Lesson overview: Assimilation of freedpeople into free society was difficult in the
South. Faced with long-standing prejudices, freedpeople struggled to gain a foothold in a society
where their ability to earn a living, and their personal freedoms were often challenged. Despite federal
intervention, freedpeople found that their post-Civil War life was like slavery in many ways. This
lesson looks at laws and actions that directly challenged federal programs that were designed to break
former slaveholder’s grip on political and economic power.
How did freedpeople use institutions to create social change during Reconstruction?
How did the emergence of strong central state governments before and after the Civil War reflect
the fear of white Southern society and the failure of federal programs to protect the rights of freedpeople?
The teacher will introduce Reconstruction 360 and determine prior knowledge about the Reconstruction period
through group classroom responses using Padlet. Padlet is an application to create an online bulletin board that
you can use to display information for any topic. A QR code is provided under the resources that will link student’s
individual tablets/devices to the Padlet application where students can respond to the prior knowledge prompt.
The teacher will lead classroom discussion based on the responses individual students post on the
first Padlet prompt.
Prompt Response #1 - List 5 things you know about Reconstruction. – prior
knowledge prompt shown and answered by individual students in the class on their tablets/devices
prior to watching the module. If the teacher has completed any of the previous Reconstruction
360 lessons, prior knowledge could include five things students learned from completing those
The teacher will direct students in watching the immersive 360 video/module, The Black Codes.
After the module has been shown, the teacher will once again give students a prompt using Padlet.
The teacher will lead students in a discussion about the second prompt.
Prompt Response #2 – What are your initial observations about the place,
the events, and the people shown in the video - The Black Codes.
The teacher will place students in seven groups to explore the module more thoroughly.
Groups should explore the module by clicking on the hotspots embedded within the video.
Student groups will be asked to create a concept map/slide that describes what they
observe about the person/topic they have been assigned. Each group will be assigned
one person/topic, and each person/topic corresponds with a video hotspot on the 360
Reconstruction module. The persons/topics assigned are as follows:
Jailer – Freedmen’s Bureau Agent – Freedman – Freedwoman – Landowner – Labor Contract – The Pink Palace
Groups can design their concept maps to their liking using Google Slides or another
slide program, but the maps should be comprehensive in what they observe
and how it relates to the person/topic given. Students are
allowed to use resources outside of the video and the hotspots. Additional
resources are listed in the lesson progression.
Group slides will be shared with the class, and groups will be asked to explain
their concept maps and what they discovered about their person/topic.
Group Assessment Activity
As a final assessment to answer the driving question from what has been learned going through
the immersive 360 video, The Black Codes, groups will be asked to
continue the “Slide Book” begun with the video, A Seat at the Table.
If that lesson was not completed, students must create a new “Slide Book”. If this is a
continuation of the first “Slide Book” students will be adding a chapter 6 titled
The Black Codes. Groups should put their concept map with their
observations about their person/topic as the first page of the new chapter.
The second page of the new chapter will be comprised entirely of audio files. Group members
will be given 6 questions and must provide a written script for their specific question.
Groups can choose to work together to create the specific scripts to the questions. Individual
group members will record their answers to their assigned question, creating 6 audio files
per group. These audio files will be added to their “Slide Book”. Students can choose to
personalize their audio files by adding a photograph of themselves beside the audio file they
have read. Students also have the option of adding a meme, instead of a photograph, beside
their audio file. Neither a picture nor a meme are required, and can be added at the teacher’s
It is important to connect the person/topic the group researched to the question they are
answering. Groups will be graded on their knowledge of their person/topic and how well they
connect what they learned about their topic to the question for which they are providing an
audio response. Students should be cognizant of their tone and concise speech patterns as
they read the script of their question. Answers that are not voiced in an articulate manner
cannot be graded.
A rubric is provided under Resources.
Define the term massacre.
Why is this term an accurate portrayal of the events that occurred?
Looking at terms which are listed as synonyms of the term massacre, which three would you pick to include in an
article about the event. Why are the 3 terms you picked appropriate?
What were the facts behind the massacre? Who was clashing, and what caused the escalation
of the violence?
Audio File Questions
Who did you research? What from your research shows that your person/topic favored a
stronger state or federal government?
How was fear evident in the actions of your person/topic?
How did federal programs/legislation fail freedpeople?
Millie Freeman, a former enslaved person said this about Reconstruction: “It seemed
like it took a long time for freedom to come. Everything just kept on like it was.” How
could one connect Millie’s feelings to what you discovered from researching your person/topic?
How did the emergence of strong central state governments before and after the Civil War
reflect the fear of white Southern society and the failure of federal programs to protect the
rights of freedpeople?
Terms and Definitions
Caste System - a social structure in which classes are determined by heredity
Illiterate - unable to read or write
Abolitionist - a person who favors the abolition of a practice or institution, especially capital punishment or (formerly) slavery
Plunder - to steal goods from (a place or person), typically using force and in a time of war or civil disorder
Black Codes - A body of laws, statutes, and rules enacted by Southern states immediately after the Civil War to regain control over freed slaves, maintain white supremacy, and insure the continued supply of cheap labor
Freedmen’s Bureau - The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, usually referred to as simply the Freedmen's Bureau, was a federal agency that was formed to assist freedmen and poor whites in the South during Reconstruction.
Labor Contract - A labor contract is a legal agreement that sets forth the terms and conditions of a person’s employment
Vagrant - a person without a settled home or regular work who wanders from place to place and lives by begging.
Activism - the policy or action of using vigorous campaigning to bring about political or social change
Civil Rights Act of 1866 - Granted citizenship and equal rights to all persons born in the United States (except Native Americans)
Fourteenth Amendment (1870) - granted citizenship and equal civil and legal rights to African Americans and slaves who had been emancipated after the American Civil War, including them under the umbrella phrase “all persons born or naturalized in the United States.
Fifteenth Amendment (1870) - Protected the voting rights of African American men.
Civil Rights Act of 1875 - Outlawed racial segregation in public services. Ensured the right of African Americans to serve as jurors.
Military Reconstruction Act - U.S. legislation enacted in 1867–68 that outlined the conditions under which the Southern states would be readmitted to the Union following the American Civil War (1861–65)
Sharecropping - Sharecropping is a type of farming in which families rent small plots of land from a landowner in return for a portion of their crop, to be given to the landowner at the end of each year.
Rubric – Audio Responses
*The Rubric is modified from iRubric Group
||The presentation was well organized, well prepared and easy to follow.
||The presentation had organizing ideas but could have been much stronger with better preparation.
minimal signs of
had little evidence
from others’ ideas.
It was evident that
all of the group
equally to the
others’ ideas most
of the time. And
it seems like every
did some work,
but some people
are carrying the
from others’ ideas.
However it seems
as though certain
people did not do
as much work as
from others’ ideas.
It seems as though
only a few people
worked on the
Presentations were well
researched and concise. There was a
strong connection between the assigned
topic and audio response.
Presentations seemed well
researched, but the connections between the
topic and audio response were less than
was present but connections
contained little to
||Presenters were all very confident in delivery and they did an excellent job of engaging the class. Preparation is very evident.
||Presenters were occasionally confident with their presentation however the presentation was not as engaging as it could have been for the class.
||Presenters were not consistent with the level of confidence/preparedness they showed the classroom but had some strong moments.
||Presenters were unconfident and demonstrated little evidence of planning prior to presentation.
Standard 5 – Indicators 4.5.CC, 4.5.P, 4.5.CO, 4.5.CE, 4.5.CX
Standard 4 – Indicator 8.4.CO
Standard 2 – Indicators USHC.2.CX, USHC.2.CC