Workable Peace: Civil Rights and School Integration in the United States

PON Books
December 2007

Workable Peace is an innovative high school humanities curriculum and professional development project for secondary school classrooms.  Using new teaching materials and strategies, Workable Peace integrates the study of intergroup conflict and the development of critical thinking, problem-solving, and perspective-taking skills into social studies and humanities content.  It gives teachers academically rigorous tools for teaching the major themes and key events of history in ways that enliven the imagination, awaken moral reasoning, and impart social and civic skills that students can use throughout their lives.

Civil Rights and School Integration in the United States examines the legacy of segregation in the United States.  Students explore the views and perspectives behind the Supreme Court decisions of Plessy v. Ferguson and Brown v. Board of Education.  Then, in the Boston Busing role play, set in 1974, students focus on the Morgan v. Hennigan court decision which found the school system of Boston unconstitutionally segregated.  In the role play, representatives of all the parties, including the mayor of Boston, the Boston School Committee, the NAACP, black parents, white parents, and the state of Massachusetts, come together to negotiate an acceptable remedy.