Civil Rights

The Civil Rights Movement  1954  1956   1957   1960  1962   1963  1964
1965  1967  1968  1971  Other Civil Rights Activists  Lesson Plans

The Civil Rights Movement

The Anti-Defamation League's Education Page
The mission of the Anti-Defamation League is to secure justice and fair treatment to all citizens alike.
Civil Rights Era: Library of Congress
Learn about the Jim Crow South, the fight against racial discrimination and segregation, and the search for justice of African American men and women.
“Jim Crow” Laws
Learn about the system of segregation used before the Civil Rights Movement in the United States.
Photo Tour of the Civil Rights Movement
Learn about the people, places, and events during this time period through facts and photos from the Seattle Times.
The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow
This site explores segregation from the end of the civil war to the dawn of the modern civil rights movement.
Teaching Tolerance
A place to find thought-provoking news, conversation and support for those who care about diversity, equal opportunity and respect for differences in schools.
We Shall Overcome
Travel to historic places of the of the civil rights movement. Do you know why the Moulin Rouge Hotel was significant in the history of civil rights? How about the Elizabeth Harden Gilmore House in Charleston, West Virginia?
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U.S. Supreme Court outlaws school segregation in Brown v. Board of Education overturning its 1896 decision in Plessy v. Ferguson.

Brown v the Board of Education
Learn about the groundbreaking 1954 case that ruled that separate facilities for blacks were not equal to those set aside for whites and that separation of the races was harmful. The case involved the rights of black children to attend a white public school.
Monroe Elementary - Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site
Learn about the Topeka , Kansas elementary school that was at the center of the Brown v. Board of Education landmark decision.
Plessy v Ferguson
Learn about Plessy v Ferguson which, in 1896, established the principle of separate but equal. Plessy had been removed from an all-white railroad car by authorities who said that the facilities for blacks on railroad cars were of equal quality. The case went to court, and Plessy lost. This case made it constitutional for states to enact laws stating that separate facilities such as bathrooms, water fountains, schools, train cars, etc. could be provided for blacks and whites.
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U.S. Supreme Court bans segregated seating on Montgomery, Alabama buses.

Rosa Parks: The Woman Who Changed a Nation
Get to know Rosa Parks. When she refused to give up her seat to a white man on December 1, 1955 , her "act of courage began turning the wheels of the civil rights movement."
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The federal government uses the military to uphold African Americans' civil rights, as soldiers escort nine African American students to desegregate a school in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Little Rock Central High School
Visit Little Rock Central High School and learn about its tumultuous efforts to desegregate in 1957. Find out what happened to the original nine African American students who attended the school.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower's Response Speech
The president delivered this speech from his office in the White House on the evening of September 24, 1957.
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Four African American students stage a sit-in at a “Whites Only” lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina launching a wave of similar protests across the South.

F.W. Woolworth Building
Here is the historically significant Woolworth's Five & Dime in Greensboro , North Carolina where four African American students staged a sit-in at a “Whites Only” lunch counter.
Greensboro Sit-Ins
Travel to Greensboro , North Carolina and learn about the famous sit-in that took place there. Four young men who came to be called the "Greensboro Four" were refused service at a white-only lunch counter at a Woolworth store. So they staged the first sit-in. These four college students became heroes of the civil rights movement, and theirs was the first of many sit-ins.

Freedom Riders Seek to Integrate Southern Transportation

PBS Documentary: Freedom Riders
The documentary film, Freedom Riders, tells the powerful story of a courageous band of civil rights activists called "Freedom Riders" which took brave and decided actions to dismantle the structures of discrimination through nonviolence.
Utah's Freedom Riders
"It didn't just happen in the South, it happened here. Throughout the heart of the 20th century, Utahns of all colors carried out the fight for civil rights, whether they were travelling to the South, or taking up the cause at home. They were united by a common vision of inclusion for all." The half-hour PBS Utah production highlights the contributions many Utahns have made toward creating a more just and equitable society.
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President Kennedy ordered Federal Marshals to escort James Meredith, the first black student to enroll at the University of Mississippi , to campus. A riot broke out and before the National Guard could arrive to reinforce the marshals, two students were killed.

Integrating Ole Miss: A Civil Rights Milestone
Explore the JFK Library's educational exhibit on the integration of the University of Mississippi , featuring primary documents, teacher resources and a in depth look into this Civil Rights milestone.
President Kennedy's Speech
President John F. Kennedy delivered this speech on the evening of September 30, 1962.
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More than 200,000 people march on Washington, D.C., in the largest civil rights demonstration ever; Martin Luther King, Jr., gives his "I Have a Dream" speech.

