Civil Rights Unit

Driving Question: How did activism influence the Civil Rights movement?

School Integration in Little Rock, AR, 1957

School Integration in Little Rock, AR, 1957

In the fifth project based unit, Civil Liberties, students examine social revolutions, and trace historical events from their grass root beginnings. Students analyze the motivations behind the widening scope of civil liberties, and question how far Americans are willing to go in the crusade for Justice. Students analyze the differences between violent and non-violent movements such as Martin Luther King Junior and Malcolm X, and debate the merits/demerits of each. Students also critically analyze the progress Americans have made in realizing the founding United States documents, and question if laws have been as fully implemented in the American psyche as they have been in the court room. Through analysis of southern segregation, major court cases, social justice organizations, and social leaders and by reading primary texts such as Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, Martin Luther King, Jr “Where do we go from Here?,” Malcolm X “Message to the Grass Roots”, and secondary texts such as The American Pageant textbook and Howard Zinn’s A Peoples History of the United States students will gain insight into this time period Through the Civil Liberties OP/ED and Documentary Project, they will be able to apply their understanding of rhetoric and the revolutionary process to campaigning for their own activist cause. Upon completion, students can analyze the major domestic issues currently facing American society, including poverty, institutionalized racism, and environmental destruction.
Essential Skills:
1. I can choose my words carefully and vary my sentence structure to evoke a specific mood in my writing.
2. I can use credible research to defend or argue against a specific perspective or viewpoint from a piece of literature.
3. I can format my paper following the MLA or APA guidelines.
4. I can identify two or more themes of a text and analyze the development of each theme, including how they interact and build on one another, adding complexity to the text.
5. I can evaluate the influence of historical context on a variety of literary works.
6. I can prepare presentations that are engaging, appropriate, and research-based for a variety of audiences.
7. I can explain the meaning of bias and give specific examples of how it affects the choices an author makes.
8. I can revise and edit my work until there are no grammatical mistakes.
9. I can properly define and use 50 vocabulary words commonly found on the SAT.
1. I can identify and explain the causes and outcomes of WWII.
2. I can identify and explain the causes of the Cold War and its outcome.
3. I can analyze and clearly interpret primary documents, historical data, charts, maps, historical imagery (i.e., political cartoons, propaganda, etc.), and explain its historical significance.
4. I can locate specific continents, bodies of water, and nations on a geographical map.


Interesting Stuff

Implicit Bias Test
Interview with Melba Patillo Beals (one of the Little Rock Nine)
Music Video: Common feat. - "A Dream"

The Long Walk Home
Malcolm X


Unit Project Links

Amnesty International News
Civil Rights Issues
Human Rights Watch
MHS Research (Use databases under Controversial Issues)
Universal Declaration of Human Rights


Rising Up: Challenging Segregated Spaces in 1960 Richmond, VA