Civil Rights Special Collection
The Teachers’ Domain Civil Rights Collection is produced by WGBH Boston, in partnership with the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and Washington University in St. Louis. Materials are free but you have to sign up. Features an impressive array of audio, video, and text sources from Frontline and American Experience shows, Eyes on the Prize, and other sources. Also offers an interactive Civil Rights movement timeline and four lesson plans: Campaigns for Economic Freedom/Re-Examining Brown/Taking a Stand/Understanding White Supremacy.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project
This project out of Stanford University disseminates historical information about Dr. King and the social movements in which he participated. There are papers, speeches, sermons, book chapters, scholarly articles, a biography and a chronology. Excellent research site.
Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Movement
The landmark Eyes on the Prize television series spans over three decades of history, and dozens of civil rights events. This American Experience feature presents 25 major civil rights events, including Emmett Till’s murder in 1955, The Montgomery Bus Boycott, The Freedom Rides, The March on Washington, The Nation of Islam and Malcolm X, and much more. There are also two dozen primary sources presenting varied perspectives on the civil rights movement, as well as profiles of individuals and groups. Furthermore, there are 15 background articles on civil rights milestones, and even an opportunity to share your memories. In the For Teachers section there are five lesson plans each for High School or Middle School classrooms.
Martin Luther King Jr.: I Have a Dream
A complete audio recording of the famous speech.
Why it’s so Difficult to Find Full Videos of King’s Historic Speech
Due to copyright law, it can be tricky to find complete video recordings of the “I Have a Dream” Speech. This article explains why. At the bottom of the article, there’s a link to a full video of the speech that, as of July 2020, has yet to be copystriked.
Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement
This Seattle Times exhibit helps students learn about King as a civil-rights leader and his sweeping influence on the civil rights movement and beyond. Included are a photo gallery, biography, study guide, quizzes, essays from students and others and a focus on black history.
The History of Jim Crow
Access historical background, source material, and lesson plans at this impressive site and learn how Jim Crow laws deprived African Americans of their civil rights.
The African-American Odyssey
A Library of Congress resource guide for the study of Black History and Culture, the Mosaic explores colonization, abolition, migration, and the WPA. Included are maps, charts, primary sources, and background information on black history. Part IX Civil Rights Movement topics include Desegregation and Civil Rights in the Arena and on the Stage.
The Two Nations of Black America
The Two Nations of Black America discusses the divide in the black American community and features audio excerpts, charts, graphs and analysis, interviews, readings and links. “Are we better off?” is an essay by famed Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
This Spartacus website looks at the history of the Black Panther movement and includes biographies of leading figures such as Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, Fred Hampton, Eldridge Cleaver, H. Rap Brown and Bobby Hutton.
Malcom X: The Problem is Still Here
In this short, 90-second excerpt, Malcolm X points out that the racial problem was still present in America despite the “progress” made by White activists.
Malcom X. on Police Brutality
Malcom X. delivers a stirring response to police violence that remains relevant today.
Jackie Robinson and other Baseball Highlights
The special presentation called Baseball, the Color Line, and Jackie Robinson, 1860s-1960s draws on approximately thirty items–manuscripts, books, photographs, and ephemera–from many parts of the Library of Congress. It describes the color line that segregated baseball for many years, the Negro Leagues, and Branch Rickey and Jackie Robinson–two men who played key roles in integrating the sport. The last two sections of the presentation explore Robinson’s career as a Dodger and his civil rights activities.
African American History and Heritage
Extensive collection of online resources for the history of the US civil rights movement and current projects and events in Black History.
Civil Rights Movement Veterans
This site is by and for veterans of the Southern Freedom Movement who tell their story of the Civil Rights Movement in their own words. The Veterans explain the movement, provide a timeline, contribute a photo album, offer documents, and discussion, and more. Most importantly, they contribute their stories. A great primary source resource.
