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Teaching the Civil Rights Movement

This page offers a wealth of materials to support rich instruction about the Civil Rights Movement, both from national and Oregon perspectives.

Oregon Studies Materials

Senate Bill 739 directed the Oregon Department of Education to develop academic content standards for Oregon Studies and prepare materials to support teacher professional development and classroom instruction in this area. These standards will include a balanced representation of the contribution to society by men and women of African American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian American, and other racial groups in Oregon.

Oregon Historical Society Materials

Oregon Studies - African American lesson plans
These lesson plans provide guidance for instruction to these objectives:

  • Identify the historical experience of African Americans in Portland and Oregon.
  • Identify the legal and governmental actions that affected African American life.
  • Analyze short and long term effects of laws on the African American community.
  • Use primary and secondary source documents to analyze the African American experience.

PDX Scholar Portland State University Library
(Oregon/Portland-specific materials)

Portland area teachers and PSU faculty worked together to create lessons to stretch beyond the usual focus on iconic civil rights events (Montgomery, Little Rock) and explore the specific people, places, and incidents of the Oregon context.

Teaching Tolerance Materials

  • The March Continues: Five Essential Practices for Teaching the Civil Rights Movement

    This is the fourth publication in the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching the Movement initiative. The first three reports focused on state standards. This guide provides practical guidance for classroom teachers.

  • Civil Rights Done Right: A Tool for Teaching the Movement

    This document offers a detailed set of curriculum improvement strategies for classroom instructors who want to apply these practices. In five discrete steps, it provides specific suggestions and procedures for building robust, meaningful lessons that cultivate a deeper understanding of modern civil rights history.

  • Teaching Kit: - A Time for Justice: America’s Civil Rights Movement

    In A Time for Justice, four-time Academy Award-winning filmmaker Charles Guggenheim captured the spirit of the civil rights movement through historical footage and the voices of those who participated in the struggle. Narrated by Julian Bond and featuring John Lewis, the 38-minute film allows today’s generation of students to witness firsthand the movement’s most dramatic moments - the bus boycott in Montgomery, the school crisis in Little Rock, the violence in Birmingham and the triumphant 1965 march for voting rights.

  • Order Free Teaching Kits:
  • Beyond the Bus: Teaching the Unseen Story of Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott

    Beyond the Bus, a special publication of the Teaching the Movement brings together key elements from several resources Teaching Tolerance has developed to help educators recognize and fill instructional gaps when teaching about the civil rights movement. The Montgomery Bus Boycott offers a special opportunity to teach about the individuals who acted collectively alongside Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, and about how activists organize and operate, so that students, too, can work collectively with their peers. This means that discussions about Rosa Parks must acknowledge the activists who were arrested before her and the grassroots efforts that mobilized the community to boycott after her arrest. Giving students the whole story, provides a way for them to connect the past to the present and continue the march toward racial justice.

PBS Materials

The Civil Rights Movement: A Time for Change - Lesson Plan
To understand the enormity of the famous March on Washington, we compiled a timeline of major civil rights events in the 100 years leading up to August 20, 1963. This timeline of the history of the Civil Rights Movement does not include every event, but attempts to capture those that exemplify the long struggle for equality that so many fought so hard for, and many gave their lives to see realized. The interactive nature of the timeline allows for students and teachers to learn more about these historic events through both text and video.

New York Times Learning Network

How Do You Teach the Civil Rights Movement?
This is a compilation of ideas from educators across the country.

Library of Congress Materials

This is a collection of themed resources related to civil rights.

Rethinking Schools Materials: (may require subscription to access archives and web materials)

Articles and lesson plans here relate to the themes of civil rights and social justice.

The Heritage Institute Course Syllabus

Civil Rights Movement in Film and Literature

Other Resources

The National Association for Multicultural Education
The NAME Multicultural Learning section goes beyond definitions of multicultural education, and focuses on specifics of student learning and classroom practice.

Teaching with Purpose