Civil Rights Movements

Resource Type:

Reading Level:

    • ‘If There Is No Struggle...’: Teaching a People’s History of the Abolition Movement

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. 16 pages.
      In this role play, students become members of the American Anti-Slavery Society, facing many of the real challenges to ending slavery.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: Early 19th Century: 1800 - 1849, Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864, 19th Century | Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Democracy & Citizenship, Laws & Citizen Rights, Organizing, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery | Reading Levels: Adult, Grades 6-8, High School
    • Lessons in Solidarity: Grady Hospital Workers United (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • Lessons in Solidarity: Grady Hospital Workers United

    • Teaching Activity. By Larry Miller. 6 pages.
      Story and discussion questions about a teacher’s own experience of labor solidarity.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, 20th Century | Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Labor | Reading Levels: Grades 6-8, High School
    • The Other Internment: Teaching the Hidden Story of Japanese Latin Americans During WWII (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • The Other Internment: Teaching the Hidden Story of Japanese Latin Americans During WWII

    • Teaching Activity. By Moé Yonamine. 18 pages.
      Poetry, photography, and text are used in this role play to teach about the seldom told history of Japanese Latin American internment during WWII.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: Prosperity, Depression, & World War II: 1920 - 1944, 20th Century | Themes: Asian American, Civil Rights Movements, Democracy & Citizenship, Immigration, Laws & Citizen Rights, Racism & Racial Identity, US Foreign Policy, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements, World History/Global Studies | Reading Levels: High School
    • Our Grandparents’ Civil Rights Era: Family Letters Bring History to Life (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • Our Grandparents’ Civil Rights Era: Family Letters Bring History to Life

    • Teaching Activity. By Willow McCormick. 7 pages.
      An elementary school teacher connects the Civil Rights Movement to students’ family history by asking their grandparents to share their memories of the Movement.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: Cold War: 1945 - 1960, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, 20th Century | Themes: Civil Rights Movements | Reading Levels: Grades 3-5, Grades Pre-K-2
    • Pump Up the Blowouts: Reflections on the 40th Anniversary of the Chicano/a School Blowouts (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • Pump Up the Blowouts: Reflections on the 40th Anniversary of the Chicano/a School Blowouts

    • Teaching Activity. By Gilda L. Ochoa. 5 pages.
      Reflections on teaching students about the 1968 walkouts by Chicano students in California.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, 20th Century | Themes: Civil Rights Movements, Education, Latino, Organizing, Racism & Racial Identity | Reading Levels: High School
    • A Revolution of Values (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • A Revolution of Values

    • Teaching Activity. By Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 3 pages.
      Text of speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the Vietnam War, followed by three teaching ideas.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, 20th Century | Themes: Civil Rights Movements, Imperialism, US Foreign Policy, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements | Reading Levels: Grades 6-8, High School
    • School Days: Hail, Hail, Rock ‘n’ Roll! (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • School Days: Hail, Hail, Rock 'n' Roll!

    • Teaching Activity. By Rick Mitchell. 10 pages.
      Description of a course on the history of music in the United States.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, 20th Century | Themes: Art & Music, Civil Rights Movements, Racism & Racial Identity | Reading Levels: High School
    • "A School Year Like No Other": Eyes on the Prize: "Fighting Back: 1957-1962"

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. 7 pages.
      A companion lesson to the Eyes on the Prize segment on school integration.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, 20th Century | Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Education, Laws & Citizen Rights, Organizing, Racism & Racial Identity | Reading Levels: Grades 6-8, High School
    • Seneca Falls, 1848: Women Organize for Equality

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. 17 pages.
      A role play allows students to examine issues of race and class when exploring both the accomplishments and limitations of the Seneca Falls Convention.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: Early 19th Century: 1800 - 1849, 19th Century | Themes: Civil Rights Movements, Democracy & Citizenship, Laws & Citizen Rights, Organizing, Women's History | Reading Levels: High School
    • Stenciling Dissent: A Student Project Draws on the Language of the Streets (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • Stenciling Dissent: A Student Project Draws on the Language of the Streets

    • Teaching Activity. By Andrew Reed. 5 pages.
      Teaching activity connects students to history of art as a means of protest and gives them opportunity and skills to create their own stencil with a powerful message.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: All US History | Themes: Art & Music, Civil Rights Movements, Laws & Citizen Rights, Organizing |
    • Stepping into Selma: Voting Rights History and Legacy Today (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • Stepping into Selma: Voting Rights History and Legacy Today

    • Teaching Activity. Teaching for Change. 2015. 20 pages.
      Introductory lesson on key people and events in the long history of the Selma freedom movement.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, 20th Century | Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Democracy & Citizenship, Organizing, Social Class | Reading Levels: Grades 6-8, High School
    • Unsung Heroes: Encouraging Students to Appreciate Those Who Fought for Social Justice (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • Unsung Heroes: Encouraging Students to Appreciate Those Who Fought for Social Justice

