Perspectives on Third World Development,” so I can say with some confidence that this Cultural Literacy worksheet on Kenya, a full-page document with a reading of three sentences and six comprehension questions, is the sparest of introductions to this diverse nation and its rich history. If you’re thinking you’d like to conduct an inquiry into, say, the British Royal Family’s involvement in the suppression of the Mau-Mau uprising, you’ll need to dig a little deeper.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME Church)

“African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME Church): African-American Methodist denomination, formally organized in 1816. It originated with a group of black Philadelphians who withdrew in 1787 from St. George’s Methodist Episcopal Church because of racial discrimination and built Bethel African Methodist Church. In 1799 Richard Allen became minister of Bethel, and in 1816 he was consecrated bishop of the newly organized African Methodist Episcopal Church. Limited at first to the Northern states, the church spread rapidly in the South after the Civil War. It founded many colleges and seminaries, notably Wilberforce University (1856) in Ohio. Today it has 3,600 churches and more than a million members worldwide.”

Excerpted/Adapted from: Stevens, Mark A., Ed. Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 2000.

Cultural Literacy: Busing

This Cultural Literacy worksheet on busing is a full-page document with a reading of three sentences and five comprehension questions. I’m old enough to remember this period, and remember well seeing the shameful and violent behavior on nightly network newscasts, particularly of white Bostonians, directed toward children being bused. This was an ugly moment that recent history reminds us, alas, has not yet passed.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

The Great Migration in American Culture, Politics, and Society

Toni Morrison’s parents migrated from Alabama to Lorraine, Ohio. Diana Ross’s mother migrated from Bessemer, Alabama to Detroit, her father from Bluefield, West Virginia. Aretha Franklin’s father migrated from Mississippi to Detroit. Jesse Owens’s parents migrated from Oakville, Alabama, to Cleveland when he was nine. Joe Louis’s mother migrated with him from Lafayette, Alabama to Detroit. Jackie Robinson’s family migrated from Cairo, Georgia, to Pasadena, California. Bill Cosby’s father migrated from Schuyler, Virginia to Philadelphia, where Cosby was born. Nat King Cole, as a young boy, migrated with his family from Montgomery, Alabama to Chicago. Condoleeza Rice’s family migrated from Birmingham, Alabama to Denver, Colorado, when she was twelve. Thelonious Monk’s parents brought him from Rocky Mount, North Carolina, to Harlem when he was five. Berry Gordy’s parents migrated from rural Georgia to Detroit, where Gordy was born. Oprah Winfrey’s mother migrated from Koscisusko, Mississippi, to Milwaukee, where Winfrey went to live as a young girl. Mae Jemison’s parents migrated from Decatur, Alabama, to Chicago when she was three years old. Romare Bearden’s parents carried him from Charlotte, North Carolina, to New York City. Jimi Hendrix’s maternal grandparents migrated from Virginia to Seattle. Michael Jackson’s mother was taken as a toddler from Barbour County by her parents to East Chicago, Indiana; his father migrated as a young man from Fountain Hill, Arkansas, to Chicago, just west of Gary, Indiana, where all the Jackson children were born. Prince’s father migrated from Louisiana to Minneapolis. Sean “P. Diddy” Combs’s grandmother migrated from Hollyhill, South Carolina, to Harlem. Whitney Houston’s grandparents migrated from Georgia to Newark, New Jersey. The family of Mary J. Blige migrated from Savannah, Georgia, to Yonkers, New York. Queen Latifah’s grandfather migrated from Birmingham, Alabama, to Brooklyn. August Wilson’s mother migrated from North Carolina to Pittsburgh, following her own mother, who, as the playwright told it, walked most of the way.”

Excerpted/Adapted from: Wilkerson, Isabel. The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration. New York: Vintage, 2011.

