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More than 90 minutes
  • Civil Rights
  • Current Events
  • Journalism
  • 6-12

(Note: For more support, see expanded procedure in downloadable lesson plan. Review the sample worksheet at the end of the plan. You may wish to distribute it to your students, as well.)

  1. As a class, discuss the word “community” and what it means.
  2. Ask the students what they know about the civil rights era in their own community.
  3. Brainstorm ways to learn more about the history of civil rights in their community.
  4. Students conduct research and create a multimedia presentation of their findings.

  • Research Guide and Timeline Template worksheets (download)
  • Internet access

Have students share their presentations. Prompts include:

  • What was the most surprising thing you discovered while working on this project?
  • Has your view of your community changed over the course of this project? Why or why not?
  • Compare and contrast your local civil rights movement events with the national movement events on the NewseumED timeline. Who participated? How did participants exercise their First Amendment rights? What were the results?
  • What was the most difficult part of this project? What obstacles did you encounter? How did you overcome them?

Civil Rights Gallery: Have students adapt their research sources — including photographs, interviews, newspaper clippings, journal entries, etc. — to create an exhibit about the civil rights movement in your community. Format the sources as virtual or physical posters that can be displayed at school or online (using a blog format or a template such as Google Sites). As a class, develop introductory text and captions for the sources that will allow visitors to learn about their community’s history and connections to the national civil rights movement. Invite other students and community members to view the gallery and provide a guestbook for them to share their reactions. (Again, this could be a physical book or a virtual tool such as Twitter or a blog comment feature.)

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