    • Teaching Activity. Essay by Howard Zinn and lesson by Bill Bigelow. 17 pages.
      Students research and share stories about unsung heroes in U.S. history.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: All US History | Themes: Civil Rights Movements, Organizing, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements, Women's History | Reading Levels: Grades 6-8, High School
    • Warriors Don't Cry: Connecting History, Literature, and Our Lives

    • Teaching Activity. By Linda Christensen. 21 pages.
      Role play and writing activities for language arts and social studies on the Little Rock Nine, Brown v. Board, and schooling in general. Designed for use with the memoir Warriors Don’t Cry.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, 20th Century | Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Education, Language Arts, Racism & Racial Identity | Reading Levels: Grades 6-8, High School
    • We Had Set Ourselves Free’: Lessons on the Civil Rights Movement (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • 'We Had Set Ourselves Free': Lessons on the Civil Rights Movement

    • Teaching Activity. By Doug Sherman. 4 pages.
      The author describes how he uses biographies and film to introduce students to the role of people involved in the Civil Rights Movement beyond the familiar heroes. He emphasizes the role and experiences of young people in the Movement.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: Cold War: 1945 - 1960, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, 20th Century | Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Organizing, Racism & Racial Identity | Reading Levels: High School
    • ‘What We Want, What We Believe’: Teaching with the Black Panthers’ Ten Point Program | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • ‘What We Want, What We Believe’: Teaching with the Black Panthers’ Ten Point Program

    • Teaching Activity. By Wayne Au. 7 pages.
      The author describes how he used a study of the Black Panther’s Ten Point Program to help students assess issues in their own communities and to develop Ten Point Programs of their own. Available in Spanish.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, 20th Century | Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Organizing, Racism & Racial Identity | Reading Levels: High School
    • The Black Upsurge Against Racial Segregation

    • Teaching Activity. By Tasha Boettcher. 17 pages.
      Questions and teaching ideas for Chapter 17 of Voices of a People’s History of the United States on the long Civil Rights Movement in America.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Guides | Time Periods: People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, 20th Century | Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Laws & Citizen Rights, Racism & Racial Identity, Social Class | Reading Levels: High School
    • Hidden in Plain Sight: Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Radical Vision (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • Hidden in Plain Sight: Martin Luther King Jr.'s Radical Vision

    • Teaching Activity. By Craig Gordon, Urban Dreams, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project. 2003, updated in 2017.
      Lesson to introduce students to the speeches and work of Dr. King beyond “I have a dream.”

    • Resource Types: Teaching Guides | Time Periods: People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, 20th Century | Themes: Civil Rights Movements, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements | Reading Levels: High School
    • Lessons from Freedom Summer: Ordinary People Building Extraordinary Movements

    • Teaching Guide. Edited by Kathy Emery, Linda Reid Gold and Sylvia Braselmann. Foreword by Howard Zinn. 2008. 456 pages.
      Readings and lessons on the 1964 Mississippi Summer Project.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Guides | Time Periods: People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, 20th Century | Themes: Civil Rights Movements, Education, Organizing | Reading Levels: High School
    • Putting the Movement Back into Civil Rights Teaching

    • Teaching Guide and Website. Edited by Deborah Menkart, Alana D. Murray, and Jenice L. View. 2004. 576 pages.
      Provides lessons and articles for K-12 educators on how to go beyond a heroes approach to the Civil Rights Movement, with a focus on education, economics, labor, youth, women, and culture.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Guides | Time Periods: People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, 20th Century | Themes: Civil Rights Movements, Organizing | Reading Levels: Grades 6-8, High School
    • Sharecroppers Challenge U.S. Apartheid: The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party

    • Teaching Activity. By Julian Hipkins III, Deborah Menkart, Sara Evers, and Jenice View.
      Role play on the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) that introduces students to a vital example of small “d” democracy in action. For grades 7+.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Guides | Time Periods: People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, 20th Century | Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Democracy & Citizenship, Organizing | Reading Levels: High School
    • Women, Gays, and Other Voices of Resistance

    • Teaching Activity. By Jack Bareilles. 17 pages.
      Questions and teaching ideas for Chapter 19 of Voices of a People’s History of the United States on the emergence and legacy of the 1960s counterculture, as well as the movements it helped create.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Guides | Time Periods: People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, 20th Century | Themes: Civil Rights Movements, Democracy & Citizenship, Laws & Citizen Rights, LGBT, Women's History | Reading Levels: High School
    • Claiming and Teaching the 1963 March on Washington

    • Article. By Bill Fletcher Jr. 2013. If We Knew Our History Series.
      Remembered for Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, the 1963 March on Washington has a richer and more complicated history. Fletcher reminds us it also included the demand: for jobs.

    • Resource Types: Articles | Time Periods: People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974 | Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Labor, Organizing |
    • Freedom Day in Hattiesburg, Mississippi

    • Article. By Howard Zinn. From Chapter 6 of You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train.
      Zinn describes the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) voting rights campaign called Freedom Day in Hattiesburg, Miss.

    • Resource Types: Articles | Time Periods: People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974 | Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Democracy & Citizenship | Reading Levels: High School
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