In this project, students will apply the lessons they learned from Emmett Till’s story to create a Toolbox for Racial Justice. They will create a real, tangible toolbox that can take a variety of forms: an actual box with a new design or decoration, a hollowed-out old book, a soft-sided sewn object, a picture frame, a shadow box, or something else that represents or relates to their topic. Students’ “tools” can take many forms: paintings, collages or other forms of visual art, poems or favorite quotations, or symbolic objects, to name just a few.
To complete the project, students will need to reflect on what they have learned in the unit and formative activities and their answer to the essential question: As we pursue racial justice today, what can be learned from the choices people have made in response to racial violence in the past?
Students should also consider the questions that follow when deciding which items to include in their toolbox:
- What will I have in my toolbox that will extend my knowledge about what it means to achieve racial justice today?
- What will I have in my toolbox that will help me translate that knowledge into action?
- What will I have in my toolbox that will connect me to the work of previous generations who have fought for racial justice?
- What will I have in my toolbox that will connect me to other young people pursuing racial justice?
- What will I have in my toolbox that will empower me to be a truth-teller like Ida B. Wells and Mamie Till-Mobley?
- What will I have in my toolbox that will help me harness the power of images/and or the media?
- What will I have in my toolbox that will sustain me when this work gets hard?
In addition to the toolbox, students will also complete a short writing assignment that explains their tools, how they imagine they will use each of them, and how the tools connect to some of the topics addressed in the unit (e.g., the role of truth-telling to expose and challenge injustice, the impact of images and the media, and the power of youth activism).