Activity-Learning from Documents
Best for students in grades six through twelve
Students will examine two public laws and other primary resources related to the Bracero worker program and apply their knowledge to evaluate whether the program was carried out as intended.
Students will be better able to
• describe aspects of the Bracero labor program, which operated from 1942 to 1964.
• use documents as primary resources.
• Public Law 45 available at http://www.ccrh.org/comm/moses/primary/bracero.html
• Public Law 78 available at http://library.uwb.edu/guides/USimmigration/1951_public_law_78.html
• Documents, essays and photographs located at http://www.braceroarchive.org
• Computer with Internet access
• Pen, pencils and paper
Lesson Plan Text
1. Ask students to read the first two paragraphs Public Law 45 and section 501 Public Law 78 (Explain to students that they are reading primary documents; in this case, legislation which relates to the creation and implementation of the Bracero program in the United States.) Have them fill out the Document Analysis Worksheet (available at http://braceroarchive.org/DocumentAnalysisWorksheet.pdf). For extra challenge, consider asking students to describe how these laws fit into or contrasted against other programs put in place by the presidents involved (Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, and Lyndon B. Johnson). For additional research into the presidents, consider visiting the online exhibition The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden (http://americanhistory.si.edu/presidency/home.html), from the National Museum of American History.
2. Have students search the Bracero Archive (www.braceroarchive.org) to research the living and working conditions of bracero program’s workers. Have students record the resources they examine and take notes of from each resource.
3. Using the evidence from their research, have students discuss this topic: Did farmers follow through with the laws and protections set forth by these laws? What evidence do you have to support your conclusion?
Download an Assessment Rubric for this Activity
Download this activity guide