Voices of the Civil Rights Movement
AARP, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), and the Library of Congress team up to collect and present personal accounts of the Civil Rights Movement. In addition the various voices on the web site, there is a timeline, a historical overview, a music video montage, and a look at the movement at 50.
Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights Scrapbook
White state officials banned the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), a powerful civil rights organization, for its supportive role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955-1956. To fill the void, the Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth helped organize the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights (ACMHR) in Birmingham, Alabama. The ACMHR organized demonstrations and boycotts to protest segregation in Birmingham’s schools and businesses. The group also challenged segregation laws by openly defying them and by filing lawsuits to overturn them. Features primary source documents. Part of WGBH Civil Rights Special Collection.
Library of Congress Civil Rights
A small collection of primary sources from the Civil Rights Era. Includes cartoons, newspaper articles, and photographs. Be sure to check out the evocative images taken by Danny Lyon, the first staff photographer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) who traveled the South and Mid-Atlantic regions taking pictures.
Civil Rights Movement
History.com presents a Civil Rights Movement gallery featuring 15 video clips, 6 speeches, 8 photo galleries, and 1 interactive. Video clips include Little Rock Nine, Jackie Robinson Breaks Barriers, King Leads the March on Washington, and the interactive is a Black History Milestones interactive timeline. There are 25 combined photographs of Martin Luther King, Jr. and The March on Washington.
Religion & Ethics News Weekly
This PBS newsmagazine provides insightful coverage and analysis of the news, people, events and trends behind the headlines in the world of religion and ethics. The program explores how religion shapes both national and international events, and examines the challenges raised by difficult ethical issues. The Web site features individual show transcripts, an audio archive of past programs, full transcripts of interviews with notable guests, related articles dealing with significant issues in religion and ethics news, a list of related resources and an online pressroom featuring downloadable versions of the program press kit and quarterly newsletter as well as detailed summaries of individual stories. See Martin Luther King Jr. as Pastor (January 13, 2006; Episode no. 920); interview of Civil Rights movement leader Rep. John Lewis (January 16, 2004; Episode no. 720): What spiritual legacy did the civil rights movement give to the United States?; The Legacy of Howard Thurman – Mystic and Theologian (January 18, 2002; Episode no. 520). Howard influenced Martin Luther King, Jr.
We Shall Overcome
The National Parks Services’ story of the Civil Rights Movement centers around places listed in an interactive map historic places.
International Civil Rights Walk of Fame
This National Parks Service presents essays and image of civil rights leaders such as Rosa Parks, Fred Shuttlesworth, Thurgood Marshall, Julian Bond, Dick Gregory, Jesse Jackson, Andrew Young, and others.
Academy of Achievement: Rosa Parks
The Academy of Achievement presents stories of “legendary achievers” of the 20th century in arts, public service, sports, science, and other fields. This feature on Rosa Parks includes video interviews that you can download and images from the Civil Rights Movement.
Rosa Parks Excerpts on NPR
National Public Radio presents audio excerpts from 1992 interview and a 2004 tribute.
Rosa Parks Interview (YouTube video)
Songs of the Civil Rights Movement
National Public Radio presents jazz/blues versions of select songs that sustained the civil-rights movement in the 1960s through setbacks, hardships, failures and the many hard-won successes.
The First Civil Rights Bus Boycott
The Baton Rouge bus boycott in 1953 inspired the Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott led by the Rev. Martin Luther King, but was largely forgotten. This National Public Radio reports from principals involved in the boycott.
Documents from the Women’s Liberation Movement
The materials in this on-line archival collection document various aspects of the Women’s Liberation Movement in the United States and focus specifically on the radical origins of this movement during the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Agents of Social Change
Smith College offers an on-line exhibit and several lesson plans drawn from its collections. The lesson plans are directed at middle and high school students and make use of both the text-based documents and visual images that can be found at the curriculum portion of the Web site. They highlight women’s part in struggles for social change in the 20th century including labor, socialism, civil liberties, peace, racial justice, urban reform, welfare rights, and women’s rights.
