The Ruby Bridges Story

In this lesson, students will hear from a primary source, Ruby Bridges, as she spoke with elementary school students about her experiences as the first black student in an all-white school in New Orleans in 1960.

American Reckoning

The video segments for this activity come from “American Reckoning,” a Frontline and Retro Report collaboration that examines a little-known story of the civil rights era. This activity centers on the attempted murder of George Metcalfe and the response by the N.A.A.C.P. and Deacons for Defense chapters of Natchez, Miss.

Monthly Civics Themes

The Rendell Center has developed monthly themes designed to build basic civic knowledge, promote civic engagement, and provide practice in democratic deliberation. Each month offers an experiential learning opportunity for K-12 students to examine and discuss a new civics topic, with questions and activities designed to help them better understand the concept.

The March Trilogy Lesson Plans

The March trilogy, the informative and eye-catching autobiographical series of novels about the Civil Rights Movement as told from the perspective of former Congressman John Lewis, serves as the backdrop for these downloadable lessons from The Rendell Center. Designed for students in grades 6-10, these lessons educate about civil rights and lead to an engaged discussion on the topic through focused activities.

The Plainest Demands of Justice: Documents for Dialogue on the African American Experience

The Plainest Demands of Justice: Documents for Dialogue on the African American Experience explores, through primary source analysis, the efforts to realize the Founding principles of liberty, equality, and justice by examining key periods in African American history. Six chronological primary source sets covering the colonial era to the present day allow students to consider how the efforts of law- and policy-makers, the courts, and “We the People” – individuals and groups – have worked to ensure a society faithful to the ideals of the Declaration of Independence. A culminating assessment has students choose a topic to research and present to make connections to how the work to ensure a society aligned with Founding principles continues in the present day.

Lesson Plan: The Emmett Till Story

In this lesson, students will view videos to hear eyewitness accounts of what occurred while Emmett Till was visiting family in Mississippi. They will learn about the timeline of events, how they unfolded and the subsequent trial for the men involved. Students will also consider the impact this had on the Civil Rights movement and the legacy.

Juneteenth General Order

In this activity, students will carefully analyze General Order 3 from Major General Gordon Granger which informed the people of Texas that “all slaves are free.” This activity is appropriate as a conclusion to the Civil War and the beginning of Reconstruction.

Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow

This free curriculum guide from the New-York Historical Society explores the contested efforts toward full citizenship and racial equality for African Americans that transpired in the fifty years after the Civil War. Examining both the activism for and opposition to Black citizenship rights, the materials in this curriculum underscore how ideas of freedom and citizenship were redefined by government and citizen action, and challenged by legal discrimination and violence.

Untold Stories: Changemakers of the Civil Rights Era

iCivics presents a series of short, animated videos that examine the actions and accomplishments of civil rights activists of the 1950s and ’60s. Barbara Johns, Constance Baker Motley, and J.D. and Ethel Shelley, these figures probably haven’t made it to your textbook, and yet their contributions have helped shape our nation in insurmountable ways. Videos are assignable, end with questions for generating classroom discussion, and come with a downloadable Teacher’s Guide. Visit a video’s lesson page to view or assign it and access the guide.