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From Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter From Birmingham Jail" to a video on the press and the civil rights movement to a timeline on major events in the fight for racial equality,  NewseumED is your source for lesson plans and activities that can be used to observe MLK Day in January or Black History Month in February. King understood the power of the First Amendment and used it to bring national attention to injustices.

We have numerous resources for you to bring the civil rights leader, the First Amendment and the civil rights movement into your classroom and/or enhance a visit to the Newseum. (To access some of these resources, you must be signed into NewseumED; registration is free.)

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On the NewseumED website 


Find more civil rights resources through our Tools feature.

At the Newseum

  • "Making a Change: The First Amendment and the Civil Rights Movement" is a 50-minute class offered free to school groups visiting the Newseum. Students watch and discuss a Newseum-produced documentary about the role of the First Amendment freedoms in the civil rights movement and in protests today.  We've created a unit of pre- and post-visit lesson plans and activities.

    “Make Some Noise: Students and the Civil Rights Movement” explores the new generation of student leaders in the early 1960s who fought segregation by making their voices heard and exercising their First Amendment rights.

  • “Make Some Noise: Students and the Civil Rights Movement” is a Newseum exhibit on young adults in the early 1960s who fought segregation by making their voices heard and exercising their First Amendment rights. Featured are a section of the original F.W. Woolworth lunch counter in Greensboro, N.C., where in 1960 four African-American college students launched the sit-in movement; and a bronze casting of the Birmingham, Ala., jail cell door behind which  King penned his famous “Letter From Birmingham Jail” in 1963. Download a gallery exploration guide.
  • “1968: Civil Rights at 50” is part of a changing exhibit exploring the tumultuous events that shaped the civil rights movement in 1968, when movement leader the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, unleashing anger and anguish across the country. The exhibit runs through Jan. 27, 2019.

You can find additional information on all of our classes here and on how to schedule a field trip. If you have questions, please email the Newseum Education Department or call 202/292-6650.  


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EDClasses & Training

  • From Facts to Firewalls: Leading Free Speech Debates

    Get the First Amendment background and media literacy techniques to help students understand where and how they can exercise freedom of expression in a world of social media and social protests.

  • Is It Fair? Evaluate Your Media

    Are accusations of bias clogging your news feed? Are your students quick to point out that something's unfair — but not as ready to explain why? Tune up your “fairness meter” to assess how objective or biased content really is.

  • The Civil War: From the Front Lines to the Front Pages

    Students see how technology affected news coverage and public perception of the Civil War, then create their own front pages with breaking news, maps and telegrams.

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