How Southern Socialites Rewrote Civil War History
This 7-minute video by Vox explains the creation and propagation of the “Lost Cause” myth by the Daughters of the Confederacy and the lasting damage this caused to Civil Rights progress. Includes an interview with Dr. Karen Cox, a prominent historian of women’s history in the South.
Life Covers the Civil Rights Movement
Life Magazine presents the Civil Rights Movement in this slideshow of wonderful photographs of major events and individuals accompanied by brief descriptions.
Timeline of the American Civil Rights Movement
This is an Infoplease.com annotated timeline of the Civil Rights Movement from the Brown v. Board of Education ruling in 1954 to the Selma (Alabama) March in 1965. It provides hyperlinked encyclopedic summaries of key events and brief biographies of key participants.
From Slavery to Civil Rights: Timeline of African American History
This Library of Congress timeline includes a section on the Civil Rights Movement replete with photographs of Rosa Parks, March on Washington, Little Rock Nine, and more.
Skin Deep: 1945-1994 (PBS)
The People’s Century site is based on the 26-episode PBS television series and features a teacher’s guide, a timeline, a thematic overview, and RealAudio excerpts. The highlights of the web site are the first-person narratives, often by ordinary people who lived through turbulent times. The Skin Deep: 1945-1994 episode probes the challenge to racial oppression in the United States and South Africa and features an interesting interview of Jim Zwerg, Civil Rights activist.
Civil Rights Movement
The New Georgia Encyclopedia presents a hyperlinked essay on the Civil Rights Movement with related links. Of note are the five video clips that accompany the essay.
Afterward with Clarence Jones
A former adviser to the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., Clarence Jones presents a behind the scenes picture of the weeks leading up to the March on Washington, and the writing and delivery of the civil rights leader’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Courtesy of C-Span Video.
Martin Luther King and Current Public Policy
Former Pennsylvania Senator Harris Wofford and former Maryland Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend speak on the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and his possible approaches to current public policy issues
The Civil Rights Movement
CNN.com presents a timeline of the Civil Rights Movement with related stories and links. If the page fails to load, try opening it in Incognito mode (if using Chrome) or switching to a different Internet browser.
The Fight in the Fields: Cesar Chavez (PBS)
This portrait of Chavez is presented in both English and Spanish and features audio excerpts from Chavez himself and an interview with his brother.
Teaching Ideas and Resources to Help Students Make Sense of the George Floyd Protests:
This module, created by the New York Times and other prominent media outlets, compiles a list of resources, discussion questions, interviews, and more for teaching about the history of slavery and civil rights in the United States, and the critical context they can provide for the nation’s recent political upheaval.
Jim Crow Museum Lesson Plans:
The Jim Crow Museum has gathered a huge collection of lesson plans for teaching Black history, the Civil Rights movement, Reconstruction, slavery, and more.
Civil Rights Themed Resources
The Teachers section of the Library of Congress features several excellent reaching resources on the Civil Rights Movement. It includes two primary source sets (images, manuscripts, maps, sound files) with analysis tools to help students think like historians: Jim Crow in America andThe NAACP: A Century in the Fight for Freedom. There are also six lesson plans created by teachers centering on civil rights:
- After Reconstruction: Problems of African Americans in the South (Grades 9-12) Students identify problems and issues facing African-Americans immediately after Reconstruction using text based sources.
- Segregation: From Jim Crow to Linda Brown (Grades 6-12) Students explore the era of legalized segregation.
- Baseball, Race Relations and Jackie Robinson (Grades 6-12) Students explore racism in the United States, both in and out of sports. The lesson focuses primarily on race relations in the 1950s.
- Women in the Civil War: Ladies, Contraband and Spies (Grades 6-12) Students view the perspectives of slave women, plantation mistresses, female spies, and Union women during the Civil War. Much of the lesson is centered on “contraband” in the South.
