Grades 6-8 Summit Learning


This inquiry leads students through an investigation of the use of reparations to make amends for the enslavement, exploitation, and generational racism Black people have endured. The compelling question﹣Why are reparations controversial?﹣asks students to evaluate the controversy surrounding reparations payments, engage with narratives of Black people, and compare precedents set by organizations and governments. This investigation spans the Antebellum Era through the 21st century to highlight the ongoing struggle for equality.


Compelling Question:

Why are reparations controversial?

Staging the Question:

Generate questions surrounding the concept and forms of reparations.

Supporting Question How did Black Codes and Jim Crow laws harm Black people after slavery ended?

Formative Task Create a mind map demonstrating the different impacts of Black Codes and Jim Crow Laws on Black people.

Sources Source A: Artifact, Alabama Poll Tax Receipt
Source B: Article, “Voter Suppression”
Source C: Article, “Exploiting Black Labor after the Abolition of Slavery”
Source D: List of Jim Crow Laws


Supporting Question How have organizations and governments used reparations?

Formative Task Create a list of ways in which a government or organization has paid or could pay reparations to groups or individuals.

Source A: Article, “Sherman’s Field Order #15”
Source B: Article, “A Formerly Enslaved Woman Successfully Won a Case for Reparations”
Source C: Article, “Georgetown Students...Create Reparations Fund”


Supporting Question What are the potential impacts of reparations?

Formative Task Write 1-2 paragraphs explaining the impacts of reparations in the form of monetary reparations, public apologies, and/or acts of community building.

Sources Source A: Article, “Japanese Americans’ Campaign for Reparations”
Source B: Op-Ed, “Reparations Are an Opportunity…”
Source C: Interview, Barack Obama


Supporting Question Why are reparations currently being discussed?

Formative Task Write an evidence-based claim considering why reparations are currently being discussed in the country today.

Sources Source A: Gallup survey data, “Americans’ Views on Reparations”
Source B: Gallup survey data, “Black Americans’ Attitudes about Race”

Summative Performance Task

Argument: Why are reparations controversial? Construct an argument (e.g., detailed outline, poster, essay) that evaluates the controversies surrounding reparations using specific claims and relevant evidence from historical and contemporary sources, while acknowledging competing views.
Extension: To extend their arguments, students can research international examples of reparations (or reparations debates).

Taking Informed Action

Understand: Embedded in the inquiry’s supporting questions.
Assess: Deliberate on the potential impact of reparations.
Act: Create a student guide explaining the situation and reparations, including a list of credible resources for learning more about reparations.