For Educators: Women of the Congressional Black Caucus

Activity 1A: Women of the Congressional Black Caucus: Past and Present

Activity 1B


For this activity the students will read and analyze documents and photographs about the work of African-American women in Congress and their advocacy for underserved Americans in the areas of economics, education, healthcare, and civil rights.

Class Time Needed: two or three class sessions for Activities 1 and 2. Activity 3 will need 2-4 weeks for implementation.


Optional Warm-up Activity: Vocabulary Building
To prepare students for the following learning activities, familiarize them with vocabulary words that they will encounter in the lesson unit. Allow them to use the Vocabulary Building worksheet to access their understanding of the meaning of key words.

Group Discussion:
To begin this activity:
• Ask the students if they can identify African-American women who have or are currently serving in Congress. List their responses on easel pad paper and display it on the wall for reference throughout the lesson.

• Ask the students if they can name the first African-American woman to be elected to Congress and some of her accomplishments. Add students' responses to the displayed list.

Activity 1A — The First: Shirley Chisholm, Barbara Jordan, and Carol Moseley-Braun
Reading and Research
Distribute to each student three copies of the "Fact Gathering" worksheet.
Explain to the students that they will use the worksheets to record information they learn about Representatives Chisholm and Jordan, and Senator Moseley-Braun from the readings of short essays and viewing videos about them.
In addition to the worksheets, share a copy of the essays with each student.

Teacher Note: The essays and worksheets are available in PDF downloadable files.
Essay 1 - Shirley Chisholm: Fighter for Human Rights
Essay 2 - Barbara Jordan: Advocate of Justice for All
Essay 3 - Carol Moseley-Braun: Champion of Education

Allow the students 10-15 minutes to read the essays and record information on their worksheets by responding to the questions.

Following the reading of the essays, view the short videos about:
Congresswoman Chisholm delivering her statement of Candidacy for the U.S. presidency.

Congresswoman Jordan speaking before the Judiciary Committee

"Running for the U.S. Senate" Carol Moseley-Braun's interviewed with Julian Bond

Instructions: Click on the above link. Select the picture of Carol Moseley-Braun. Select the "Running for the U.S. Senate" link in the navigation panel on the left.

Analyzing Documents
Divide the class into six small groups of 4-5 students. Provide two groups with Chisholm documents, two groups with Jordan documents, and 2 groups with Moseley-Braun documents.

See list of documents below:

Shirley Chisolm

Barbara Jordan

Carol Moseley-Braun

Using their fact gathering worksheet, have the students carefully examine the documents and identify five major issues that were important to Congresswomen Chisholm and Jordan, and Senator Moseley-Braun. Then answer the following questions. Post the following questions on the board for each member of Congress.

Rep. Shirley Chisholm
• Why did Rep. Shirley Chisholm use the campaign slogan "Unbossed and Unbrought"?

• What were Rep. Chisholm's concerns about education during her 1968 campaign for Congress that she continued to fight for throughout her political career and beyond?

• In her 1961 report to her constituents, what did Rep. Chisholm discuss about her testimony before the House Subcommittees on Postsecondary Education and Education and Labor?

Rep. Barbara Jordan
• In her speech, Rep. Barbara Jordan described the division of the legislative branches (House and Senate) roles in the impeachment process. What is the House assigned to do? What is the Senate assigned to do? Why did the writers of the Constitution specify the separation of these roles?

• What key points did Rep. Jordan outline as reasons for impeaching a president?

• Why do you think it was important for Rep. Jordan to explain the Article of Impeachment found in the Constitution?

Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun
• Senator Moseley-Braun was concerned about charitable health facilities and staff being hindered by potential lawsuits when providing volunteer care. What did she propose in her bill to protect health professionals? Why would this be important in an underserved community?

• Senator Moseley-Braun sponsored the bill titled Education Infrastructure Act of 1994 that became law allocating funds for repairing crumbling schools. What impact do you think a well maintained school building has on student moral and learning?

Allow the students 10-15 minutes to review and discuss the documents in their group. Have each group to share with the class the outcome of their discussions and what new information they may have learned about the members of Congress. Please note: If you do not have enough time during class for the students to complete their analysis of the documents, you may want to consider it as a homework assignment.

Have the students prepare a one-page speech with a slogan highlighting issues that would concern Reps. Chisholm and Jordan, and Moseley-Braun if they were running for the presidency or Congress today.

Extended Optional Activity

Online Research: Have the students visit Avoice: African Americans in Congress website to review Chisholm Timelime and the Jordan Timeline to learn more about their Congressional activities.

Art Activity: Have the students create a campaign poster to accompany their speech.

additional information and links.