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Curricula for use with Cointelpro 101

A number of suggested curriculum supplements to the new Freedom Archives film are under development. These are being designed for high school or college classes—for flexible adaptation by teachers given your own students and situations, depending on curricular needs, grade level, and prior instruction in recent US history and related social studies topics. A basic approach to using the film can be viewed HERE.

To view a concise list of resources and web-links for teachers and others to learn more about the Cointelpro program on the Freedom Archives website click HERE.

Our initial curricular directions include: some suggestions for discussion immediately following a viewing of the film, entitled "What is Cointelpro" and two interactive class activities originally developed in connection with the case of the SF 8 that are excellent ways to extend learning from the film. These are entitled, “How Far Have We Come?” and “What Would You Do?

In the suggested curriculum on the Civil rights/Black liberation movement, students learn more about major organizations, investigate how Cointelpro moved against them, then decide whether to bring charges against those responsible.

We’ve also developed a research and gallery walk activity on Puerto Rico, with a focus on the nature of colonialism and some of the events and individuals in the history of the Puerto Rican independence movement.

Here in addition to Alcatraz and Wounded Knee, is a group research lesson on the many Native American events of this time period .

Here we have additional lesson suggestions for teaching about Cointelpro's impact on the Chicano / Mexicano Movement.

Cointelpro repression was also directed against the rising strength of the women's liberation movement. Here are some suggestions for further study.

To help stimulate your own questions for writing assignments or class debates, we've also included some suggested essay questions you may want to consider.

The organization of the film includes sections on how the Cointelpro program impacted the Puerto Rican independence movement, the Native American, Chicano/Mexicano, and African-American liberation movements, as well as commentary on current relevance. Still in progress are more ways to use the film to pursue issues raised in these sections in greater depth, and student investigations into the use of similar methods against today’s social justice, antiwar, environmental, and animal rights movements in the context of the “Patriot Act” and the climate of “anti-terrorism.”  “Cointelpro—is or was?” may be a way to frame this section. We’ll also suggest some student readings and links to articles for further student research. 

The curriculum suggestions we’ve developed so far are only a start. The film can be a rich launching point for deeper studies on many different social movements and topics. We would very much welcome your ideas and suggestions after you have a chance to view the film. It will be available for classroom use Spring 2011.

What is Cointelpro?
How Far Have We Come?
What Would You Do?
Civil rights/Black liberation movement,
Puerto Rican Independence
Native American Resistance
Chicano Mexicano Movement
Suggested essay questions
The Women's Movement