Stacey Abrams: Changing the Trajectory of Protecting People’s Voices and Votes

by Robert Bonner

Students will analyze different perspectives of Stacey Abrams’s candidacy for Georgia’s Governor.

This Stacey Abrams Lesson Plan is structured into three components:

     (1) Exploration and discovery (e.g., problem-based learning),

     (2) Authentic investigations using a research-based approach (e.g., research-based learning, project-based learning), and

     (3) Communicating conclusions and taking action.

Guiding Question: How and why do you get involved in civic life?  

Supporting Questions:

  1. Why is it important to vote?
  2. In the principle of democracy, which professes equality as its very root and foundation, should voting be accessible to all? Why or why not?

30 - 50 minutes over the course of 1 - 3 days


Following the learning segments presentation, activities and class discussion, the students will then be able to demonstrate with a minimum of 85% proficiency, the ability to apply their new knowledge by designing an original Get Out the Vote poster and social media post, focusing on the principle of why it is important for citizens, in a democratic society, to participate in public (civic) life, stay informed, vote, volunteer and effectively communicate with public officials.




The recommendation is that all materials are uploaded to the teacher's preferred site, like Google Classroom.

Primary and Secondary Sources: The teacher can create a choice wall or display of materials using the 10 women’s suffrage and voter suppression sourced documents.

Primary Sources:

Research Articles:


Warm Up:

Activating Prior Knowledge:

  1. Have students to review the primary source menu and find one primary source that resonates with them (they find interesting) or connects with them in some way.
  2.  Connecting to Primary Sources. Distribute copies of the ‘What Do You Already Know?’ handout and ask students how the primary source document they chose relates to them in some way.
  3.  Instruct them to use any background references, memories, or their own deductions to complete the graphic organizer.
  4. Extending Connecting Primary Sources. Asking students to find one classmate whose primary source connects to theirs in some way, such as topic, event, time period, cause and effect, etc. Have them to complete the Conversation Sparker activity (in “What Do You Already Know” document).



Direct Teacher Instruction:


  1. Bring the class together for a whole group discussion based on any one (or more) of these videos:
  1. Ask the students one of the following questions for each video that you choose to watch (ask a different question for each different video): ​​​​​​1) Who do you think is the intended audience?  2) How do you think the creator wanted the audience to respond?  3) What other documents or historical evidence could you use to help you understand this event or topic?
  2. Then ask the students to volunteer and read some of the compelling questions they came up with from the ‘What Do You Already Know’ organizer. Allow enough time for students to share their responses with each other and as a whole class.
  3. Review the timeline of voting rights in America (U.S. Voting Rights Timeline) with class.


Structured Practice and Application:

Formative Assessment #1

Mini-Research Annotation

  1. Explain to students that they will be conducting a mini-research project to gather information on Stacey Abrams’s contribution to fighting voter suppression and defending women’s suffrage.
  2. Introduce to the students the text-dependent question by asking students, "Why is it important for citizens in a democratic society, to participate in public (civic) life, stay informed, vote, volunteer and effectively communicate with public officials?" 
  3. If accessing documents online, allow the students time to login online platform to access the digital copies of the graphic organizer provided.
  4. Pass out the Graphic Organizer for students to record written notes or have the students to read the graphic organizer
  5. Have the students read the article, ‘Stacey Abrams: Minority Leader’
  6. Explain to the students that we are going to annotate the text as we read. That you as the teacher will model how to annotate the text by looking for key details in the text that correspond to the prompts in the graphic organizer. 
  7. Allow time for students to ask questions about this task.
  8. The teacher will assign students partners or they can use the same groups from the Conversation Sparker activity.
  9. Have the partners read the second article: Resisting Marginalization: Black Women’s Political Ambition and Agency’
  10. Explain to the students that they will read the text with their partner while annotating key ideas. After they read the text, the partners will record some of their annotated notes on their graphic organizer.
  11. The teacher will check in with the students while providing feedback on reading and annotating the text. Monitor how students annotate the text and what key ideas they record on their graphic organizer.
  12. The students will read the third article: ‘Carving a Path’
  13. The students will read the third article while annotating the text.
  14. The teacher will direct the students to access the Changing the Narrative Graphic Organizer.
  15. Pass out the Changing the Narrative Graphic Organizer for students to record written notes or have the students read the graphic organizer.
  16. The students should remain in their current groups (if in a group). The teacher will refer back to the text dependent question(s).

Formative Assessment #2

Changing the Narrative Activity

The teacher could say the following (or some form thereof):

  1. “A good way to really understand a topic is to be able to work with the unhelpful thoughts, actions, or problems related to the topic. Then to turn unhelpful actions or problems toward more balanced, realistic, and helpful ones. This next activity – ‘Changing the Narrative’ will allow you to walk through the process.” 
  2. “First, think about your three annotations graphic organizers that you completed. Write out one current negative or unhelpful action, problem, or thought. Don’t overthink them. Just jot down one”.
  3. “Second, in the middle column, write between one and three counterarguments. Don’t assign any labels to what you come up with. Labeling or mislabeling refers to taking a single attribute about your counterarguments and turning it into an absolute. You are just coming up with theoretical, or hypothetical reasoning which is not necessarily a reflection of a way you feel in reality.”
  4. “Third, rewrite the unhelpful thoughts adding your counterargument, rewriting it in a way that makes it positive. In this activity, looking for a different perspective about the negative or unhelpful thoughts or activities, can help you analyze the events that took place, recalibrate it, and may help to formulate solutions to similar future events.”
  5. When done, consider hanging some of the positive thoughts in a place where the entire class can see them.


