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Civil Rights Movements

COINTELPRO: Teaching the FBI’s War on the Black Freedom Movement

Teaching Activity. By Ursula Wolfe-Rocca. 29 pages. Through examining FBI documents, students learn the scope of the FBI’s COINTELPRO campaign to spy on, infiltrate, discredit, and disrupt all corners of the Black Freedom Movement.
Time Periods: 20th Century, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, Post-Civil Rights Era: 1975 - 2000
Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Democracy & Citizenship, Organizing, Racism & Racial Identity
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‘If There Is No Struggle…’: Teaching a People’s History of the Abolition Movement

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. 16 pages. In this role play, students become members of the American Anti-Slavery Society, facing many of the real challenges to ending slavery.
Time Periods: 19th Century, Early 19th Century: 1800 - 1849, Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864
Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Democracy & Citizenship, Laws & Citizen Rights, Organizing, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery
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The Other Internment: Teaching the Hidden Story of Japanese Latin Americans During WWII

Teaching Activity. By Moé Yonamine. 18 pages. Poetry, photography, and text are used in this role play to teach about the seldom told history of Japanese Latin American internment during WWII.
Time Periods: 20th Century, Prosperity, Depression, & World War II: 1920 - 1944
Themes: Asian American, Civil Rights Movements, Democracy & Citizenship, Immigration, Laws & Citizen Rights, Racism & Racial Identity, US Foreign Policy, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements, World History/Global Studies
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A Revolution of Values (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

A Revolution of Values

Teaching Activity. By Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 3 pages. Text of speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the Vietnam War, followed by three teaching ideas.
Time Periods: 20th Century, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974
Themes: Civil Rights Movements, Imperialism, US Foreign Policy, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements
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Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton | Zinn Education Project

Seneca Falls, 1848: Women Organize for Equality

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. A role play allows students to examine issues of race and class when exploring both the accomplishments and limitations of the Seneca Falls Convention.
Time Periods: 19th Century, Early 19th Century: 1800 - 1849
Themes: Civil Rights Movements, Democracy & Citizenship, Laws & Citizen Rights, Organizing, Women's History
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Stepping into Selma: Voting Rights History and Legacy Today (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

Stepping into Selma: Voting Rights History and Legacy Today

Teaching Activity. Teaching for Change. 2015. Introductory lesson on key people and events in the long history of the Selma freedom movement.
Time Periods: 20th Century, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974
Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Democracy & Citizenship, Organizing, Social Class
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Teaching SNCC: The Organization at the Heart of the Civil Rights Revolution

Teaching Activity. By Adam Sanchez. 24 pages. A series of role plays that explore the history and evolution of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.
Time Periods: 20th Century, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, Post-Civil Rights Era: 1975 - 2000
Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Democracy & Citizenship, Organizing, Racism & Racial Identity, Social Class, Women's History
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Daisy Bates, Little Rock 9, and NAACP officers | Zinn Education Project

Warriors Don’t Cry: Connecting History, Literature, and Our Lives

Teaching Activity. By Linda Christensen. Role play and writing activities for language arts and social studies on the Little Rock Nine, Brown v. Board, and schooling in general. Designed for use with the memoir Warriors Don’t Cry.
Time Periods: 20th Century, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974
Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Education, Language Arts, Racism & Racial Identity
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We Had Set Ourselves Free’: Lessons on the Civil Rights Movement (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

‘We Had Set Ourselves Free’: Lessons on the Civil Rights Movement

Teaching Activity. By Doug Sherman. The author describes how he uses biographies and film to introduce students to the role of people involved in the Civil Rights Movement beyond the familiar heroes. He emphasizes the role and experiences of young people in the Movement.
Time Periods: 20th Century, Cold War: 1945 - 1960, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974
Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Organizing, Racism & Racial Identity
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Teaching with the Black Panthers’ Ten Point Program (Lesson) | Zinn Education Project

‘What We Want, What We Believe’: Teaching with the Black Panthers’ Ten Point Program

Teaching Activity. By Wayne Au. 7 pages. The author describes how he used a study of the Black Panther's Ten Point Program to help students assess issues in their own communities and to develop Ten Point Programs of their own. Available in Spanish.
Time Periods: 20th Century, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974
Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Organizing, Racism & Racial Identity
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The Black Upsurge Against Racial Segregation

Teaching Activity. By Tasha Boettcher. Questions and teaching ideas for Chapter 17 of Voices of a People's History of the United States on the long Civil Rights Movement in America.
Time Periods: 20th Century, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974
Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Laws & Citizen Rights, Racism & Racial Identity, Social Class
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Hidden in Plain Sight: Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Radical Vision (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

Hidden in Plain Sight: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Radical Vision

Teaching Activity. By Craig Gordon, Urban Dreams, and the Martin Luther King Jr. Papers Project. 2003, updated in 2017. Lesson to introduce students to the speeches and work of Dr. King beyond "I have a dream."
Time Periods: 20th Century, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974
Themes: Civil Rights Movements, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements
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