Web Quest: “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”

The Advancement of African- Americans
in the Jim Crow World of Education

rex theatre whites only sign


The Task

Today you will be learning about what it was like to go to school in the South. You will also learn about the differences in the lives of white and African-American children when growing up and going to school.


  • Read the Declaration of Independence to learn about equality and our rights as Americans.
  • Selected websites dealing with the Jim Crow Laws and the Jim Crow era in American history.

The Process

Step 1

Begin your understanding of human rights, equality, and justice by reading the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence, beginning with the sentence….”We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal . . .”

Step 2

After reading this section of the Declaration, discuss with your classmates what the terms life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness mean, as well as defining in the term “unalienable.” Share your responses with the class.

Step 3

To learn about the “Jim Crow” laws and how they restricted every part of an African American’s life, but especially with regards to education, visit these websites:



Step 4

To learn how prejudice affected African-Americans’ daily lives and education, visit each of these websites to research the Jim Crow Laws and answer the following questions. You do not have to read all of the information on the webpages, but enough to answer the questions.


  1. What year did the Jim Crow Laws begin?
  2. Who was affected by the Jim Crow Laws?
  3. Where did the Jim Crow Laws begin?
  4. Why were these laws called the “Jim Crow” laws?
  5. Give 3 examples of a “Jim Crow” law.
  6. How do you think African-Americans felt about these laws?
  7. How did these laws affect the education of African-Americans?
  8. How would you know if a place of business followed the Jim Crow Laws?
  9. What do you think were the reasons for the Jim Crow Laws?
  10. How do you think the Jim Crow Laws affected education?
  11. How did the Jim Crow Laws end?