Civil Rights Movement

  • ‘63 Boycott Six-Lesson Curriculum from YURI Project, Kartemquin Films, & Mikva Challenge
    This curriculum pairs with the documentary short, '63 Boycott about when 250,000 students boycotted the Chicago Public Schools to protest racial segregation in 1963.
  • An LGBTQ+ Inclusive Social Studies: Curricular and Instructional Considerations by Bárbara C. Cruz & Robert W. Bailey for Social Education
    In this article, authors discuss the state of LGBTQ+ inclusion in the K-12 curriculum, make the case for LGBTQ+ inclusive social studies, and offer some pedagogical suggestions for the integration of this content into the mainstream curriculum.
  • Bayard Rustin from the National Museum of African American History & Culture
    This article provides a brief biography of Rustin, a key organizer of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and was one of Martin Luther King Jr.’s closest advisors, especially on techniques of nonviolent resistance. Early in his career, he was arrested for “moral cause” which led to his outing to the public. However, once outed, Rustin was completely open about his sexuality and was never ashamed. Criticism and discrimination over his sexuality led Rustin to play more of a background role in the Civil Rights Movement.
  • Civil Rights Teaching from Teaching for Change and Putting the Movement Back Into Civil Rights Teaching edited by Deborah Menkart, Alana Murray, & Jenice L. View
    The Civil Rights Movement is celebrated in our national narrative as a people’s struggle for social justice. However, the powerful stories of everyday people organizing and working together for social change are lost in the teaching of a few major heroes and dates. This website, a supplement to the book, provides lessons, handouts, news, and resources for teaching about the role of everyday people in the Civil Rights Movement.
  • Claudette Colvin Is Fighting to Clear Her Record by Brigit Katz for Smithsonian Magazine
    As this article explains, Colvin was a civil rights pioneer who pushed back against segregation nine months before Rosa Parks’ landmark protest but has long been overlooked.
  • Critical Historical Thinking: When Official Narratives Collide With Other Narratives by Cinthia Salinas, Brooke Blevins, & Caroline C. Sullivan for Multicultural Perspectives
    In this article the authors examine The Student as Historian project in highlighting how critical historical thinking can provide other and more complex renditions of history.
  • Even Though He Is Revered Today, MLK Was Widely Disliked by the American Public When He Was Killed by James C. Cobb for Smithsonian Magazine
    This article reminds readers that 75% of Americans disapproved of the civil rights leader as he spoke out against the Vietnam War and economic disparity.
  • Exploring Stonewall and the Gay Liberation Movement (Teaching Guide) from the Digital Public Library of America
    This teaching guide helps instructors use a specific primary source set, Stonewall and Its Impact on the Gay Liberation Movement, in the classroom. It offers discussion questions, classroom activities, and primary source analysis tools.
  • Filipino American Farmworkers from Asian Americans Advancing Justice Los Angeles
    Using excerpts from the PBS documentary Asian Americans, this lesson explores the experiences and contributions of Filipino American farmworkers in the fields of California’s Central Valley during the mid-1960s. Together, Filipino and Mexican Americans engage in a five-year-long workers’ strike and boycott against the California grape industry.
  • First Graders' Inquiry Into Multicolored Stories of School (De)Segregation by Sohyun An for Social Studies & the Young Learner
    This article explains why it’s problematic to leave the multicolored history of school segregation out of social studies curriculum, provides a brief overview of the multicolored history of school (de)segregation, and shares resources for teaching about Alice Piper, Sylvia Mendez, and Mamie Tape—Indigenous, Mexican, and Chinese American, respectively, who fought against segregated schooling.
  • The Gray Panthers: About Us from Gray Panthers NYC
    Gray Panthers believe in active engagement for achieving social and economic justice and peace. On their website, they explain how they work to create a humane society; eliminate injustice, discrimination, ageism wherever they exist; and bring together young and old, women and men of all backgrounds and orientations, to work in unison, with mutual trust and respect.
  • “I Question America... Is This America?” Learning To View the Civil Rights Movement Through An Intersectional Lens by Amanda E. Vickery & Cinthia S. Salinas
    This qualitative case study investigates how two preservice elementary teachers crafted narratives of Black women in the Civil Rights Movement using an intersectional lens. The preservice teachers examine the intersecting identities of women in the past and present in order to present a more complex narrative of the Civil Rights Movement to elementary students.
  • Introducing Yuri Kochiyama from the National Portrait Gallery Introducing YouTube Channel and the Smithsonian Learning Lab
    Part of a series of portrait talks, this six-minute video examines a photograph portrait of Yuri Kochiyama with biographical information about this important activist.
  • Justice Pedagogy: Grade 1-3 Students Challenge Racist Statues by Meir Muller for Social Studies & the Young Learner
    Young children often encounter symbols glorifying prejudice and inequity through monuments and place names. When that happens, children need cognitive and emotional tools to process their experiences in a thoughtful and informed manner. To address the discomfort or lack of confidence and expertise that teachers may feel, this article describes a justice-based project implemented by preservice teachers pursuing early childhood education certification.
  • Life Under Apartheid: Teaching with Primary Sources from PBS Learning Media
    This inquiry kit uses Library of Congress sources about the history of apartheid and South Africa's racial segregation policies.
  • The Limits of Master Narratives in History Textbooks: An Analysis of Representations of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Derrick Alridge for Teachers College Record
    Textbooks present prescribed, oversimplified, and uncontroversial narratives of King that obscure important elements in his life. Such master narratives permeate most history textbooks and deny students critical lenses through which to examine, analyze, and interpret social issues today. This article concludes with suggestions about how teachers might begin to address the current problem of master narratives and offer alternative approaches to presenting U.S. history.
