Fall 2020 Education Series
JFK Library Teaching and Learning Tuesdays
From the Library's Department of Education and Public Programs Team
October 6, 2020

The Right to Vote
Campaigns and Elections

The power of the vote -- help your students understand the history of voting rights and contemporary voting rights issues. Pair these 2020 election activities with lessons on voting rights!
2020 National Student Mock Election
Engage K-12 Students in the Mock Election
There is still time to sign up for the National Student Mock Election! Whether in a classroom or learning remotely, students can vote and learn about civic engagement with thousands of other students from across the United States. The Kennedy Library is the administrator for the Massachusetts program and provides curricular resources that explore the 2020 Presidential Election and the core principles of voting.
Massachusetts Educators
Non-Massachusetts Educators
Ready-to-Go Resources
Lesson Plan
Addressing Racial Discrimination in Voting
Grades 5-8
In this lesson, students examine primary source material to learn how the tools of democracy have been used to challenge racial discrimination in voting. Includes "The Most Powerful and Precious Right": A Voting Rights Photo Book and a research activity on current voting rights.
Lesson Plan
Political Debates: Advising a Candidate
Grades 7-12
In this lesson, students analyze excerpts from the first Kennedy-Nixon debate and a memo assessing the debate from one of Kennedy's advisers. They then use the memo as a model as they watch a current political debate to consider the strengths and weaknesses of the candidate they support.
Image credit:
Courtesy of the Library of Congress
Lesson Plan
Barriers to Voting: Poll Taxes
Grades 8-12
The 24th Amendment to the Constitution, banning the poll tax in federal elections, was passed in the Congress on August 27, 1962 and ratified on January 23, 1964. In this lesson, students consider the impact of the poll tax as a barrier to voting by examining four primary sources.
Expanding Democracy Conference
In commemoration of the centennial of the 19th Amendment, this conference will explore the history of the suffrage movement and how efforts to broaden voting rights have evolved over time. Archivist of the United States David Ferriero and Deputy Archivist of the United States Debra Steidel Wall will introduce sessions that will explore the origins and development of suffrage efforts as well as contemporary voting rights issues. 
Tuesday, October 27th
6:00 - 7:30 PM EDT
Molly Ball, national political correspondent for TIME and author of the new book Pelosi, and Susan Page, USA Today’s Washington bureau chief and author of the forthcoming Madam Speaker, discuss Nancy Pelosi’s career and leadership as Speaker of the House of Representatives with Nancy Cordes, chief congressional correspondent for CBS News.
Expanding Democracy:
The 19th Amendment and Voting Rights Today
Wednesday, October 28th
11:00 AM - 12:40 PM EDT
Confirmed speakers in this session include UCLA professor emeritus of history Ellen DuBois, Johns Hopkins professor of history Martha S. Jones, University of Connecticut professor of history Manisha Sinha, author Brenda Wineapple, and Carnegie Mellon professor of history Lisa Tetrault.
Expanding Democracy:
The 19th Amendment and Voting Rights Today
Wednesday, October 28th
1:30 - 3:00 PM EDT
Confirmed speakers in this session include University of Virginia professor of politics Jennifer Lawless, University of Massachusetts Boston professor of political science Erin O’Brien, Harvard University professor of government and sociology Theda Skocpol, University of South Carolina professor emerita of history Marjorie Spruill, and Suffolk University professor of government and moderator Rachael Cobb.
Expanding Democracy | Keynote
Wednesday, October 28th
3:30 - 4:30 PM EDT
A culminating keynote session will deepen the conversation about the judicial role in contemporary voting rights issues. Speakers include Judge Nancy Gertner (ret.), senior lecturer on law at Harvard Law School, and former Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Margaret Marshall. Additional details and a registration link will soon be available on our website.
This program is funded in part by Mass Humanities, which receives support from the Mass Cultural Council and is an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Forum Spotlight
Voting Rights in the Kennedy Years
Judge Gordon A. Martin discussed his book, Count Them One by One: Black Mississippians Fighting for the Right to Vote, about the 1962 court case that resulted in one of the first victories for voting rights in the South. Judge Martin was joined by John Doar, who worked for the Justice Department under Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and successfully tried the case; and Helen Bourne McCullough, the daughter of a key witness. Carole Simpson, formerly of ABC's World News Tonight, moderated.
Activity of the Week
Make a Campaign Button
Campaign buttons can pack a powerful message into a small space which may explain why they have been worn for centuries. Abraham Lincoln was the first president to use buttons as a campaign tool. In the 19th century, supporters wore campaign buttons to rallies and demonstrations promoting “Votes for Women.” In 1960, mass-produced campaign buttons were worn by people to show their support for Senator John F. Kennedy or Vice President Richard Nixon. Your students can create their own campaign buttons to support a candidate or a cause of their choice.
Additional Resources from the National Archives
Image credit: NARA/DocsTeach
DocsTeach: Election Collection
The Presidential Libraries of the National Archives hold a wide variety of documents, photographs, artifacts and other historical records. The topics on this page highlight political memorabilia from Presidential campaigns from the 1850s through the 1990s — our #ElectionCollection.
In Case You Missed It...
JFK Library's Teaching and Learning Tuesdays 9/8
The previous e-news featured new Virtual Education Programs; the "Walking through the Door: Integrating the University of Alabama" and "Make Your Voice Heard: Taking a Stand through Music, Writing, and Literature" sessions of the 2020 Massachusetts Civics Literacy Conference; the "Dignity and Justice for All: Stories of Protest, Resistance, and Change" and "American Studies Summer Institute --Changemakers: Youth Activism from the Progressive Era to Today" 2021 professional development offerings; a Physical Fitness Break with "The Kennedy Administration and Physical Fitness" and "Exercise with 'Chicken Fat' "; the "Something Wonderful: Roger and Hammerstein's Broadway Revolution" Forum; the "De-Stress with Origami Activity of the Week"; the "Papers of H. Bentley Hahn: The Man Who Invented the 5-Digit ZIP Code"; and an "After-Hours Waffles" snack break recipe.

In addition, all past emails from this series are available on the Library's website.
John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
Columbia Point, Boston, MA 02125
(617) 514-1600
Open 7 Days 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.