Glencoe McGraw-Hill. The American Journey. Unit Four: The New Republic. Chapter 8: A New Nation
Houghton-Mifflin. A More Perfect Union. Unit 2: The Constitution of the United States.
Chapter 3: Toward the Constitution.
Setting the Context:
During the American Revolution, Abigail Adams, in the spirit of classical liberal principles, wrote a letter to her husband, John Adams, asking him to remember the ladies as the men were discussing principles of democracy and natural rights.
In the same spirit, it must be remembered that while César E. Chávez was fighting a revolution of his own, there were many important women fighting for the same cause. This lesson will focus on one of them, Dolores Huerta.
How was the UFW movement a revolution?
What is the role of women in a revolution?
Expected Learning Outcomes:
Compare the active role that women were taking in both revolutionary movements. Students will also actively promote the role of women in wars/revolutions through proclamations similar to that proclaimed by the City of Berkeley.
Did the students identify many of the key roles that women play in a revolutionary movement? Did students make direct historical connections between the two time periods? Are the proclamations of women in historical time periods made in such a way that other students can see their historical significance and the key roles that they played in the war/revolution?
“Viva Dolores Huerta” City of Berkeley Proclamation available at: ci.berkeley.ca.us/Mayor/proc-06-01-DoloresHuerta
“City News Service September 16, 1996, Monday Headline: L.A. Officials Back Union Effort to Organize Strawberry Pickers
Transcript of interview with Dolores Huerta on the CDE Web site.
Video of Dolores getting hurt in Seattle demonstration.
Picture of Abigail Adams and other women of the American Revolution.
Start a class discussion with “Who are the usual heroes of war or revolutions?” Assuming that the standard answers are men and male soldiers, follow up with, “What are the roles of women during war or revolution?” Then guide the discussion towards the question “Can wars and revolutions be successful without the support and active engagement of women?”
The following alternative motivational activity may be used prior to a “women and revolution” discussion if students are not open to the idea of feminist history. Students can watch excerpts of the movie “Ever After” (it is a revisionist telling of the Cinderella story). Students can then discuss the merits of this telling of the story and debate can ensue concerning which telling of the story would most closely resemble the real fable comes from. While there is no answer, the idea that the “Ever After” version might be considered more ‘factual’ had it been presented first should draw some interesting discussion.
Most likely students will be familiar with “Molly Pitcher” and perhaps Deborah Sampson. However, students need to understand that without women, no revolution can succeed because they make up 50 percent of the population. Students would benefit from a good discussion on revisionist history and feminist history.
Students also need to understand the basics of the farm worker movement and the key role that Dolores Huerta played within the movement and in other important social issues.
The issue of natural rights should be taught in a previous unit so that students are familiar with the concept. Stress that it is a concept that will come up throughout history.
Students should have an independent discussion on the concept of feminism. They should also refer back to the concept throughout their historical studies.
After the motivational activity, students should read excerpts from Abigail Adam’s letter to her husband where she asks him to “remember the ladies.”
Students should then be allowed to watch excerpts from Dolores Huerta’s experience in Seattle and then they should discuss the similarities between the two women. How were they similar? How were they different?
After a discussion about both revolutionary movements, students should read the proclamation by the City of Berkeley, California proclaiming a “Dolores Huerta Day.”
Some time will be given for student research on key women of the American Revolution and the Early Republic.
After researching their subject, students should (individually or in groups) write their own proclamations for the women they studied.
Opportunities should be made to celebrate student efforts and proclamations.
Speaking and listening will be worked on through classroom instruction.
Summative reading and writing will be used as students formulate proclamations.
Dolores Huerta Biography from the UFW Web site and Dolores Huerta Essay from the CDE Web site.
UCLA lessons on Women of the Revolutionary War.
César E. Chávez Middle Level Biography found at CDE Web site.