Web Quest Teacher’s Guide: Virginia Education and the World

Industrial Expositions and African American Education


  • Identifying, analyzing, and making generalizations about the life in Virginia using primary sources including artifacts, diaries, letters, photographs, art, documents, and newspapers.
  • The students will trace the history of Virginia in the 20th century with emphasis on: Social and political events linked to desegregation and massive resistance and their relationship to national history.

S.O.L Correlation

History 4.7, 4.6, 5.9

Time Needed

1 to 3 class periods

Resources Needed

  • Computers with World Wide Web access.
  • The Jackson Davis Collection webpage which describes the Industrial Training Method.
  • Selected articles from the Richmond Times Dispatch reflecting both community and national views on the Industrial training method.

Warm up

Instruct students to visit the Jackson Davis website and read about the industrial training method, described within the “Explanation of Topics and Organizations.” After reading with your students the excerpt from the website, discuss the industrial training method, using the question below as a guide for discussion.

  • What reason did the white community have for believing African-American had limited intellectual capabilities?
  • How do you think African-Americans felt about these new educational opportunities?
  • Do you feel that white people had the African-Americans’ best interests in mind when creating these industrial schools?
  • How do you think African-Americans could have used this type of education to benefit themselves?

Web Quest Procedure

  1. Introduce students to the term exposition, explaining to students that an exposition is much like a fair, where people’s achievements are put on display for the public to view.
  2. Explain to students that during that time, Industrial training expositions were held so that the African-American students could display their achievements and progress.
  3. Have students read specific newspaper articles outlining the progress of the industrial expositions.
  4. Have students get into groups of three or four and pick one of the articles listed or have each student work individually.
  5. After students complete the questions for each article, have them share their answers with the class.



  • After reading the article, what would you compare these expositions to in today’s world?
  • In the last paragraph in the third column, Giles Jackson states: “It will surprise the white people.” What feeling do you get after reading this article about how people feel about these expositions and the African-American advancement?
  • How do you think the white people felt about these expositions?
  • How do you think the black people felt about these expositions?
  • Why do you think these expositions were such a big deal?
  • From this article, do you think people were excited about these expositions?



  • Do you feel this article is racist in any way towards black people?
  • In what ways does this article portray the attitudes of white people towards black people and their advancements?
  • Why do you feel that a midway, carnival -like atmosphere was part of the expositions?
  • Why do you think a separate day was set aside for white people?
  • Who do you think was most likely to attend these expositions?



  • In this article, what does the author claim the main purpose of the exposition was to be for white people?
  • What do you think the intent of the exposition was for black people?


  • Through this article, what is evident about the beliefs of what the expositions will do for African-Americans?
  • What is the significance of these expositions for black people?

Extension Activities

  • Have students make a poster for the exposition.
  • Have students do some of the activities that were done in the industrial schools and then have a fair to present what was made.