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The Long Shadow

Grade Level Grades 9-12
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Standards Alignment
Common Core State Standards

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About the Guide

This guide is designed for educators discussing the film THE LONG SHADOW in their high school and middle school classrooms. Discussion questions and activities encourage students to think about the ways that present-day race relations are shaped by the legacy of slavery in the U.S. Students will develop a shared vocabulary for discussing the issues of systemic racism and consider their own self-efficacy in advancing racial justice. Lessons are aligned to standards so educators can supplement their language arts and social studies curriculum with activities that promote media literacy and social change.

About the Film

Of all the divisions in America, none is as insidious and tenacious as racism. In this powerful documentary, journalist and activist Frances Causey investigates the roots of our current racial conflicts. A daughter of the South, raised with a romanticized vision of America’s past, Causey is haunted by slavery’s legacy. She passionately seeks the hidden truth and the untold stories that reveal how the sins of yesterday feed modern prejudice, which burns undiminished despite our seeming progress. From the moment of America’s birth, slavery was embedded in institutions, laws, and the economy, and yet even as slavery ended, racism survived like

“an infection.” By telling individual stories—of free blacks in Canada; of a modern, racially motivated shooting—Causey movingly personalizes the costs and the stakes of continued inaction. “The past is never dead,” William Faulkner once said, and this echoes one scholar’s warning: “We’re still fighting the Civil War, and the South is winning.”

Standards

Analyze the impact of the author’s choices regarding how to develop and relate elements of a story or drama (e.g., where a story is set, how the action is ordered, how the characters are introduced and developed).
Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11–12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.
Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

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