Learning to Give, Philanthropy education resources that teach giving and civic engagement

Freedom, Fairness and Philanthropy—Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks and Jackie Joyner-Kersee
Unit of 5 lessons

Unit Overview:

The lives of three women are examined. From different time periods, Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks and Jackie Joyner-Kersee all worked to make changes for the common good of people. Harriet Tubman led over 300 enslaved people to freedom. Rosa Parks made a brave stand against unfair laws. Jackie Joyner-Kersee’s generosity has enabled cities to build community centers for children.

Unit Purpose:

The stories of Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks and Jackie Joyner-Kersee are used to teach the concept of philanthropy. The giving of time and talent are exemplified by the stories of Harriet Tubman and Rosa Parks. Students learn about the Underground Railroad and the injustices of slavery. The birth of the modern civil rights movement is also shown through the story of Rosa Parks and the bus boycott. The idea of philanthropy as giving of your treasure is made clear through Jackie Joyner-Kersee’s biography. These three women model bravery, determination and selflessness while living in a world in which the odds were against them.

Unit Objectives:

The learners will:

  • define and use the vocabulary of related to enslaved people and abolitionism.

  • explain how the common good is benefited when all people are free.

  • describe trust and explain its importance in the family, community and school.

  • describe how Harriet Tubman was a “conductor” on the “Underground Railroad.”

  • define vocabulary related to segregation.

  • compare and contrast Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman.

  • define athlete as someone who participates in sports.

  • define philanthropy as giving of one’s time, talent and/or treasure for the common good.

  • define philanthropist as a person who gives of his or her time, talent or treasure for the common good.

  • dentify the type of philanthropy given by Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks and Jackie Joyner-Kersee.


Service Experience:

Although lessons in this unit contain service project examples, decisions about service plans and implementation should be made by students, as age appropriate.

The learners will draw and display posters as a reminder to other students that they must work to achieve their goals. The posters will contain the statement, “The only person who can stop you from reaching your goals is you! ”

Unit Assessment:

Assessment will be made on the teacher observation of learner participation and completion of activities, reflection through writing and drawing, a painting project and posters.

School/Home Connection:

  • “Copy-and-Paste” Class/School Newsletter Information Insert:
    In the unit “Freedom, Fairness and Philanthropy,” students will be learning about three female African American philanthropists—Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks and Jackie Joyner-Kersee. They gave of their time, talent and treasure to better the common good. Students will see the importance of doing their best but also contributing to the betterment of the community at the same time.

  • Interactive Parent / Student Homework:
    Families will contribute to learning in this unit by sharing an example with their child of someone who gives of his or her time, talent or treasure to make the community or world a better place. See Attachment One: School/Home Connection—Who’s a Philanthropist? from Lesson Three: Jackie Joyner-Kersee.

Notes for Teaching:

This unit was originally published with five lessons, Lessons two and three have been deleted because they were based on the concept of "Secret Quilt Codes" used during the time of the Underground Railroad.  Learning To Give has become aware of the fact that the use of these codes is an "urban myth" and has no basis in historical fact.

State Curriculum and Philanthropy Theme Frameworks:

See individual lessons for benchmark detail.

Lessons Developed By:

Lynn Chamberlain
Central Elementary School
Munising Public Schools
124 E Chocolay
Munising, MI 49862

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