Texas Women: Marching with Ann Richards
Social Studies, Grades K–5
By watching and analyzing primary source video, students will learn about notable Texas women, including Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Miriam "Ma" Ferguson, and Liz Carpenter. Students will analyze speeches and actions in the films to achieve a better understanding of government terminology and civic engagement.
Students should be aware of the three branches of government, the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Texas Constitution.
Students should be aware of basic government principles including democracy, republic, free elections, individual rights, freedom of speech, and the role of elected representatives such as legislators, governors, and judges.
Students should have a working knowledge of human rights and the privileges of citizenship.
Students should also have some knowledge of notable Texas women politicians.
Naming Political Leaders
Divide the board into four columns.
Ask the students to name political leaders from the past or present, and write those in the first column on the board.
Ask students to name political leaders in Texas from the past or present, and write those names in the next column.
Ask students to name female politicians from the past and present, and write those in the third column.
Finally, ask students to name female politicians in or from Texas.
Ask the students if they notice any differences in the number of people named in each column.
Ask them why they think fewer women are elected to office than men if women are over half of the population.
Ask them what historical obstacles from the past prevented women from running for office.
Ask them what current obstacles may prevent women from running for office.
Use the Texas Women: Dilemmas for Women Seeking Elected Office Fact Sheet (see Worksheets) to enhance this discussion. Click on the source links to show different statistics regarding men and women officeholders. Ask the students about gender stereotyping dilemmas for women.
Ask the students to think about how far women have come. Ask them to think about historical achievements by women in the 20th and 21st centuries. Visit the Milestones for Women in Politics section of the Center for American Women and Politics website (https://cawp.rutgers.edu/facts/milestones-for-women) and scroll down the updated list to examine women’s key achievements.
Examine the number of women elected to office (state legislators, governor, or Congress) state by state by viewing the chart and playing with the drop down menu on the Center for American Women and Politics website ( https://cawp.rutgers.edu/facts/milestones-for-women)
Have the students read short biographies on the two female Texas governors, Miriam “Ma” Ferguson and Ann Richards, from The Handbook of Texas.
Miriam “Ma” Ferguson’s Bio
Ann Richards’ Bio
Watch “Austin at Issue” (see Videos) a primary source video featuring Cactus Pryor, Liz Carpenter, and John Henry Faulk discussing women in Texas. These Texas legends compare Miriam “Ma” Ferguson to Ann Richardson at the request of a caller.
Students will use the biographies and this video to answer the first two questions on their corresponding worksheet (see Worksheets).
Now, show the primary source video “The 1991 Texas Inauguration of Governor Ann Richards.” Use the segmented clips below, and pause from time to time to assist students with key concepts and vocabulary based on the worksheet.
Click on the link and press play. Use the Educator Links below the video player to skip to each section.
Ask the students to volunteer the democratic principles they value most, and write the key terms on the board. Give students time to reflect and write a thoughtful short essay in the last section of the worksheet.
Organize a March on the Classroom
Ask students to create posters using keywords and terms that reflect the principles they value most. Teachers can create a classroom banner with the school, town, and or county’s name on it to lead the march.
When students finish writing and decorating their signs, then have them line up to march around the classroom in order. Have each student stop by your desk and interview them about what their posters mean.
The Center for American Women and Politics “Firsts for Women in Politics” timeline
The Center for American Women and Politics “The Current Number of Women Office Holders”
Miriam “Ma” Ferguson’s biography from The Handbook of Texas
Ann Richards’ biography from The Handbook of Texas
Video (audio and transcript) of Ann Richards’ Democratic National Convention Keynote Address (1988)
“What Ann Richards Taught Me About Politics” article by Kari Eisenhower on WashingtonPost.com (September 14, 2006)
Texas Women Worksheet (Grade K-3)
Texas Women Worksheet (Grade 4-5)
Fact Sheet - Texas Women: Dilemmas for Women Seeking Elected Officehttps://texasarchive.org/sites/default/files/2020-01/Fact%20Sheet%20-%20Texas%20Women%20Dilemmas%20for%20Women%20Seeking%20Elected%20Office_1.pdf