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Great Sites for Teaching About ... Civil Rights

Great Sites Center

Each week, the Education World Great Sites for Teaching About ... page highlights Web sites to help educators work timely themes into their lessons. Falling in May are the anniversaries of the Freedom Rides and the Brown v. the Board of Education decision ending segregation in public schools. Check out some great sites for integrating civil rights into your curriculum.

  1. African American Odyssey: The Civil Rights Era
    This two-part Library of Congress presentation covers significant events in the fight for equality for African American citizens, with quality images and succinctly detailed accounts that are ready to use in the classroom. Here, your students can read about President Truman's ending military segregation, Daisy Bates and the Little Rock Nine, the Greensboro lunch counter sit-in, the 1963 march on Washington, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Visitors must scroll quite a bit, but the site creates the effect of a vertical time line. Through this site, students get a panoramic view of how so many figures and events helped turn the tide against discrimination and inequality in the last century.

  2. Civil Rights
    Lee Schneider and students from Stoughton (Mass.) High School designed this Web site on the civil rights movement, from the Montgomery bus boycott and Brown v. the Board of Education through a look at Malcolm X. Of particular interest is the section on Preconditions for Racial Change, which presents the historical context for the emerging civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. The section covers White Supremacy, Tiger Woods, a review of the movie Amistad. Each section is well thought-out and nicely illustrated with captions and avoids biases and propaganda.

  3. Civil Rights: A Status Report
    Kevin Hollaway presents a contemporary black perspective on the history of African Americans and the current status of civil rights. Beginning with Columbus and the settlement of Jamestown, Hollaway weaves a tapestry of America's conscience about slavery from early Christian colonies through the Civil War and the subsequent civil rights movement. In each section, he presents information even-handedly and with historical accuracy. Teachers can use this site both to trace the evolution of civil rights in our country and to filter our history through the lens of the African American perspective.

  4. Civil Rights Law and History
    Who better than the U.S. Department of Justice to present your students with the details of civil rights laws and enforcement? Sections include Criminal Civil Rights Enforcement, Public Accommodations and Facilities, Education, Employment, Voting, and Housing. To put the situations and times in context for students, the site offers such examples as Cesar Chavez and his efforts to bring attention to migrant farmworkers and the voting conditions in 1965 Selma, Ala. The section Americans with Disabilities Act discusses this most recent civil rights law. The Department of Justice Kid's Page offers lots more educational materials for students of all ages.

  5. The Civil Rights Trail: Then and Now
    The Miami Herald provides this impressively designed site celebrating the achievements of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The site offers an interactive map showing the major cities where King left his mark. Using either the JavaScript or HTML version of the map, students can compare the significant events that happened in each city in King's lifetime with events of each location today. For example, for Memphis, the site explains that the Lorraine Motel was the site where James Earl Ray assassinated King in 1968 and is now the National Civil Rights Museum. The site also includes QuickTime movie clips, so make sure you have your plug-in ready before visiting with students!

  6. Greensboro Sit-Ins: Launch of a Civil Rights Movement
    This Web site traces the spark ignited by the original Greensboro Four in 1960 and the subsequent events leading to passage of the Civil Rights Act. The Greensboro Depot and the local public library present this extensive collection of images, audio clips, and resources, including a time line with historic photos, stories, and pictures from the Greensboro News & Record archives and an electronic bulletin board where students can share their perceptions and links to other online civil rights resources. Full of primary sources and multimedia treasures, this site will immerse your students in events captured in time. Audio clips require RealPlayer, so be sure you have it installed before using the site with your class.

  7. Photo Tour of the Civil Rights Movement
    The Seattle Times hosts this archive of digital images from the civil rights era. Visitors can choose either a photo tour that plays like a captioned slide show or an image index that allows visitors to peruse the collection as a kind of a visual digital time line. The section Martin Luther King Jr. includes an interactive classroom section with a quiz, a study guide, and an archive of student essays. This site can be adapted for all grade levels but is best suited for middle schoolers.

  8. Powerful Days
    Nothing helped fuel Americans' demand for civil rights legislation like the images that spilled into homes through the media in the 1960s. This site celebrates the photography of Charles Moore during that era. Designed by John Kaplan of Ohio University, the site displays photos showing unrest in Birmingham, as well as the Freedom Marches, the Ku Klux Klan, voter registration in the South, Martin Luther King and his efforts to resist the oppression of bigotry and hatred, and Ole Miss when James Meridith registered to attend the university. Given the graphic content of some photos, this site is best suited for secondary students.

  9. Stand Up for Your Rights
    PBS presents this kid-centered look at religious freedom, woman suffrage, and school desegregation through the common theme of civil rights. In Women and the Vote, students will read about Alice Paul and the National Women's Party and their hunger strikes to call attention to women's right to vote. Religious Freedom examines the trial of Anne Huchinson in 1637 for expressing religious beliefs. And the story of the Little Rock Nine as they broke through lines of resistance to claim their right to a quality public education is described in School Desegregation. Other special features of the site include interviews, photos, and activities that expand on the site's content to enrich student learning.

  10. The Whole World Was Watching
    Subtitled "An oral history of the summer of 1968," this Brown University Web site describes the passions and tensions that spilled out into the streets in the months after Martin Luther King's assassination. Narrators presents the stories written by students from Rhode Island's South Kingstown High School based on interviews they conducted with more than 30 people of their memories of that long, hot summer. Issues covered in the interviews include Civil Rights, United States Politics, The Vietnam War, and Women's Issues. A month-by-month time line, a glossary, and a bibliography help round out this rich collection of materials.

Article by Walter McKenzie
Education World®
Copyright © 2001 Education World



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