  • The Long Civil Rights Struggle by Jacqueline Dowd Hall for The Journal of American History
    This classic article explores how confining the civil rights struggle to the South, to bowdlerized heroes, to a single halcyon decade, and to limited, noneconomic objectives creates a master narrative that simultaneously elevates and diminishes the movement. It prevents one of the most remarkable mass movements in American history from speaking effectively to the challenges of our time.
  • Lowndes County, the Voting Rights Act, and the Birth of the Original Black Panther Party by Hasan Kwame Jeffries for Zinn Education Project
    The story of Lowndes County, Alabama offers an excellent case study on the history of the voting rights struggle after the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. This article and interview with the author provide teacher's important background knowledge.
  • Mighty Times: The Children’s March by Learning for Justice
    This short documentary tells the story of how the young people of Birmingham, Alabama, braved fire hoses and police dogs in 1963 to protest segregation. Their heroism complements discussions about the ability of today's young people to be catalysts for positive social change. A teacher kit is available.
  • Much Bigger Than A Hamburger: Disrupting Problematic Picturebook Depictions of the Civil Rights Movement by Noreen Naseem Rodríguez & Amanda E. Vickery
    While more diverse children's literature about youth activism is available than ever before, popular picturebooks often perpetuate problematic tropes about the Civil Rights Movement. In this article, researchers conduct a critical content analysis of the award-winning picturebook The Youngest Marcher and contrast the book's content to a critical race counterstory of the Movement focused on the collective struggle for justice in the face of racial violence.
  • The Myth-Busting History of Edna Griffin by Katy Swalwell & Jennifer Gallagher for Civil Rights Teaching
    Edna Griffin’s life’s work provides a powerful counter narrative to the traditional framing of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement. She was a woman living in the North who used court cases, boycotts, sit-ins, and protests to improve her community starting well before 1954. This overview of her life includes teaching suggestions.
  • Native American Activism: 1960s to Present by Lauren Cooper for Zinn Education Project
    The financial and colonial drive that usurps Native peoples ways of life is not just relegated to the past; it continues today. This article provides an overview of struggle and achievement since the late 1960s.
  • Organizing for Voting Rights: Lessons from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee from the Zinn Education Project’s Teach the Black Freedom Struggle online classes
    During the first session of this series of webinars, Charles Payne shares stories and analysis from the oral histories he collected on the grassroots, intergenerational organizing for voting rights in Mississippi with Cierra Kaler-Jones. Their hope is that students can apply lessons from SNCC to challenge widespread voter suppression today.
  • Remembering 1882 from the Chinese Historical Society of America
    This virtual collection of resources from a traveling exhibit, a museum theater performance, and a symposium of legal and historical experts details fights for civil rights in the wake of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.
  • Rosa Parks’ Biography: A Resource for Teaching Rosa Parks from Jeanne Theoharis, Say Burgin, and Jessica Murray
    Drawing on numerous archival sources and The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks by Jeanne Theoharis, this website provides a fuller and more accurate history for people to teach and learn about Rosa Parks.
  • Sakada Filipinos & the ILWU (Hawai’i Sugar Strike) from The Sakada Series
    This short essay provides an overview of the decades of struggle leading up to the multiethnic 1946 sugar strike in Hawai’i. The Sakadas played a lead role in the fight for labor equality within the plantation system within the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) that helped to ensure the victory of union strikes.
  • Teachers’ Curricular Choices When Teaching Histories of Oppressed People: Capturing the Civil Rights Movement by Katy Swalwell, Anthony Pellegrino, & Jenice L. View
    This paper investigates what choices teachers made and what rationales they offered related to the inclusion and exclusion of primary source photographs for a hypothetical unit about the U.S. Civil Rights Movement. Researchers explore how teachers' choices constructed a sanitized narrative of the Civil Rights Movement that largely avoided a discussion of racism.
  • What We Don’t Learn About the Black Panther Party, But Should by Adam Sanchez & Jesse Hagopian for Rethinking Schools
    To introduce the film Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution by Stanley Duncan, these educators developed a mixer activity in which each student takes on a role of someone who was in or connected to the Black Panthers. The roles include a thumbnail sketch of each person's biography along with details that help illuminate aspects of the party. In all of the roles, students are exposed to various reasons why people joined the Black Panther Party.
  • Why Did Ruby Bridges Stand Up? from C3 Teachers and Syracuse City School District
    This inquiry guides students through an investigation of the actions of Ruby Bridges during the CIvil Rights Movement. By investigating the compelling question, students examine how Ruby Bridges participated in the Civil Rights Movement, what issues and problems led to the integration of public schools, and the dangers that Ruby Bridges faced—including white adults who protested her attending school.
  • Writing Latino/a Historical Narratives by Cinthia Salinas, María Fránquiz, & Noreen Naseem Rodríguez for Urban Review
    The story of el movimiento—the Latina/o civil rights movement—as represented in the official school curriculum is an example of the challenge of teaching the complex history of the United States. This article examines elementary pre-serivce teachers creating journey boxes, a collection of primary sources (firsthand accounts), to teach students about this important social movement in U.S. history.
  • Young Children As Activists: Celebrating Black History Month & Marian Wright Edelman’s Work by Brigitte Emanuelle Dubois for Social Studies & the Young Learner
    This article teaching kindergarteners about the life of Marian Wright Edelman, the subject of a school-wide Black History Month study at a pre-K-8 grade independent school, and the culminating demonstration near the White House organized by students to advocate for the needs and rights of children.