TVA Opportunities for African Americans

Founded by Congress and approved by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1933, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) was established to control flooding and navigation along the Tennessee River Valley. TVA provided tens of thousands of jobs for citizens of the Tennessee Valley, including African Americans. 

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
AAH.29
Analyze the impact of the Great Depression and the New Deal on the lives of African Americans.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.4
Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grades 11-12 reading and content, choosing flexibly...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.8
Delineate and evaluate the reasoning in seminal U.S. texts, including the application of constitutional principles and use of legal reasoning...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.1
Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.1
Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text,...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1
Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.1
Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.2
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.3
Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.4
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience....
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.9
Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
CLE 3001.2.5
Understand strategies for expressing ideas clearly and effectively in a variety of oral contexts.
CLE 3001.2.7
Participate in work teams and group discussions.
CLE 3001.5.1
Use logic to make inferences and draw conclusions in a variety of challenging oral and written contexts.
CLE 3001.5.2
Analyze text for fact and opinion, cause/effect, inferences, evidence, and conclusions.
CLE 3001.5.3
Evaluate an argument, considering false premises, logical fallacies, and the quality of evidence presented.
CLE 3001.5.4
Analyze the logical features of an argument
CLE 3001.6.1
Comprehend and summarize the main ideas of informational and technical texts and determine the essential elements that elaborate them.
CLE 3001.8.4
Analyze works of literature for what is suggested about the historical period in which they were written.
CLE 3002.2.7
Participate in work teams and group discussions.
CLE 3002.5.1
Use logic to make inferences and draw conclusions in a variety of challenging oral and written contexts.
CLE 3002.5.2
Analyze text for fact and opinion, cause-effect, inferences, evidence, and conclusions.
CLE 3002.5.3
Evaluate an argument, considering false premises, logical fallacies, and the quality of evidence presented.
CLE 3002.5.4
Analyze the logical features of an argument.
CLE 3002.6.1
Comprehend and summarize the main ideas of informational and technical texts and determine the essential elements that elaborate them.
CLE 3002.8.4
Analyze works of literature for what is suggested about the historical period in which they were written.
CLE 3003.1.2
Employ a variety of strategies and resources to determine the definition, pronunciation, etymology, spelling, and usage of words and phrases.
CLE 3003.3.1
Write in a variety of modes, with particular emphasis on persuasion, for different purposes and audiences.
CLE 3003.3.3
Organize ideas into an essay with a thesis statement in the introduction, well-constructed paragraphs, a conclusion, and transition sentences that connect...
CLE 3003.5.1
Use logic to make inferences and draw conclusions in a variety of complex oral and written contexts.
CLE 3003.5.2
Analyze text for fact and opinion, cause/effect, inferences, evidence, and conclusions.
CLE 3005.1.2
Employ a variety of strategies and resources to determine the definition, pronunciation, etymology, spelling, and usage of words and phrases.
CLE 3005.3.1
Write in a variety of modes for different purposes and audiences.
CLE 3005.3.3
Organize ideas into an essay with a thesis statement in the introduction, well-constructed paragraphs, a conclusion, and transition sentences that connect...
CLE 3005.5.1
Use logic to make inferences and draw conclusions in a variety of complex oral and written contexts.
CLE 3005.5.2
Analyze text for fact and opinion, cause/effect, inferences, evidence, and conclusions.
CLE 3005.5.4
Analyze the logical features of an argument.
SPI 3001.2.7
Select the most appropriate strategies for participating productively in a team (e.g., gaining the floor in orderly, respectful ways and listening with civility...
SPI 3001.5.1
Make inferences and draw conclusions based on evidence in text.
SPI 3002.1.9
Recognize a shift in either verb tense or point of view within a writing sample.
SPI 3002.2.7
Select the most appropriate strategies for participating productively in a team (e.g., gaining the floor in orderly, respectful ways and listen with civility to...
SPI 3002.5.1
Make inferences and draw conclusions based on evidence in text.
SPI 3003.1.11
Correctly choose verb forms in terms of tense, voice (i.e., active and passive), and mood for continuity.
SPI 3003.3.13
Identify the targeted audience for a selected passage.
SPI 3003.3.8
Choose the transitional device that appropriately connects sentences or paragraphs within a writing sample.
SPI 3003.3.9
Rearrange the order of supporting paragraphs within a writing sample given a specified organizational pattern (comparison-contrast, chronological).
SPI 3003.4.3
Evaluate the reliability and credibility of sources for use in research.
SPI 3003.5.11
Identify the main claim, premise(s), evidence, or conclusion of a given argument.
SPI 3003.5.8
Determine whether a given argument employs deductive or inductive reasoning. (NOTE: NO Check for Understanding)
TSS.ELA.11-12.L.VAU.4
Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on 11th -12th grade-level text by choosing flexibly from a...
TSS.ELA.11-12.RI.KID.1
Analyze what a text says explicitly and draw inferences; support an interpretation of a text by citing and synthesizing relevant textual evidence from...
TSS.ELA.11-12.RL.KID.1
Analyze what a text says explicitly and draw inferences; support an interpretation of a text by citing and synthesizing relevant textual evidence from...
TSS.ELA.11-12.W.PDW.4
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
TSS.ELA.11-12.W.TTP.1
Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning supported by relevant and sufficient evidence.
TSS.ELA.11-12.W.TTP.2
Write informative/explanatory texts to analyze, synthesize, and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the...
TSS.ELA.11-12.W.TTP.3
Write narrative fiction or literary nonfiction to convey experiences and/or events using effective techniques, well-chosen details, and well-structured...
TSS.ELA.9-10.RI.KID.1
Analyze what a text says explicitly and draw inferences; cite the strongest, most compelling textual evidence to support conclusions.
TSS.ELA.9-10.RL.KID.1
Analyze what a text says explicitly and draw inferences; cite the strongest, most compelling textual evidence to support conclusions.
TSS.ELA.9-10.SL.CC.1
Initiate and participate effectively with varied partners in a range of collaborative discussions on appropriate 9th- 10th grade topics, texts, and...
TSS.ELA.9-10.W.RBPK.9
Support and defend interpretations, analyses, reflections, or research with evidence found in literature or informational texts, applying grade band...
 
