Perhaps it's the role students played. Or that Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous letter penned from a Birmingham jail was in response to an ad by white ministers. This NewseumED article, originally published in a National Council for the Social Studies' Bulletin, shows educators how they can reframe the civil rights movement using the C3 Framework and the lens of the First Amendment.
GRADE LEVEL: Middle school
TIME: Three class periods
MATERIALS: Resources cited in the article (download), and the EDCollection Making a Change: The First Amendment and the Civil Rights Movement. The EDCollection includes a searchable timeline featuring over 200 historical front pages, videos and photographs and a media map comparing newspapers’ front page coverage of civil rights milestones across the country. (To access some of these resources, you must be signed into NewseumED; registration is free.)
INTRO: Ask your students what they know about the civil rights movement and they’ll probably fire back a volley of marquee names, milestone events and bumper-sticker quotes: “I Have a Dream!” “Martin Luther King Jr.!” “The March on Washington!” “Rosa Parks!” Ask your students what they don’t know about the civil rights movement, and you’ll probably get an awkward silence punctuated by the odd “Huh?” or “What?”
How can you help your students move beyond the checklist of civil rights facts and figures toward a deeper understanding of the factors that shaped the civil rights movement and an appreciation for its continuing impact in their own communities and around the world? How can you help them step away from their instinct for easy answers to instead begin formulating and investigating their own questions?
Download the pdf to read the full article.