The Thirteenth Amendment of the US  Constitution, written in 1865, abolishes slavery and states that all US citizens may not enter into slavery or involuntary labour unless they have been convicted of a crime. Today, the US is home to 25% of the world's prisoners (with only 5% of the world's population). The overwhelming majority of prisoners in the US is black or latino. 13th is a documentary by Ava DuVernay and Netflix that explores this problem. 

  1. Before watching the documentary, read the questions below. Take notes as you watch the documentary, keeping these questions in mind. After watching the documentary, discuss your answers to these questions as a class.

  2. Discussion questions on 13th

  3. After you have watched the documentary, break up into 7 small groups. Each group is assigned 1 of the 7 concepts: identity, representation, transformation, communication, culture, creativity and perspective. As a group discuss how your concepts is relevant to the documentary. Report back to the class.

  4. As a portfolio activity, make an infographic or poster that shows your understanding of the documentary.


You may find that some of the primary sources that are featured in the documentary, such as Trump's open letter, work well for a Paper 1 practice exam. As a body of work, this documentary lends itself well for an individual oral. Take screen shots from documentary to help you focus on your global issue. As a stimulus for HL essay, you may want to focus on how the director, Ava DuVernay combines primary and secondary sources to communicate a message about African American history and culture. 

Last modified: Thursday, 17 February 2022, 9:40 PM