Alignment of this item to academic standards is based on recommendations from content creators, resource curators, and visitors to this website. It is the responsibility of each educator to verify that the materials are appropriate for your content area, aligned to current academic standards, and will be beneficial to your specific students.
 
Learning objectives: 
  • Students will analyze primary source photographs from the early to mid1900s.
  • Students will analyze texts and interview transcripts.
Essential and guiding questions: 
  • How did African American TVA workers and their families benefit from employment through the New Deal program?
  • How did Jim Crow practices impact these workers and how did they respond?

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Analyzing
Extension suggestions: 
  • Students can explore the Trials and Triumphs Web site to learn more about Tennessee’s history between the end of the American Civil War and the end of World War II.
  • Students can examine the NAACP: 100 Years of History Web site and the Library of Congress exhibition, NAACP: A Century in the Fight for Freedom, to learn more about the organization and its actions doing during this time period.
  • For a detailed timeline of the history of the TVA, students can explore the official Web site of the Tennessee Valley Authority. This timeline begins with President Roosevelt’s solutions to the New Deal through technological advances and ends with today, when TVA is the nation's largest public power provider and a corporation of the U.S. government.
  • Students may also analyze the Tennessee Valley Authority Act, which was passed by Congress on May 18, 1933. Using the index at the end of the document, students can choose research topics that influenced or were effected by TVA. Possible research topics include: Southern Tennessee Power Company, Clinch River, Muscle Shoals, Mississippi Power Company, patents granted to employees of TVA, etc.

Helpful Hints

MATERIALS AND RESOURCES:

  • Writing exercise: “Overcoming Challenges” worksheet

Primary Sources: Photographs

  • Negroes speed war work for Tennessee Valley Authority… [1942]
  • Defense housing. The second section of the experimental trailer-house is joined to the first section… [between 1940 and 1946]
  • Production. Steam power plant equipment… [1942]
  • Wilson Dam, Alabama (Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)). Workers at safety meeting [1942]
  • General planning. A graphic map used in conjunction with the river transport development program of the Authority [between 1933 and 1945]
  • Primary Source: Quilt
  • Uncle Sam's Helping Hand Quilt by Ruth Clement Bond and Rose Lee Cooper [1934] From: Trials and Triumphs: Tennesseans Search for Citizenship, Community, and Opportunity.

Primary Sources: Texts

  • Interview of Ruth Clement Bond by Jewell Fenzi, November 12, 1992
  • Davis, John. "The Plight of the Negro in the Tennessee Valley." The Crisis, October 1, 1935: 294-295, 314.