Lesson Plans for Grades 5-8 (2020)

See the main page for Teaching with Douglass Day 2020.

Is This Your Grandmother’s Fight? Black Women and the Politics of Respectability and Resistance

AJC, Access and Education

Download the lesson plan (.docx)


This curriculum is a resource for educators interested in teaching and learning about American history through the writings, ideas and contributions of key, but often erased or understudied, figures. One such figures is Anna Julia Cooper (August 10, 1858 – February 27, 1964), prominent educator, sociologist, author, theorist and activist, who argued for the central place of Black women in the battle for equal and civil rights. The Colored Conventions Project Curriculum Team created it to provide educators with a resource for participating in the Douglass Day events. Douglass Day commemorates the life and legacy of Frederick Douglass, and this year’s celebrations will center the work and life of his contemporary, Anna Julia Cooper. This curriculum explores Cooper’s work and the ways she used education to uplift African Americans in the period immediately after Reconstruction.  

Students will learn about Cooper’s life and her writings as a lens through which to consider her vision of education as a strategy and tool for progress. Students will view a short video titled “The Life of Anna Julia Cooper” and examine her likeness on a U.S. Postal Stamp.

As a professional educator, you know your students, your school system, the standards and school district specific expectations of the ways that content needs to be presented in your classroom. It is with this in mind, that this unit is offered as a resource not a guide. Please read and choose what you might want to use in your classroom in whatever format would work best. Feel free to modify, shape and tailor what is here to meet the demands and needs of your own pedagogy and context. But when you do, please do let us know. 

We believe that the work of education is not just lifelong but a collective responsibility. It is in this spirit we offer this resource as a collaborative initiative, not bound by limitations of place or time. Email us at info@coloredconventions.org, contact us on twitter or on our website. Let us know if you used the curriculum in its entirety, a single element or elements; what worked, what was most useful, what was not useful and or the ways you might have been inspired by what we offered and created your own lesson plans, units or classroom resources to celebrate Frederick Douglass, Anna Julia Cooper and or other notable African American people, places, events or time-periods. We look forward to hearing from you!

Authored by the Colored Conventions Project Curriculum Team 2020