July 30, 2020

Equal Protection

Equal Opportunity in the Workplace

Employment opportunities are central to American life and notions of equality. One of the legacies of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is protection from discrimination in the workplace and the creation of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In this exercise, students are asked to compare historical job advertisements with those from today. Then they are asked to consider how Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 might affect job advertising.

Exploring the Effects of Title IX

Although the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was written in order to end discrimination in various fields based on religion, race, color, or national origin, in the area of employment the act also prohibited sex discrimination. A prohibition on sex discrimination in public education and federally assisted programs was not found in the 1964 act, but was part of a group of amendments known as the Education Amendments of 1972. Even though Title IX does not mention sports programs, its connection to extracurricular sports is real and concrete for students. This lesson uses a political cartoon to discuss sports programs in schools, provides background for students on Title IX, and asks them to consider the connection between federal funds, discrimination, and civil rights.

John Adams and the Boston Massacre

Most, if not all, U.S. history textbooks give some coverage to the “Boston Massacre.” But what about the trials that followed it? What really happened? What was John Adams’s role in those trials? What is its significance for American law and history?

Realizing the Dream Today                                   

Students will analyze a political cartoon depicting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the title of his famous speech, “I Have a Dream”. Discussion of the meaning of the cartoon leads into a more general conversation about rights and equality. 

Unfairness Under the Law

This structured discussion activitity helps participants understand that legal decisions are made in a world in which things are rarely clear cut. Implementing various public policies challenge our assumptions of fairness and equality; our system is created to try to find a balance in our treatment of each other. This section challenges participants to assess “fairness” in a variety of contexts.