You will each be assigned to groups. Each group will be organizing a tour of three Illinois towns for Black History month. Three towns have been chosen because of important events related to Illinois Black history. First, you need to learn a little about Jim Crow Laws. Read the paragraph below and then write your own definition of what Jim Crow Laws were.

Jim Crow Laws

From the 1880s into the 1960s there were laws that were used to segregate the United States by race. These laws were called the Jim Crow Laws. Jim Crow Laws were laws that prevented African Americans from having the same rights as white Americans. Jim Crow laws affected every aspect of life. Every State used these laws as a way to legally discriminate. The laws were made to give African Americans separate but equal facilities but in reality African American facilities were not equal to white Americans. These laws prevented African Americans from voting, using public facilities, shopping in the same stores with whites and going to school with whites. The Jim Crow laws were not fair but if someone broke them they were severely punished. Some people were killed and others were put in jail for breaking a Jim Crow Law. The Jim Crow Laws lasted for a very long time. In the 1960s people began to fight these laws and they won.

Write a definition of Jim Crow Laws in your journal.

Reflect on what the Jim Crow Laws mean to you as a person. If you were an African American person living in this time period, how would you feel about these laws? As a person today, what do you think about these laws?


Three Illinois Towns

Next, learn about the three towns that you will be visiting. Write two things in your journal that you discover about each town.





Now find these towns on maps so that you know where you are going on your Black History tour.


Illinois Maps:

Maps for directions:

Choose one person from your group to print out a map with political boundaries. As a group, locate the three towns on the map. Highlight each town on the map.

 brattonsvilleschool.jpg - Colonial Era School

Each member of your group will be assigned to be an expert. Each group will have 4 experts.


Town Experts

  1. Town experts should do their research and keep notes in their journal. Your teacher will give a template for taking notes.
  2. Look for important events in Illinois Black history as well as important people and what they did.
  3. Meet with members of other teams who are experts in the same area as you.
  4. Take turns sharing what you found in your research.
  5. Decide on three events or people that people can learn about in your town.
  6. Each expert should make a list in their journal and describe why each event is important. This information will become part of your team's guide book.

Map Experts

  1. Map experts should create maps that give directions from one location to the next. Your teacher will give you a template to help record that information.
  2. Each map expert should also look for a map that shows information about the population of Illinois.
  3. Map experts should meet together and compare the maps.
  4. Help each other locate the three towns on these maps.
  5. Choose three maps to include in your journal. These also will become part of your Travel Guide to Southern Illinois Black History.

Choosing A Town

Write a letter to the governor answering these four questions:

  1. Where would you choose to live?
  2. Why would you choose this town?
  3. What were race relations like in this town?
  4. What were some important historical events that happened there?



The Final Products

  1. Each team will compile a travel guide based upon the notes made by each town expert and the maps prepared by the map expert. The teacher will provide a template for the travel guide.
  2. You will then prepare a poster to promote your Black History tour of Illinois. An alternative is to prepare a Power Point presentation to promote your tour.
  3. As a team, present and explain your Travel Guide.
  4. As a team, promote your Illinois Black History tour using your poster or power point.  
  5. Each member will write a letter to the governor of Illinois describing the town they would choose to live in and why.