This lesson seeks to introduce students to the California Gold Rush by examining the gender stereotypes of the time. This lesson asks students to consider how gender roles and stereotypes have changed since the Gold Rush.
This lesson will increase student’s understanding of Charley Parkhurst and his gender and important contributions in the context of the founding of California and the Westward movement in the mid 1880s. Note that the context of this lesson may be set in 4th, 5th, or 8th grade history content.
This inquiry-based lesson explores the life of Charley Parkhurst, who was born female but lived, and gained fame, as a stagecoach driver in late nineteenth century California. The lesson is envisioned as one, among several, that would explore the consequences of the Gold Rush and statehood in California. This lesson centers around gender expression, within a broader conversation about opportunities available to migrants to California during the Gold Rush Era.
Students will learn about the Black Cat Tavern riots and the start of the gay rights movement.
In this lesson, students will analyze the purpose of the Briggs Initiative (Prop 6), which was on the California general election ballot in 1978. The referendum sought to ban gays and lesbians, and potentially supporters of gays and lesbians, from working in California’s public schools. Then, students will evaluate voices of those opposed to the initiative by reading posters and flyers. Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official, was a key political figure that led the debate against people like Senator John Briggs and Anita Bryant. Additionally, the Briggs Initiative was challenged by other marginalized groups including African Americans, feminists, and unionists. Finally, students will conduct a close reading of Harvey Milk’s speech given after the defeat of the Briggs Initiative on June 25, 1978 at California’s Gay Freedom Day. The lesson may take 90-120 minutes depending on the reading level of students and the language support needed. To divide the lesson into two days, it is suggested that the close read be done on day 2.
The FAIR Education Act (Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful Education Act) was passed in 2011 in California State Legislature. It advocates for the inclusive representation of LGBTQ and disability communities in California History and Social Science Curriculums. In this lesson, students will participate in pre-reading activities, close-read the SB 48 text and build community amongst peers in the classroom. By the end of the lesson, students will have examined the opinions of those in opposition of the bill and those in support of the bill, including the LGBTQ youth voices who advocated for themselves in the senate hearings (using the framework of Critical Media Literacy by Jeff Share). By highlighting youth agency, this lesson aims to both celebrate the people involved in passing this groundbreaking bill and to provide students with the language necessary to communicate what their rights are.