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May 16, 2014

"American Skin" Song Analysis

Grade Level:



Students will explore their ideas about fairness in the American criminal justice system and the role of race and ethnicity by analyzing the depiction of the Amadou Diallo shooting in Bruce Springsteen’s song “American Skin (41Shots).” They will apply newly acquired knowledge about the protections and limits of the Fourth and 14th Amendment and law enforcement challenges to a reevaluation of their ideas about fair and equal treatment by the police.


Time needed:

1-3 class periods, depending


Materials Required:

“American Skin” Lesson Plan

Optional Materials:

National Archives Sound Recording Analysis Woksheet


National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies, National Council for the Social Studies:

Theme 6: Power, Authority, and Governance

Theme 10: Civic Ideals and Practices