- Baseball, Race and Ethnicity: Rounding the Bases (Grades 9-12) Students use primary sources focused on baseball to explore the American experience regarding race and ethnicity. Covering the period from 1860 to 1959, students are divided into groups each investigating a 20-year segment of time and use primary sources from the Library of Congress’s American Memory collection to develop and defend a unique historical hypothesis about race and ethnicity. Students draw parallels between the changing role of race and ethnicity in the history of baseball to the changing role these factors played in broader American society.
- To Kill a Mockingbird: A Historical Perspective (Grades 6-12) Students are guided on a journey through the Depression Era South in the 1930s.
- African American Identity in the Gilded Age: Two Unreconciled Strivings (Grades 8-12) Students examine the tension experienced by African-Americans during the Gilded Age. The lesson explores the areas of family, work, play, faith, education, race, and violence.
Baseball, Race Relations, and Jackie Robinson
In this Library of Congress lesson students draw on their previous studies of American history and culture as they analyze primary sources from Jackie Robinson and Other Baseball Highlights, 1860s-1960s in American Memory. A close reading of two documents relating to Jackie Robinson’s breaking of the racial barrier in professional baseball leads to a deeper exploration of racism in the United States, both in and out of sports. Middle School and High School levels.
Teaching With Documents: The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
This National Archives and Records Administration lesson explores “affirmative action” and relates to Articles I,II, and III in the Constitution.
Teaching With Documents: Competing Voices of the Civil Rights Movement
This National Archives and Records Administration curriculum unit contains two lessons that help students understand of the diversity of voices that shaped the debate over civil rights in 1960s America.
In this Civil Rights movement lesson plan from the Alabama Department of Archives & History students read Martin Luther King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” and other documents relating to King’s incarceration in a Birmingham jail in April, 1963. Students are then asked to write a press release to be sent to each newspaper, radio station and television station in Alabama which will explain what happened in Birmingham. High School level resource.
Revisiting ‘Separate but Equal’: Examining School Segregation 45 Years After Brown v. Board of Education
In this New York Times lesson plan, students take a critical look at the fight against segregation in the 1950’s and 1960’s, and address current studies that suggest that even today’s schools continue to trend towards segregated activity.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project: Lesson Plans
This project out of Stanford University disseminates historical information about Dr. King and the social movements in which he participated. Primary sources and lesson plans include:
- Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”
- The Children’s Crusade and the Role of Youth in the African American Freedom Struggle
- Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X: A Common Solution?
- Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Beyond Vietnam
- Personal Stories of Liberation from the Civil Rights Movement
- Teaching King and the Civil Rights Movement with Primary Source Documents
The Murder of Emmett Till: Teacher’s Guide
Provided by PBS, this lesson plan is centered around the murder of Emmett Till. Students are also asked to discuss segregation, violence, and the Great Migration. This lesson plan is broken into four parts and is intended for grades 7-12.
Lesson Plan: Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, and the Power of Nonviolence
This Thinkfinity lesson introduces students to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s philosophy of nonviolence and the teachings of Mohandas K. Gandhi that influenced King’s views. After considering the political impact of this philosophy, students explore its relevance to personal life. Intended for grades 6-8
Whitewashing? History: Exploring Topics of Civil Rights from 1948-1964
In this New York Times lesson, students will revisit issues of civil rights in the U.S., using the recent national discussion of retiring Senator Strom Thurmond’s 1948 Dixiecrat Presidential campaign as a starting point.(December 16, 2002)
Teacher Lesson Plan: Created Equal?
This Library of Congress lesson focuses on a few key concepts of the Declaration of Independence, beginning with the phrase “All men are created equal.” Students gain an appreciation of Thomas Jefferson’s efforts to deal with the complex issues of equality and slavery in the Declaration of Independence. Recommended for High school students.
