Next August, a landmark piece of legislation turns 50. The Voting Act of 1965, signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson, prohibits racial discrimination in voting. This month’s installment of the National Constitution Center’s Civics in Literature initiative features suggested readings and activities designed to teach students about the struggles faced by African Americans and women in particular to earn the right to become active participants in American democracy.
Granddaddy’s Gift by Margaree King Mitchell
In this book, students learn about Little Joe and her granddaddy, who lived in a small town in Mississippi during segregation. Granddaddy, through his courage and pride, became the first black man to register to vote in his town. Through his actions, he taught his granddaughter about the importance, determination and self-respect.
Little Joe asked her granddaddy why she had to go to school. Granddaddy responded, “I want you to learn as much as you can so when you grow up you can choose what you want to do.” If you had to choose today what career to pursue when you grow up, what would you choose to do? Why was education so important to Little Joe’s granddaddy?
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Thanks to our friends at the National Constitution Center.