Ida B. Wells: Social Justice Mover & Shaker (1862 – 1932)
The Ida B. Wells curriculum focuses on her life and her work as an investigative journalist in the 1890’s. She was an educator, writer, and editor who led a powerful anti–lynching crusade, and was one of the founding directors of the NAACP.
The curriculum includes one Creative Catalyst film, four Arts Integrated Activities, and four Digital Reference Materials.
The Ida B. Wells film (6 minutes long) presents a dramatic monologue based on primary and secondary source material, with historic photographs.
The film is based on a passage from the play, Inherent Dignity: Women Change Makers in the Progressive Era, written by Steve Angel and Priscilla Kane Hellweg.
Performed by Amina Jordan–Mendez. Directed by Priscilla Kane Hellweg.
Film directed and edited by John Reuter Productions.
PLEASE NOTE: The film includes explicit content and photographs of lynching.
Arts Integrated Activities
The following arts integrated activities are designed to actively engage your students in hands–on, project–based learning. They directly correspond to an exploration of Ida B. Wells’ life – and can be adapted to any content area or theme.
Writing & Performing Social Justice Monologue: How to write and perform a dramatic monologue based on primary and secondary source materials. Please see the digital reference below: Social Justice Movers & Shakers for students to select a historic or contemporary figure to write a monologue about.
Time–Line Theater: How to create a performance with multiple scenes based on chronological events. Please see the digital reference below: Time Line of Ida B. Wells as a resource for Time–Line Theater.
Accordion Book (coming soon): DIY Instructional video detailing how to create an Accordion Book (Cortina) based on the life of Ida B. Wells. Please see the digital references: Digital Flipbooks of Ida B. Wells and Social Justice Movers & Shakers for students to select a historic or contemporary figure as a subject for their own accordion book.
Digital Reference Materials
Social Justice Movers & Shakers Flipbook: A compendium of one hundred historic and contemporary social justice activists, organized around eight categories of social activism. There are enough ‘Movers & Shakers’ for every student in a class to select a different person to research. Alternatively, students can pair up to collaboratively write a monologue – and one student chooses to perform and the other chooses to direct.
Timeline of Ida B. Wells: A graphic illustration of key events in Ida B. Wells life. Each event signifies beginning text for a scene in Time–Line Theater. Alternatively, students can create their own digital timelines for a Social Justice Movers & Shakers of their choice.
Flipbook of Ida B. Wells: An interactive online story of key events in Ida B. Wells life. Each page tells a story from her life and offers beginning text for a scene in Time–Line Theater. Alternatively, students can create their own accordion books for a Social Justice Movers & Shakers of their choice.
Inherent Dignity: Women Change Makers in the Progressive Era: An Enchanted Circle play that dramatically tells the story of five women change–makers in the progressive era, including Eleanor Roosevelt, Jane Addams, and Ida B. Wells. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is woven throughout the play, as historical context for each monologue. Students can engage in a “table reading” of the script, the process actors and directors go through when they read a script prior to working on it. In a table read, roles are cast, and the assistant director (or teacher) reads the stage directions out loud. Reader’s Theater is another option. In Reader’s Theater, actors dramatize the scenes with simple blocking options and costume/prop suggestions, which requires prior rehearsals.
” Many of the children I work with have never felt success, and you make them feel safe and empowered.”
~ 5th grade teacher, Holyoke, MA