Lesson Plan on the History of Creating Racially Segregated Communities in the US

Redlining- https://www.peoplesworld.org/article/how-redlining-led-to-rioting-police-and-segregation/

Dr. David Childs, Ph.D.
Northern Kentucky University

The Teaching Tolerance website has been a site we have drawn material from for some time now. Their mission is to help teachers and schools educate children and youth to be active participants in a diverse democracy. The Teaching Tolerance site offers free resources to K-12 educators covering a variety of topics in the area of social justice and anti-bias. The work is based on an understanding that “anti-bias education works through the four domains of identity, diversity, justice and action.”

Their latest series of lesson plans is called The Color of Law. The lessons deal with how US law has been complicit in creating systems of inequality. The first lesson in the series is entitled “Creating Racially Segregated Communities.” The material and resources in this lesson students understand “how federal, state and local housing laws and policies advantaged white Americans throughout the 20th century, especially during the years from the Great Depression to the civil rights movement.”

Please click the link above to find this lesson as well as others for classroom use. Lessons like these are essential in US classrooms today because even though we have made some progress as it relates to racial equality and equity we have been finding out of late that we are not nearly as far along as we once thought.


  1. The Teaching Tolerance website has a fantastic aim .This article is useful in debunking stereotypes about segregation and demonstrating how common it is. In light of the current state of our society, I believe it is critical that we all get more informed on social justice and anti-bias issues, as well as learn more about the history of various races and ethnicities.

  2. The lesson plan provided children valuable insight into how inequality affects the environment they are a part of now, allowed them to have their own opinion, and to think critically. The lesson plans illustrate a topic that has biases and allows children to challenge their biases.

  3. The crucial question asked as part of tolerance.org’s website is “Why are so many American communities segregated?” Clearly the general population is aware that communities are segregated, but don’t understand why or how. This problem of ignorance is particulary notable in the North where people assume that their ancestors had no part to play in this. I think its great that one of the video resources briefly and plainly discussed redlining of banks who actively denied blacks loans and tried to keep them out of white neighborhoods. One thing I think the resources overlooked however is the concept of “white flight”. Historically these neighborhoods weren’t as segregated, partially due to density and lack of efficient transportation. Affluent whites fled the city, and banks maintained and expanded the segregation this created in Northern cities, though there were black boroughs or wards historically. I never learned about redlining in my public history classes. We never dealt with African American issues or historical events outside of MLK, civil rights, and slavery. They mentioned WEB Dubois of course, but that’s about it. I think the public is still largely ignorant about these historical practices and would have a different perception of cities such as Detroit if they were taught about this topic at an earlier age.

  4. I really like the Teaching Tolerance website. I think its a great tool for us as teachers to use and teach inequality. We usually only teach inequality in relation to the civil rights movement, but its happening right now. We need to use the current status of our country to teach our students about inequality and what that looks like in modern society.

  5. The mission of the Teaching Tolerance website is so great. In the times that our country is going through right now, I think it’s very important that we all become more educated on social justice and anti-bias and learn more about the history of other races/ethnicities. I remember those things being briefly talked about briefly when I was in high school but definitely not enough and moving forward, it should be incorporated into everyone’s curriculum.

  6. In my all my years in school I do not feel I have learned an appropriate amount of histories outside of white history, this is something I hope to change for my future students. Since I do not have a wide range knowledge on diverse cultural histories having resources such as the “Teaching Tolerance” website can help me show my students the right direction along with learning myself. I truly want my students to learn and understand a history outside of just white history.

  7. Especially in the context of this current civil unrest, it’s important to understand how deeply the roots of history go for this situation. Racist policy directives run far back in the past of the United States. This helps outline a perspective that is not often demonstrated–patterns in community building–which I find to be very effective. Lessons crafted in this topic can also be rather relatable regardless of the teaching setting. For example, white students and black students alike will probably be able to recall not seeing much of either in their respective neighborhoods. Stereotypical suburbs are primarily white. This article is beneficial in challenging notions of segregation and showcasing how frequently it may appear.

  8. Going through middle and high school I feel like we learned about the majority of European history and white history. For me going into the teaching profession I want to make sure that I am giving my students a diverse education where they are getting information all aspects of our countries history.

  9. Educating our youth on how are past has influenced our present is extremely important. As social studies teachers it is our responsibility to show how history is a living breathing thing that can effect a nation and its people for many years.Students must learn that not everything in this country has been and is great and not everyone was given a fair shake.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.