Renowned Reconstruction historian Eric Foner, of Columbia University, discusses the major changes in citizenship during and after the Civil War, particularly for African Americans.
Professor Clarence Taylor reminds us of the role African American soldiers played in the conflict—and the role their military service played in shaping the racial politics that followed in peacetime. This essay helps us appreciate the complexity of mobilization for modern warfare and drive home the impact of events on the world stage upon domestic affairs. Registration is required to view this resource.
In this activity, students will analyze documents pertaining to the women’s suffrage movement as it intensified following passage of the 15th Amendment, which guaranteed the right to vote for African American males. Documents were chosen to call attention to the struggle’s length, the movement’s techniques, and the variety of arguments for and against giving women the vote.
Few people know the legal mind of justices or judges as well as the law clerks who have worked with them. Justice Thurgood Marshall’s former law clerks offer unique insights into the character, values, and thought processes of the first African American to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States. In this 8.5-minute video called “Moments in History: Remembering Thurgood Marshall,” prominent lawyers reminisce about the examples of compassion and courage they saw in the life and work of this legal legend.
Video profiles of seven African American federal judges, who overcame obstacles on their paths to the bench, are featured on the federal courts’ website. In their inspirational first-person narratives, they recount the challenges they faced growing up and offer uplifting insights. The four-minute videos are part of the federal courts’ Pathways to the Bench series.
In the summer of 1964, student volunteers from around the country joined organizers and local African Americans in a historic effort to shatter the foundations of white supremacy in Mississippi, one of the nation’s most segregated states . The website features historical background essays, bonus video of interviews with participants and original art work.
The modern Civil Rights Movement was the most important social protest movement of the twentieth century. People who were locked out of the formal political process due to racial barriers were able to mount numerous campaigns over three decades to eradicate racial injustice and in the process transform the nation. In its greatest accomplishment, the Civil Rights Movement successfully eliminated the American apartheid system popularly known as Jim Crow. Registration is required to view this resource.
Thurgood is a production of the critically acclaimed one-man play starring Laurence Fishburne as Thurgood Marshall, a civil rights pioneer and the first African American to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. The play recounts the milestones in the life and career of Marshall. Educators are required to register online to receive a personalized link to the video.
This lesson is designed to be used in conjunction with the National Constitution Center’s Breaking Barriers show, which is available as part of themed museum packages for groups and the Traveling History & Civics Program for schools.
Together, they provide students with first-hand experience about how African-American individuals have broken barriers to racial integration in the United States, achieving equal rights and making lasting contributions to the country’s political, social and cultural development.