Civil Rights Movement

Examine collections of the Museum's key resources on major themes in American history and social studies teaching.  Additional resources can be found in the main search areas of the website.

Greensboro lunch counter

Civil Rights Movement

Explore the Woolworth’s lunch counter sit-ins in Greensboro, the Freedom Rides, and other events of the civil rights movement through lessons, videos, and activities.

Preparing for the Oath: Rights

Grade Range: 4-12
Resource Type(s): Interactives & Media, Lessons & Activities
Duration: 9 Minutes
Date Posted: 3/1/2012

Learn more about the rights of Americans through short videos, mini-activities, and practice questions in this segment of Preparing for the Oath: U.S. History and Civics for Citizenship. The nine questions included in this segment cover topics such as freedoms in the Constitution, the Civil Rights Movement, and rights to participate in government.

This site was designed with the needs of recent immigrants in mind. It is written at a “low-intermediate” ESL level.

Brown v. Board of Education Electronic Field Trips

Grade Range: 6-12
Resource Type(s): Interactives & Media
Duration: 50 Minutes
Date Posted: 7/7/2008

In these electronic field trips produced by the National Museum of American History, viewers are given a 20 minute tour by the curators of the exhibition Separate Is Not Equal: Brown v. Board of Education, followed by a 30 minute videotaped question and answer session about the Brown v. Board of Education case and its legacy.

National Youth Summit: Freedom Rides

Grade Range: 9-12
Resource Type(s): Primary Source, Interactives & Media
Duration: 98 Minutes
Date Posted: 3/1/2011

In this webcast, students will hear from Freedom Rides veterans Congressman John Lewis, Jim Zwerg, Rev. James Lawson, and Diane Nash, and view clips from the PBS American Experience documentary Freedom Riders.  The site includes a teachers guide and the webcast included questions from students at five locations across the country. 

History Explorer Podcast: Freedom Songs

Grade Range: 6-12
Resource Type(s): Interactives & Media, Worksheets
Duration: 19 Minutes
Date Posted: 2/15/2011

In this episode of the History Explorer podcast series, Christopher Wilson, Director of the Program in African American Culture, discusses the use of freedom songs during the civil rights movement and how they are incorporated into public programs on the museum floor.  The resources include a teachers guide and student worksheet. 

History Explorer Podcast: Martha Prescott Norman

Grade Range: 6-12
Resource Type(s): Interactives & Media
Duration: 15 Minutes
Date Posted: 9/30/2013

In this episode of the History Explorer podcast series, civil rights activist Martha Prescott Norman discusses her decision to join the civil rights movement against the wishes of her parents, and her experiences in the movement, including during Mississippi Freedom Summer in 1964.

March on Washington DBQ

Grade Range: 9-12
Resource Type(s): Lessons & Activities, Worksheets
Date Posted: 10/24/2013

Using documents and historical background from the exhibition Changing America: Emancipation Proclamation 1863, March on Washington 1963, students will develop an argument around the following question: 

Scholars of the modern civil rights movement have debated the relative importance of grassroots organizing and so-called ‘charismatic leaders’ in the movement.  Is the March on Washington evidence of the power of grassroots organizing or of charismatic leadership?

A guide for teachers is available here

Youth Town Hall with the Greensboro Civil Rights Pioneers: Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Woolworth Lunch Counter Student Sit-In (Lecture Video)

Grade Range: 7-12
Resource Type(s): Interactives & Media, Primary Source
Duration: 98 Minutes
Date Posted: 2/12/2010

During this 98-minute archived webcast, hear three members of the Greensboro Four reflect on their experiences as nonviolent protesters during the civil rights movement. The three surviving members of the Greensboro Four, Jibreel Khazan (formerly Ezell Blair, Jr.), Franklin McCain, and Joseph McNeil participated in an oral history. Their bold action ignited student involvement in the Civil Rights Movement when they staged a sit-in at the Woolworth lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina on February 1, 1960.

Students Sit for Civil Rights Homepage

Grade Range: K-4
Resource Type(s): Lessons & Activities, Reference Materials
Date Posted: 4/2/2009

Students Sit for Civil Rights is an OurStory module that includes activities based on reading Freedom on the Menu, a work of children's literature about the Greensboro sit-ins that played an important role during the civil rights movement. OurStory is a series of modules designed  to help children and adults enjoy exploring history together through the use of objects from the Museum's vast collections, quality children's literature, and engaging hands-on activities. Ideal for afterschool use, OurStory resources allow students to think critically, to be creative, and to achieve academic standards both in and out of the classroom.

Join the Student Sit-Ins Classroom Videos

Grade Range: 5-12
Resource Type(s): Interactives & Media
Duration: 22 Minutes
Date Posted: 1/25/2010

In this series of five short videos, students can watch a museum  theater presentation. During the presentation, a fictional composite character from 1960 is conducting a training session for people interested in joining a student sit-in to protest racial segregation. The student speaks about the recent protests in Greensboro, North Carolina, and coaches members of the audience in the philosophy and tactics of non-violent direct action.

Freedom on the Menu: The Greensboro Sit-Ins

Author: Carole Boston Weatherford
Reading Level: Early Elementary School, Late Elementary School
Genre: Fiction

Connie, a fictional young girl, witnesses the student sit-ins at the lunchcounter in Greensboror, North Carolina. Her family is involved in...

Freedom Summer

Author: Deborah Wiles
Reading Level: Late Elementary School, Middle School
Genre: Fiction
Awards: Coretta Scott King Award

Best friends, one black one white, experience the negatives of segregation during summer vacation when they are prohibited from doing what...

Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Author: Doreen Rappaport
Reading Level: Late Elementary School, Middle School
Genre: Non Fiction
Awards: Caldecott, Coretta Scott King Award

An illustrated biography and chronology of Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement era.

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