A Lesson Before Dying

A Webquest for 9th Grade Grammar, Composition, and Literature

Designed by
Dana Huff
dana at huffenglish dot com


In Ernest Gaines's novel A Lesson Before Dying, Grant Wiggins agrees to help Jefferson, a local youth who will be sent to the electric chair for a crime he didn't commit, regain his dignity after his own defense attorney referred to him as a "hog" in the closing argument.

The Task

You have been appointed to a youth task force reporting to President Obama. As a group, you are to come up with five-step action plan to alleviate racial inequality in the United States. You must also determine a way to assess the success of your plan.

As you work with your group, consider the following:

You will present your action plan to the class. There will be a vote to choose the best plan.

The Process

  1. Read about the Death Penalty to learn more about its use:
  2. Read about Jim Crow Laws:
  3. Other Resources:
  4. Find other information (websites, newspaper articles, magazine articles, book excerpts, etc.) which demonstrate how problems with racial discrimination or iniquity are still problems in our country today.
  5. Begin your typed action plan with an introduction describing the problem. Give examples and describe what has been done up until this time to help race relations
  6. Create your five-step action plan.
  7. Create an assessment portion describing how you will know if your plan is successful.


Your group will present their proposal to the committee (your class and Mrs. Huff). Each member of the group will be expected to deliver an equal portion of the oral component of this presentation. Your plan must include all required parts and show evidence of research into the topic. Finally, your proposal must be well-written, following the conventions of standard written English, and persuasive.


I hope you have developed a greater understanding of what may be involved in a helping our society achieve true racial equality in all areas, including elements like education, access to resources, and application of justice.

Credits and References

This webquest was adapted from a A Lesson Before Dying Final Research Project.

The image above was created by Still Burning and is used in accordance with the terms of a Creative Commons License.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License

A Lesson Before Dying: A Webquest for 9th Grade Grammar, Composition, and Literature by Dana Huff is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Last updated October 7, 2009