Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans

Lesson 17


Unit 6

4th Grade

Lesson 17 of 25


Describe how the experience of fighting in World War II changed the people who returned home and how it changed the country.

Readings and Materials

  • Book: Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans by Kadir Nelson  pp. 71 – 77 — Chapter 9

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Target Task

Writing Prompt

What evidence does the author include to show how the experience of fighting in World War II changed the people who returned home from war? How did it change the country? Include examples from both the text and the illustrations.  

Sample Response

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Key Questions

Key Questions

  • What happened during the Great Depression?

  • Describe the Nazis. What did they believe? How did that influence the way they treated others?

  • How were Black soldiers treated? Despite the conditions, why did so many Black people want to be soldiers?

  • Why were the Tuskegee Airmen (the 332nd) and the 761st Tank Battalion important?

  • Read the quote from page 77: "We had gone to war for our country to stop racist people from taking over the world, and yet at home Jim Crow held us in his grip just as tightly as before." Why does this not make sense?

  • On page 77, what does the narrator mean when she says, "Jim Crow's days were numbered"?

Exit Ticket

Assess student understanding and monitor progress toward this lesson's objective with an Exit Ticket.




(p. 74)

ordered to join the military



(p. 77)

entering a place to take control by military force

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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.4.7 — Interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively (e.g., in charts, graphs, diagrams, time lines, animations, or interactive elements on Web pages) and explain how the information contributes to an understanding of the text in which it appears.
  • RI.4.8 — Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text.

Supporting Standards

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