Framing the Movement



Civil Rights Movement Mythbusters Quiz

Through this quiz, and the answers that appear after each question, you can learn some of the history of the Civil Rights Movement that is all too often omitted from the textbooks.


Key Narratives for Teaching about the Civil Rights Movement
By Deborah Menkart and Judy Richardson

Teaching the bottom-up history of the Civil Rights Movement.



Key Issues in Race and Education Timeline
By Jenice View

A timeline highlighting key moments in the history of race and education.



And the Youth Shall Lead Us: 16 Stories of Young People on the Frontlines of U.S. Social Movements
By Allison Acosta, Allyson Criner Brown, and Deborah Menkart,

Young people at the forefront of social movements throughout U.S. history.



The Borning Struggle
By Bernice Johnson Reagon

Through the story of the growth of the Civil Rights Movement in one town, Albany, Georgia, students get an insider's perspective on how and why people got involved in the Movement, collaboration and tension between groups, the integral role of music as a unifying and strengthening force, and the impact the Movement had on the town and its people.



Teaching Eyes on the Prize, Teaching Democracy
By Judy Richardson

Description of the Eyes on the Prize documentary miniseries, the themes that weave throughout, and how the series can enrich classroom learning.


Teaching Reflection

From Snarling Dogs to Bloody Sunday: Teaching Past the Platitudes of the Civil Rights Movement
By Katie Lyman

Reflection on teaching young children about the Civil Rights Movement.

Teaching Activity

Big Shoes to Fill
By Debora Kodish and Teresa Jaynes

A community building activity for teachers or students to write about "in whose shoes I walk for justice" or some way they have walked for justice in their shoes.



Uncovering the Movement: Staff Development
By Alana D. Murray

A workshop designed to give teachers and other school staff a chance to examine their own understanding of the Civil Rights Movement and consider the impact of the traditional narrative on students.


Teaching Activity

Women Make History
By Jenice View

A meet and greet lesson with women from various social justice struggles.


Teaching Activity

Resistance 101: A Lesson on Social Justice Activists and Strategies
By Allison Acosta and Deborah Menkart

A lesson to introduce students to people throughout U.S. history, including many young people, who fought for social justice and civic change using a range of strategies.


Teaching Activity

Freedom's Children: An Oral History Unit on the Civil Rights Movement
By Laurel R. Singleton

A lesson to help children understand the racism faced by African-Americans during the Civil Rights Movement and recognize that young people can help bring about social change by reading and discussing the interviews in Freedoms' Children: Young Civil Rights Activists Tell Their Own Stories.


Teaching Activity

The Myth-Busting History of Edna Griffin
By Katy Swalwell and Jennifer Gallagher

Edna Griffin’s life work provides a powerful counter narrative to the traditional framing of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement. She was a woman living in the North who used court cases, boycotts, sit-ins, and protests to improve her community starting well before 1954. Through her decades of activism, she strategically employed a range of tactics from radical direct action to more moderate approaches rooted in a politics of respectability. She also made connections between racism and other social concerns like war, labor struggles, education, and criminal justice.

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Teaching Activity

Write that I… for the Civil Rights Movement
By Deborah Menkart

Students research about civil rights movement activists and then write poetry based on what they have learned.


Recommended books, films, and more for further learning about critiquing the traditional narrative.