“I Have a Dream” Speech
Delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the steps at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963.
Lincoln Memorial
The Lincoln Memorial has been the location for many civil rights demonstrations, including the 1963 March on Washington.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change
Virtually visit the King Center in Atlanta , Georgia. It is dedicated to promoting the legacy and teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through research and education in his principles, philosophy, and methods of nonviolence.
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President Lyndon Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act, which gives the federal government far-reaching powers to prosecute discrimination in employment, voting, and education.

Civil Rights Act of 1964
Read the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which secured for African Americans the right to eat at any restaurant, rent a room in any hotel, ride in any section of public transportation, be hired for any job whose qualifications they met, or attend any school. In 1964, Congress passed the first of several voting rights acts to enforce the rights of blacks to register to vote.

Martin Luther King, Jr. is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Nobel eMuseum – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
In addition to his biography, you can read Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech and lecture.
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The Voting Rights Act is passed, outlawing the practices used in the South to disenfranchise African American voters.

National Voting Rights Museum
The National Voting Rights Museum and Institute was created to honor the courage of civil rights supporters who endured hatred and violence and died to gain the right to vote for Black Americans.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965
Get the scoop on the Voting Rights Act from the U.S. Department of Justice.
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Thurgood Marshall becomes the first African American justice on the Supreme Court.

Thurgood Marshall Biography
Learn about this remarkable man who was always at the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement.
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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. assassinated in Memphis , Tennessee. His murder sparks a week of rioting across the country.

Biographical Outline of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Learn more about the major architect of the Civil Rights Movement and his policy of nonviolent, passive resistance.
Robert Kennedy's Statement on the Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.
This speech was delivered by Robert F. Kennedy on the evening of April 4, 1968

Shirley Chisholm becomes the first African American woman to be elected to Congress.

Shirley Chisholm
In addition to being the first African American Congresswoman, Shirley Chisholm was the first to campaign for the presidency.
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Fifteen African American members of Congress form the Congressional Black Caucus to present a unified African American voice in Congress.

Congressional Black Caucus
Although the Black Caucus was first formed in 1969, the group received its first national recognition when its members met with former President Richard Nixon in March of 1971. This web site provides historical and current information about this group.
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Other Civl Rights Activists

Beyond the Playing Field: Jackie Robinson
Spend some time with Jackie Robinson. Not only was he a groundbreaking baseball player, he was also a civil rights advocate.
Charles Houston: The Man Who Killed “Jim Crow”
Meet the man who fought relentlessly against Jim Crow. Houston, a legal visionary and staunch supporter of integration, orchestrated a series of important, yet little-known legal battles throughout the 1930s and '40s that laid the groundwork for the landmark 1954 Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education, which legally ended segregation in the United States.
Fanny Jackson Coppin
Meet Fanny Jackson Coppin. She was a former slave who became a teacher and was tireless in her efforts to educate other freed slaves.
Ida B. Wells
Ida B. Wells was born in Missouri , the daughter of slaves, in 1862. Ms. Wells became a crusader for women's rights and for the rights of African Americans. In the 1870s, she was forcibly removed from her seat for refusing to move to a "colored car" on the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad. She helped lay the groundwork for the organization now known as the NAACP.
Malcolm X
Malcolm X was an activist who rejected the nonviolent civil-rights movement and integration, and became a champion of African American separatism and black pride.
Medgar Evers
Learn about Medgar Evers. He was a civil rights leader from Mississippi who was shot and killed in the driveway of his home in June of 1963. There were no consequences for his accused murderer after two mistrials, and this led to many protests and disturbances in states throughout the south.
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Lesson Plans

A Time for Justice
Students will understand the protections and privileges of individuals and groups in the United States.
The Bill of Rights and the News
Students will examine current news stories and from them develop "BIG" questions related to individual and group rights. They will then relate their questions to the U.S. Constitution and supreme court decisions.
Dr. King's Dream
In this lesson from EDSITEment, students learn about the life and work of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. (Grades K-2)
Essentials of the US Constitution Unit
Students will understand how the content of the U.S. Government enables the U.S. Government to function.
Let Freedom Ring: The Life & Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.
In this lesson, students listen to a biography of Martin Luther King, Jr., view photographs of the March on Washington, and study King's speeches. (Grades 3-5)
Ordinary People, Ordinary Places: The Civil Rights Movement
This lesson, focuses on the individual men and women who embraced Martin Luther King, Jr.'s message of nonviolent protest and advanced d the Civil Rights Movement on a local level. (Grades 9-12)