Lesson Plan: Race and Government Policy in Revolutionary Cuba

What better way to teach tolerance in the classroom today than with lessons that use multimedia, active inquiry and authentic, real-world context?  This lesson plan was originally created in 2010 by Karen Michels, a teacher at the Beacon School, while participating in the Teacher Residency Program of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS) at New York University. Karen’s curricular materials may also be found on the CLACS website.

The lesson aims to interrogate ways in which Fidel Castro tried to eliminate racial inequality and racism in Cuba during the revolutionary period. Included in the lesson is video from the PBS series, Black in Latin America, supplementary reading and activities that focus on questions such as “What are effective government policy approaches for eliminating racial inequality and discrimination?” and “What factors influence how governments deal with racial inequality?”

Among the resources in this lesson, you’ll find a slide presentation and five videos, among them The Black Fear,  common among the ruling establishment in many colonial societies, and Segregation and Discrimination Following Independence, including that found in the U. S. military administration, replicating in Cuba some of the segregation practices under Jim Crow in the American south.

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