Summative Assessment:

Creating the call-to-action

The teacher could say the following (or some form thereof):

  1. “Our positive intentions often contain hidden invitations for action. The call-to-action Get Out The Vote poster and Instagram activity may help you feel more empowered. It looks like this.”
  2. “As a general rule, try to identify call-to-actions that are small, achievable in small steps. Setting large action steps that take a lot of time, effort, or energy can seem overwhelming and might cause people not to act - the opposite effect.”
  3. Have the class to review the Design Process Diagram.
  4. Instruct the students that they can choose to remain in their groups, or work as individuals to complete either the Get Out The Vote poster using Microsoft Word, or create the Get Out The Vote Instagram post using the free software Canva.
  5. Review the Get Out the Vote rubric with the students beforehand for this summative assessment.
  6. Allow time for students to complete their summative assessment.
  7. After completion, assist students with printing their assessment.
  8. Have students conduct an evaluation of their assessment using the provided rubric.



  • This lesson can be modified to fit one class period, or utilized to teach an entire unit covering multiple state and national standards
  • To modify the lesson for your particular state standards, you can substitute the Georgia’s constitution for your state’s constitution’s article section that deals with voting rights
  • English Language Learners: create Learning Stations, where students will rotate; use Task cards - breaking up individual interviews (pull-outs) while in learning stations; Provide visual aids during instruction; Model the lesson specifically for ELL students.
  • Add multisensory activities where students touch learning resources
  • Model the lesson specifically for students with visual and physical disabilities
  • Teachers can use this Modified Assessment
Assessment / Homework

Distribute a copy of the Exit Survey to the class, instructing them to complete it as quickly as possible; and that they only need to answer the competition questions using 2 to 3 sentences.

Future Research / Resources
  1. Abrams, & Boyd, V. (2019). Carving a Path: For Those Who Will Follow / Stacey Abrams in conversation with Valerie Boyd. Southern Cultures, 25(3), 22–29.
  2. Bari. (2019). Stacey Abrams: Minority Leader: New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company, 2018, 256 pp, (ISBN 9781250191298) [Review of Stacey Abrams: Minority Leader: New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company, 2018, 256 pp, (ISBN 9781250191298)]. Journal of African American Studies, 23(1-2), 136–138. Springer US.
  3. Claiming Power. (n.d.). Public Broadcasting Service PBS.
  4. Dowe. (2020). Resisting Marginalization: Black Women’s Political Ambition and Agency. PS, Political Science & Politics, 53(4), 697–702.
  5. Herczog, Michelle. Implementing the C3 Framework: What is our Task as Social Studies Leaders? National Council for the Social Studies.
  6. Lee, & Safinia, M. (2021). And She Could Be Next. PBS.
  7. Media. (2022). Summary of Stacey Abrams’s Lead from the Outside. IRB.
  8. Media. (2022). Summary of Stacey Abrams’s Our Time Is Now. IRB.

This Lesson Plan is aligned with the Georgia and National Educational Standards and the presentation, related activities, and assessment are made available for download.


C3 Learning Standards:

D1.5.9-12. Determine the kinds of sources that will help answer compelling and supporting questions, taking into consideration multiple points of view represented in the sources, the types of sources available, and the potential uses of the sources.

D2.Civ.7.9-12. Apply civic virtues and democratic principles when working with others.

D2.Civ.14.9-12. Analyze historical, contemporary, and emerging means of changing societies, promoting the common good, and protecting rights.

D2.His.3.9-12. Use questions generated about individuals and groups to assess how the significance of their actions changes over time and is shaped by the historical context.

D2.His.4.9-12. Analyze complex and interacting factors that influenced the perspectives of people during different historical eras.

D2.His.5.9-12. Analyze how historical contexts shaped and continue to shape people’s perspectives.

D4.3.9-12. (Communicating and Critiquing Conclusions)

D4.4.9-12. (Communicating and Critiquing Conclusions)

D4.6.9-12. (Taking Informed Action)


Common Core State English Language Arts Standards for History and Social

Studies Standards:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.7 (Research to Build and Present Knowledge

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.9 (Research to Build and Present Knowledge

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.1 (Comprehension and Collaboration

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.1 (Key Ideas and Details

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.2 (Key Ideas and Details)

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.6 (Craft and Structure)

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.7 (Integration of Knowledge and Ideas)

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.9 (Integration of Knowledge and Ideas)


ISTE Students Standards

1.3 Knowledge Constructor

1.4 Innovative Designer

1.5 Computational Thinker.

1.6 Creative Communicator

1.7 Global Collaborator


State Standards of Excellence for Social Studies:

SS8C Describe the foundations of State government.

SS3C Explain the importance of Americans sharing certain central democratic beliefs and principles, both personal and civic.

SSUSH Evaluate efforts to reform American society and politics in the Progressive Era.