The First Amendment: What’s Fair in a Free Country
This EDSITEment lesson plan explores the difficult issues that arise related to our right to free speech.
Preserve, Protect and Defend? Considering Violent Protests and American Values
In this New York Times lesson plan students explore if ever Americans should ever use threats and violence to promote and defend their definitions of America.
Burning Hatred: Discussing the Constitutional Conflict Over Cross Burning
In this lesson, students examine the constitutionality of various forms of expression; they then take part in a mock trial on the issue of cross burning.
Is Everyone Protected By the Bill of Rights?
In this high school lesson plan, students explore whether gays should be entitled to serve in the military. To understand this issue, students take a look at the civil rights afforded to every US citizen. We explore how this applied to the civil rights movement, and whether it is also applicable to gays who want to serve in the military. All this is used to gather information for a final debate about the issue using skills and research found in the lesson.
Hip Hop: Today’s Civil Rights Movement?
In this National Public Radio interview author Todd Boyd says that Hip-hop culture, with its street rhythms and explicit lyrics, is more relevant in advancing civil rights today than the peaceful messages of Rev. Martin Luther King.
Cesar Chavez: Model Curriculum
Standards-based model curriculum on the life and work of Cesar E. Chavez. Curriculum is provided for kindergarten through grade twelve, consisting of biographies and lesson plans. Page requires some time of Adobe Reader in order to be viewed.
Rounding the Bases – Lesson Plan
This lesson challenges students to investigate the roles that race and ethnicity have played in the United States by utilizing the lens of baseball. Covering the period from 1860 to 1959, students are divided into groups each investigating a 20-year segment of time and use primary sources from the Library of Congress’s American Memory collection to develop and defend a unique historical hypothesis about race and ethnicity. Students draw parallels between the changing role of race and ethnicity in the history of baseball to the changing role these factors played in broader American society. Designed for grades 9 to 12.
Living Legacies – Commemorating People Who Have Positively Impacted Society
In this New York Times lesson, students explore the contemporary commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., research the positive impact another famous person has had on society and the images that best represent the actions and beliefs of that person, create an art exhibit honoring that person’s legacy, and finally, write an essay analyzing the effect this individual has had on modern society.(June 20, 2003)
Non-Violent Protest Through The Ages
This is a detailed Middle School teaching unit from the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute. It focuses on the beliefs of Henry David Thoreau, Mohandas K. Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King and is designed to be used for classroom discussion as well as independent reading projects. Includes terms, activities, and teaching strategies.
The Civil Rights Movement (A Web Project)
Designed by George Cassutto, this Lesson plan aims to give students a general historical understanding of the events of the Civil Rights Movement and its context in African-American history. It encourages students to construct a Black History timeline. A matching activity is also included, in which students pair a historical event with its correct description.
Little Rock Nine (Web Quest)
Little Rock Nine is an interactive Web Quest from the Pacific Bell Knowledge Network and explores racial desegregation in schools. Students are asked: What, if anything, should be done to racially desegregate U.S. schools? Activities are group-oriented and inquiry-based and are designed to promote critical thinking. There is a teacher’s guide included.
Interpreting Primary Sources
Digital History provides brief excerpts from primary sources and statistics on slavery and presents several questions to think about
Digital History Resource Guides
The Digital Resource Guides provides links to American history web sites by period and provide historical overviews, readings (online textbook chapter, Reader’s Companion) primary source documents (documents, maps, cartoons), teaching resources (chronologies, maps, quizzes), audio-visual resources, and additional resources. It is an excellent and comprehensive teaching resource.
All About Martin Luther King, Jr.: An Overview of his Life
This Enchanted Learning site provides an overview of Martin Luther King’s Life and has some printable activities about King’?s life and achievements for both beginning and fluent readers. Elementary School.
HistoryTeacher.net: AP United States History Quizzes 1920-1970
A New York teacher has produced a great general site for history teachers that offers AP-level United States history quizzes on many different periods and topics.