Submitted by ehine on Mon, 02/26/2018 - 11:26

Resource: “Loving v. Virginia: United States Law Case” by Brian Duignan in Encyclopaedia Britannica.

  1. Project the encyclopedia entry on Loving v. Virginia in front of the class. Ask your students to read silently and to write down the words and phrases they think are important, any words they don’t understand, and any questions they have about the Supreme Court case.
  2. Ask your students to get into small groups and to share what they think is important about the case, as well as the questions they have.
  3. Whole-group discussion: Why is this case important in American history? Do you think it has changed attitudes toward mixed couples in this country? Why or why not? (Remember to make sure your students feel safe and respected by one another when sharing their interpretations. Consider co-teaching this lesson with a social studies colleague.)
  4. Project the poem “Sherbet” in front of the class and tell your students that it was published in 1991, twenty-four years after Loving v. Virginia was decided. Ask them to read it silently and write down the words, phrases, and structural elements that jump out at them. Ask one student to read the poem aloud while the listening students write down new words and phrases that they hadn’t noticed before. Repeat this process with a second student reading the poem aloud.
  5. Ask your students to get in small groups to discuss the following questions: What is the situation in the poem? How do the people in the poem react to the situation? How does the waitress seem to feel? The manager? The speaker? What did your students notice (the evidence) in the poem that shows how these people feel? 
  6. Whole-class discussion: Why does the speaker describe the situation as being difficult to deal with in word? Does the poem’s structure indicate something about the speaker’s feelings? If so, how? What do you think the following lines mean: “a weight that / Doesn’t fingerprint, / And can’t explode”?