Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

African American Experience in France
Brad Peuster
US History
Time Frame:
Two days
World War I

Grade Levels:
9, 10, 11, 12

Classroom/Homework Activity to be performed:


  • This will be an enrichment lesson done once a general understanding of World War I is established.
  • Front loading the students will watch Episode 2- The Gift of Ken Burns Documentary video for the JAZZ serious ( student note taking how African Americans were treated and what did the Europeans take away from the  African American)

  • Students will read a variety of materials from Articles on the topic to a letter home from an African American Soldier about his time in France


For the students to be able to explain how African Americans were able to spread the American Culture.

District, state, or national performance and knowledge standards/goals/skills met:


  • Key Concepts and Understandings 9-12.WH.5.PC.D

  • Key Concepts and Understandings 9-12.WH.5.PC.D

Secondary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:


Primary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:
Full description of activity or assignment.


  • Homework- Read Chapter 1-Paris Noir

  • Watch Video Day one and get a more general  sense of the African American Experience in World War I

  • In class readings- Sergeant Isum reading and  Library of Congress Blog Reading. Finish with writing assignment due next day.  

Full explanation of the assessment method and/or scoring guide:


  • Students will write a letter home about their time in France...they will write as an African American experiencing these things for the first time.  

  • I want specific examples of how life was different and why it was different?  We know life was better, but WHY? Make sure to include ways that African American are influencing the Europeans that they are meeting also.

  • The letter must show clear examples and information from the readings and the video to clearly show that you have read and understand the material.

  • Letter Rubric