The Weekly Text, 3 February 2023, Black History Month 2023 Week I: A Reading and Comprehension Worksheet on the Boston Massacre

It’s the first Friday of Black History Month 2023. For this and the following three Fridays, Mark’s Text Terminal will offer (as it does every year), materials for the observance of the month. That said, let me offer my usual disclaimer here: at this blog, and in my own teaching practice, every month is Black History Month. However, I work on this blog to observe this month, first proclaimed by Carter G. Woodson, because I am not in the business of second-guessing a scholar of his stature.

This week’s Text is this reading on the Boston Massacre with its attendant vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. Interestingly, this reading fails to mention Crispus Attucks, one of the dead of the Boston Massacre–history records him as the first to die. He was a Black man who was one of the first martyrs to the cause of independence for the 13 colonies that would become the United States. So there are a couple of critical issues here for students to mull: the first is the erasure of Crispus Attucks, whose martyrdom is a salient fact in the history of this event, and therefore to the history of this nation; the second is the bitter irony of a Black man dying for the freedom of a country whose inhabitants, just about anywhere outside Boston, at the time of his death, would have enslaved him.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

R.D. Laing on Insanity

“Insanity: a perfectly rational adjustment to the insane world.”

R.D. Laing

Excerpted from: Winokur, Jon, ed. The Big Curmudgeon. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal, 2007.

The Weekly Text, Friday 27 January 2023: History of Hip-Hop Lesson 8, James Brown Brings the Funk

This week’s Text is the eighth lesson plan of the History of Hip-Hop Unit. I’ve begun this lesson with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on the Civil Rights Movement. This is a full-page document with a paragraph-length reading (seven sentences, to be exact) and six comprehension questions, so depending on your idea of a do-now exercise, this one might exceed proper length. Fortunately, like nearly everything else on Mark’s Text Terminal, this document is formatted in Microsoft Word, so you can edit, adapt, and revise freely.

The main part of this lesson is this reading on James Brown and its accompanying worksheet with seven comprehension questions. Finally, here are the the lyrics to “Say It Loud, I”m Black and I’m Proud,” one of the many great songs James Brown recorded. My version of this lesson includes playing the song.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Cultural Literacy: Roman Numerals

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on Roman numerals. This is a half-page worksheet with a reading–which is relatively complicated due to its carrying examples of Roman numerals themselves–of five sentences and three comprehension questions. As I look at it, I begin to suspect that this is too much complex material to cram into half of a page.

But what do you think? This is a Microsoft Word document, so you can alter it to your students’ needs.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

The Doubter’s Companion: Ad Hominem

Ad Hominem: The obverse of hero worship. Both indicate an unwillingness to deal with content.

Public figures have complained for decades about the growing tendency to judge them by violent personal attacks, often aimed at their private lives. But as public actors have chosen to assume Heroic guises—whether majestic, saintlike, martyred, romantic or touching—so those they attempt to seduce have reacted with personalized integral vilification.

There is nothing new about such ad hominem attacks. They were widely used for political purposes in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. If public figures paid a little more attention to history, they would know that their predecessors led a much rougher life. Today they are protected by concentrated media ownership, the obsession of the large professional elites with respectable public behavior and, in most countries, overly strict libel laws. Given that ours is a management-oriented society, we give far too much importance to the smoothness of public discourse and fear serious open verbal conflict.

Contemporary ad hominem resembles that of an earlier period—the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. This was a society of courtiers constantly in pursuit of meaningless power. Court life was measured by personal details—orgasms, medals, gloves, cleavages, and titles. Ad hominem fed the endless appetite for gossip which filled the salons and occupied the days of those caught up in the complex structures of the state. These were powerless people living by irrelevant criticisms in the shadow of false human gods—the absolute monarchs. That such detached ad hominem attacks have returned with a vengeance in the late twentieth century suggests that we have also returned to the courtier-based society of the great palaces, which have been transformed into the great professions and the great organizations of the public and private sector.

Excerpted from: Saul, John Ralston. The Doubter’s Companion. New York: The Free Press, 1994.