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Social Movements in Modern America: Labor, Civil Rights, and Feminism
NEH Summer Institute for School Teachers, July 11-31, 2010
Institute Curriculum and Lesson Plans

Civil Rights Movement


Tai Basurto



Sounds of Change: Examining Social Movements Through Music Using songs allows students to understand the development of the movement by critically engaging them in discussion around the motives, themes, and ideologies of the participants.

Erin Bouton



Organizations within the Civil Rights Movement

This lesson compares and contrasts five major organizations formed during the Civil Rights Movement during the twentieth century.

Jose Colon



The Importance of the Voting Rights Act of 1965

The purpose of this lesson is for students to study the impact of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in the general context of the Civil Rights Movement.

Maureen Conway



Civil Rights and the Republican Resurgence Following this lesson students will be able to explain the differences between the goals and the strategies of the traditional Civil Rights Movement and the radical movement. They will also analyze the importance of the Civil Rights Movement in the resurgence of the Republican Party.

Jeannette Cooney



The Civil Rights Movement:  100 Years in the Making

Accompanying PowerPoint

This plan could be used to introduce students to the Civil Rights Movement and provide choices of memoirs of Black writers to read. The lesson will answer the essential question, Why did it take so long for blacks to achieve equal rights in America?

James Diskant



Acting out the Montgomery Bus Boycott, 1955

Through this lessons students will understand strategies that civil rights activists used to achieve their goals to create a segregated society through film analysis. Students will analyze the potential and pitfalls of cross-class and cross-race cooperation and/or conflict through role play

Trent Dlugosh



Comparing Competing Visions for the Civil Rights Movement

Through this lesson students will become acquainted with the purpose and mission for various civil rights organizations in the 1960's.  Students will attempt to make judgements about how different segments of American society would have viewed each organization and which organization they feel was most effective.

Claudia Eschelbach



Voting Lesson Plan

Accompanying PowerPoint

Students will compare and contrast the voting process from mid-19th century with the present day election process. They will conduct research in the LMC and use evidence from their research using a variety of sources to support their point of view.  They will be instructed in the structure of a URL and website evaluation.

Summer Johnson



LBJ Document Analysis This lesson will require students to analyze ways in which President Lyndon B. Johnson and the federal government transformed the Civil Rights Movement.

Desi Lee



Civil Rights “Call to Unity” and “Letter from Birmingham Jail”

This lesson will look at the circumstances leading up to the writing of “Call to Unity” and Dr. King’s response with “Letter from Birmingham Jail”. With those images of the circumstances fresh in their minds develop a letter to replace “Call to Unity” or a letter to replace “Letter from Birmingham Jail”. Students will discuss their response and why.

Kevin Murphy



Freedom Ride Lesson

This lesson focuses on the Freedom Rides action of 1961. A series of primary and secondary sources allow the students to consider several important aspects of the Civil Rights Movement Students will work in groups to generate class discussion on the Freedom Rides and several larger questions as well.

Mark Olesh



Listening to the Voices of Non-violent Civil Disobedience

Following this lesson students will demonstrate an understanding of the ways that non-violent civil disobedience has been used in modern history to overcome oppression. Specifically, students will analyze the speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, and Nelson Mandela.

Jennifer Prince



Similarities & Differences:  The Use of Rhetoric in George Wallace’s 1963 Inaugural Address and Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” 1963 Speech

The purpose of this assignment is to discuss the ways in which similar rhetorical devices can be used in two very different speeches. Students will be able to identify the use of rhetorical devices as means of persuasion.

Elizabeth Robbins



Black Power: A Historical Definition

This lesson is to allows students the opportunity to explore the origins of the term Black Power and how the nascent movement was characterized by the white popular media, mainstream Civil Rights leaders, and the Black Power movement itself.

Patrick Sprinkle



Political Discourse of African American Leaders

This lesson will help students understand the political discourse of African Americans during this time period. Students will learn that there was great debate on how to approach southern racism post-Jim Crow.


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Last updated: 19 July 2010
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