Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans

Lesson 17


Unit 6

4th Grade

Lesson 17 of 29


Explain what effect the Great Migration had on the lives of African Americans and the challenges they faced in their new communities. 

Readings and Materials

  • Book: Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans by Kadir Nelson  pp. 53 – 61 — Chapter 7

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Target Task

Multiple Choice

Which statement best explains the impact of the Great Migration of the lives of African Americans?

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Writing Prompt

What effect did the Great Migration have on the lives of African Americans? Support your answer with two to three specific examples from the text and illustrations.

Sample Response

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Key Questions

  • What evidence does the author include to support the point that "the years after Reconstruction were some of the darkest since slavery"?

  • Read the sentence from page 54. "Word about the new jobs spread like wildfire." What does it mean if something spreads like wildfire? How did the news impact Black communities in the South? White communities? Why did they have different responses?

  • In what ways had "Jim Crow made the trip right along with" them? Were things as bad in the North as they were in the South? Defend why or why not.

  • What did Booker T. Washington believe? Did everyone agree with his ideas? Why or why not?

  • What does the author mean that "racism had been spoon-fed to generations of American children for hundreds of years"? What impact did this have on the way Black people and White people interacted?

  • How do the illustrations help the reader better understand what life was like for Black people during the Great Migration?




to kill someone, usually for political reasons

"back on feet"


recovered and back to normal



not allowed by law

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Common Core Standards

  • RI.4.3 — Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.
  • RI.4.5 — Describe the overall structure (e.g., chronology, comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution) of events, ideas, concepts, or information in a text or part of a text.
  • RI.4.8 — Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text.

Supporting Standards

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