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. Facing I nj u stice A Thematic Literature Unit. What does this image bring to mind?. Warm-Up. Make a list of things you consider to be your “rights.”. Warm-Up. Discuss: From where do we get such rights as those you listed?. Is It Always True?.

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facing i nj u stice a thematic literature unit

Facing InjusticeA Thematic Literature Unit

What does this image bring to mind?

warm up

Make a list of things you consider to be your “rights.”

warm up1


From where do we get such rights as those you listed?

is it always true
Is It Always True?

Complete this handout independently. You MUST justify your responses in the “Why” sections.


* On Jan. 6, 1941, President Rooseveltdelivered his historic“Four Freedoms” speech.* Goal of speech: to justify U.S. entrance into WW II—all people deserve the freedoms that Americans have.* Rockwell created this series of paintings in response to FDR’s speech.* Can you tell what the four freedoms are?


Freedom of Speech

Freedom of Worship

Freedom from Fear

Freedom from Want

facing injustice

Facing Injustice

What is this unit all about?

enduring understandings
Enduring Understandings
  • Through first-person accounts such as autobiographies, biographies, and memoirs, readers reflect on how they can avoid repeating injustices of the past.
  • Injustice is often instigated by groups in power; however, it is often supported consciously or unconsciously by the silence of the citizenry.
  • Injustice can be fueled by prejudices which are based on inaccurate or incomplete information about others.
  • Ordinary citizens can make a societal difference.
  • Great works of literature illustrate human struggles, expose societal flaws, and inspire social reform.
essential questions
Essential Questions
  • What are the causes and consequences of prejudice and injustice?
  • How does an individual’s response to prejudice and injustice reveal his or her true character?
  • What is the value of learning about injustice from the point of view of someone who has experienced it?
  • How can we ensure that all groups are treated equally under the laws of a country?
  • What options does an individual have when faced with injustice on a large or small scale?
a word of warning
A Word of Warning:
  • Some of the issues and topics we discuss during this unit “Facing Injustice” are sensitive. Unlike the violence in Poe’s stories, the hatred, violence, and pain that comes with injustice is REAL.
  • History can be sad, cruel, and painful. However, to ignore the painful parts of our history would be wrong. It does not honor the hardship and suffering of the victims. And as a human race, we should learn from the past to create a more peaceful future.
  • As students, my expectation is that you will be sensitive and compassionate to the examples of injustice that you witness through art, written word, film, and music. You will speak from a place of kindness and understanding. And you will keep an open mind as to how we can form a better society from the difficult lessons of the past.
art and music
Art and Music
  • Art and music both provide ways for people to express what they are going through as well as share a message with society.
  • We are going to view and listen to some art and music that fit the theme of “Facing Injustice” so that we can begin to explore the emotions and ideas of this unit.
norman rockwell s the problem we all live with 1964
Norman Rockwell’s The Problem We All Live With, 1964
  • This piece of art was painted during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.
  • It depicts a six year old girl being escorted by four deputy U.S. marshals so that she can attend school.
  • The girl’s name is Ruby Bridges, and she is still alive today (59 years old).
  • Link to a video of Ruby Bridges (girl in painting) viewing her portrait in the White House with President Obama:
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCsJ-24MdZc
pablo picasso s guernica 1937
Pablo Picasso’s Guernica, 1937
  • Painted on a mural size canvas (3.5 meters by 7.8 meters wide)
  • Picasso was trying to bring the world’s attention to the bombing of a small town in Spain. The town was Guernica and it was bombed by the Germans who were supporting the Nationalist forces during Spanish Civil War.
  • The painting was done in shades of black, white, and gray using oil paints.
pablo picasso s guernica 19371
Pablo Picasso’s Guernica, 1937


  • Dave Matthews Band

Song: “Cry Freedom”

Album: Crash

Release Date: 1996

cry freedom
“Cry Freedom”
  • Annotate the lyrics as you listen to the song. Focus on the following questions:
    • What are your initial interpretations about this song?
    • What messages do you think DMB is sending about the theme of facing injustice?
cry freedom1
“Cry Freedom”
  • Some believe Dave Matthews wrote this song in response to the end of Apartheid in South Africa, his country of origin.
  • Let’s learn more about what Apartheid was to determine if this is a logical conclusion.