Black Codes Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Teach your students how Reconstruction efforts were derailed by what we call the Black Codes. Students will read an informational text defining the term and explaining what they were, and the government's response to them. Interactive activities and discussion questions provided along with a quiz to test understanding.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define and explain Black Codes
  • read, analyze and cite primary and secondary source documents
  • discuss the government's response to Black Codes and the other repressive restrictions on African Americans


1 - 1.5 hours


  • Copies of the lesson What Were the Black Codes? - History & Explanation, one for each student
  • Copies of the Constitution, Amendment 13 specifically
  • Copies of the Black Codes
  • Copies of the essay Free Yet Not by Henry Adams, one for each group
  • Copies of the lesson quiz, one for each student

Key Vocabulary

  • Black Codes
  • Civil War
  • Freedmen's Bureau
  • Civil Rights Act of 1866
  • Fourteenth Amendment
  • Jim Crow

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.1

Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.2

Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.3

Identify key steps in a text's description of a process related to history/social studies (e.g., how a bill becomes law, how interest rates are raised or lowered).

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.4

Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary specific to domains related to history/social studies.

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