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The following activities will help students better understand the relationship between the events that occurred in Canterbury, Connecticut, and Little Rock, Arkansas.

Activity 1: The Road to Educational Equality
Referring back to the information in Setting the Stage and Determining the Facts, ask students to circle the dates that they find and underline the event(s) that occurred. Next, have students construct a timeline of events related to school desegregation that are connected to the Prudence Crandall Museum and Little Rock Central High School. Encourage them to use their textbooks or other sources to fill in any gaps. After the timelines are complete, hold a class discussion to explore some of the challenges faced by African Americans and white supporters in the struggle for integrated schools.

Activity 2: From Canterbury to Little Rock
Have students complete the chart below. After they have finished, have them study the results and then write a brief essay comparing and contrasting events in Canterbury and Little Rock. They should look for similarities and differences between the people involved, the chronology of events, the characteristics of the communities, prevailing social and political conditions of the times, the end result, and so forth.

Questions Canterbury Little Rock
1. When did the significant events occur at the school?
2. In what region of the country did the events occur?
3. What was the prevailing attitude toward African Americans at the time?
4. Was the school involved public or private?
5. Was the community supportive of establishing the school? How can you tell?
6. For whom did the community originally intend the school?
7. What had prevented African Americans from attending the school in the first place?
8. What alternatives did the community offer for educating African Americans?
9. Did changes made by the local, state or federal government affect admission of African-American students to the school? If so, when and how?
10. What was the reaction to African Americans attending the school?
11. Did the local, state or federal government attempt to control public reaction? If so, what action did they take?
12. What kind and how much publicity did the events receive?
13. When and why was the school closed? Did it close permanently?
14. What was the ultimate result of the events that occurred at the school?

Activity 3: History of Public Education in the Local Community
Have students work in groups to research the history of public education in their community and prepare a report/presentation. Students should try to find answers to the following questions and then summarize how public education has changed over the years.

1.When was public education first available in the community? How were children educated prior to this?
2.What did the early school(s) look like? What grades and subjects were taught?
3.Were public schools segregated? If so, what group(s) was/were separated? Was there a legal basis for the segregation?
4.Was the community affected by desegregation? In what ways? How did the community react to desegregation?
5. Approximately how many schools--of all types--did the community have in the 1830s? 1950s? Today?
6. Approximately how many students were enrolled in public schools in your community in the 1830s? 1950s? Today?

 

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