Civil Rights

The Civil Rights unit covers the early days of the expansion of slavery in the United States through the momentous 1950s and 60s and into the modern Civil Rights Movement. Use primary documents, readings, activities and more to introduce your students to key concepts, events, and individuals of this facet of American history.


Slavery: No Freedom, No Rights

From the basics about slavery to the attitudes that defended it and the efforts of those who wanted to see it abolished, in this lesson students learn about this dark part of America's past.


Slave States, Free States

The debate over slavery ultimately helped drive the United States into civil war, but before it did, there were decades of careful balance between slaves states and free states. In this lesson, students learn about that balance and its geography, including the Missouri Compromise and the Compromise of 1850.

 


Civil War & Reconstruction

The Civil War and Reconstruction Era brought about the end of slavery and the expansion of civil rights to African Americans through the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments. Compare the Northern and Southern states, discover the concepts of due process and equal protection, and understand how the former Confederate states reacted to the Reconstruction Amendments.


Jim Crow

Use primary documents and images to discover the ways state and local governments restricted the newly gained freedoms of African Americans after the Civil War. Compare, contrast, and analyze post-war legislation, court decisions (including Plessy v. Ferguson), and a political cartoon by Thomas Nast to understand life in Jim Crow states. 


The Road to Civil Rights

Discover the people, groups, and events behind the Civil Rights Movement. Learn about means of non-violent protest, opposition to the movement, and identify how it took all three branches of the federal government to effect change. Protest posters, fictional diary entries, and a map of the movement's major events develop a greater understanding of the struggle for civil rights.


The Nashville Sit-Ins

What makes a movement successful? The people? The actions? The outcome? Students find out that answering this question is more involved than it may seem. Each of the three primary sources reveal a new perspective on the Nashville Sit-In Movement of 1960, and lead to a deeper understanding of what it means to work for change.

Students will hear from a local businessman, student activist, and view newspaper coverage of the event.


Civic Action and Change

Students learn the basic steps of civic action and what it takes to make change, following the "I AM" model (Inform, Act, Maintain). Along the way, they explore the change-making examples of four key movements: women's rights, disability awareness, Native American rights, and migrant farm worker rights.


Voting Rights

Explore the evolution of voting rights in the United States through an interactive PowerPoint presentation highlighting landmark changes. Following the presentation and class discussion, students apply the new knowledge of voting legislation to individual scenarios through a class activity. 


Voting Age

Should the voting age be lowered to 16? Or are 16-year-olds too young to vote? The voting age has already been lowered once in our nation's history to accommodate soldiers who were "old enough to fight" but not old enough to vote. Are today's 16-year-olds in a similar position? Should they have a say in the laws and decisions that affect them? Or are they too inexperienced to weigh in? Your students will examine evidence and develop a well-supported argument that answers this question!

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