Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag Symbols of Us: Identity Capes or Flags

In this lesson, students will learn about a key activist and leader in LGBTQ history, learn about the creator of the rainbow flag, share and explore identity through discussion of literature and art, explore the concept of identity, and embrace differences in the classroom community through the creation of identity pride flags or capes.

How did Harvey Milk and the Briggs Initiative unite marginalized groups?

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.

Give Them Hope: Creating Movements, Building Bridges

Students will learn about the life and accomplishments of Harvey Milk. Harvey Milk was an American politician who became the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in the United States. Harvey Milk used a simple problem that affected the everyday lives of San Francisco’s residents to gain support from people outside of the LGBTQ community and work on larger issues.

Stonewall 50

This lesson plan explores the history of LGBTQ Liberation from 1959 – 1979, and is a companion to the exhibit “Stonewall 50: The Spark That Lit the Flame” from the Center on Colfax’s Colorado LGBTQ History Project. It includes primary sources and panels from the exhibit designed to weave together, in cooperative small-group learning, the narrative of Stonewall with the LGBTQ history of Denver. Students will use primary sources not widely available, and will understand the context leading up to Stonewall and the changes which occurred there after. From the Mattachine Society, the Black Cat Tavern and Compton’s Cafeteria Riot, to the Denver Gay Revolt, Harvey Milk, as well as a detailed timeline of the riots, and the diverse voices there-in. Your students will be among the first generation of Americans to know and tell these stories. Their words will shape the future and change the world. (Includes: Bibliography, Teacher Resources, Understanding By Design, Colorado Content Standards Aligned, Grades 8-12).

During this lesson students will answer a question open to historical debate “Why were the Stonewall riots the moment that sparked the LGBTQ Liberation Movement in American History?” Students will then be given panels from the Stonewall 50 history exhibit talking about the history of Stonewall: the events leading up to Stonewall, the events of the riots themselves, and the events and organizations that developed after the riots, such as the Gay Activist Alliance (GAA) and Gay Liberation Front (GLF), as well as the first Denver LGBTQ pride event, and the National March on Washington for Gay & Lesbian Rights in 1979. Students will be given 15 minutes to read panels from the exhibit underlining the important names, dates and events. Students will then share what they learned. Students will then create their own posters outlining the events of the riots as a formative assessment.

The Legacy of the Hays Code

This lesson plan covers queer film representation from the 1920’s to 1970’s, specifically focusing on the impact of the Motion Picture Production Code, otherwise known as the Hays Code. The goal of this lesson is to explain the historical context behind LGBTQ+ stereotypes that still persist today in Western media.

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Submit LGBTQ History and LGBTQ Inclusive Lesson Plans Thank you for your interested in building our lesson library – for both LGBTQ history (aligns with the State History-Social Science Framework and topics generally taught in history classrooms) and LGBTQ Inclusive (Lessons on respect, understanding, identity, gender, acceptance, etc.) lesson plans.   Any lesson plan submitted …