Connecting Students With Freedom Movement Veterans
Links to Additional Teacher Resources
The Civil Rights Movement — the "Freedom Movement" — was above all a mass peoples' movement for social justice. A movement of people nationwide coming together to change their lives for themselves. But too often that central fact has been discounted or omitted by commercial textbooks and teaching guides that present a narrative focused only on a benevolent court ruling in 1954, a couple of iconic leaders, a handful of famous protests in a few well-known places, some tragic martyrs, and the gracious largess of magnanimous legislators.
This page of resources is for teachers interested in digging deeper, teachers who want to present the Freedom Movement as an example of how social change in America can be, and historically has been, forced up from the bottom of society. It's a page for teachers who want to help their students understand the Civil Rights Movement from the inside out by exploring the words and thoughts, fears and triumphs of those who themselves lived the history as they made it.
Deborah Menkart, Teaching For Change:
In my work teaching about and developing lessons on the modern Civil Rights Movement for grades 7+, I rely on the CRMVet website for primary documents, photos, analysis, updates on veterans, timelines, and more. It is by far the best online archive on the Southern freedom movement.
Reading the primary documents dispels myths about the movement and captures students' attention. The primary documents include daily logs that paint a vivid picture of the violence against voting rights activists; letters that reveal disagreements among organizers; and reports that highlight challenges the organizers had to face such as transporting and housing volunteers, communications, and fundraising.
I appreciate the careful vetting of the site content by veterans of the southern freedom movement who are committed to having the history told accurately and thoroughly. I highly recommend crmvet.org for teachers and students alike. It will transform your own understanding of Civil Rights Movement history and as a result, it will also transform your teaching of this history.
Connecting students with living women and men who participated in the Civil Rights Movement brings that history to life in a way that no textbook can. Students can interact with veterans via class visit, remote access, or email.
Lessons From the Southern Freedom Struggle: Movement veterans discuss
teacher questions in an online webinar hosted by U.C. Berkeley. August
What would you want students to know about the southern freedom movement?
What do you want students to know about how change making occurs?
Session #1, Session #2,
Transcript: Questions From Teachers: A Discussion by Freedom Movement veterans, 2020
Freedom Summer course syllabus, Dr. Nicole Burrowes & Dr. La TaSha
PDF Version Word Version (editable)
Civil Rights 2nd Grade Activities, Jessie Le Grand, teacher at Cascade Heights Public Charter School in Clackamas, Oregon.
Teacher Recommendations about this CRMVet website from Civil Rights Teaching.
In addition to the original source materials on this website and the SNCC Digital Gateway, the following provide bottom-up and inside-out teaching guides and lesson plans about the Civil Rights Movement:
"We Had Set Ourselves Free"
Black Upsurge Against Racial Segregation
"A School Year Like No Other"
Warriors Don't Cry
Claiming & Teaching the 1963 March on Washington
Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)
March on Washington Online Teaching Quiz
Bus Boycott: Historical Documents
Expanding Voting Rights
Critiquing the Traditional Narrative
Desegregation (Sit-ins, Buses, Schools)
Ruby Bridges, grades: K-2 (New Orleans school integration)
Lesson Plan: Teaching Nonviolent Direct Action through Children's Literature, grades: K-5
The Power of Freedom, grades: 6-12 (Martin Luther King & Nonviolence)
Nonviolent Resistance, grades: 6-12 (Nonviolence)
Young People Working for Justice, grades: 6-12 (Role of youth in the CRM)
Suffering, Hope, and the Future, grades: 6-12 (Honoring social justice activists)
Martin Luther King & Malcolm X: A Common Solution? grades: 6-12
Civil Rights or Human Rights?, grades: 6-12 (America & South Africa)
Observing Human Rights Day, grades: 6-12
Montgomery Bus Boycott, grades: 6-12
The Children's Crusade & the Role of Youth (Birmingham), grades: 6-12
Letter From Birmingham Jail, grades: 6-12
Lessons Mississippi Summer Institute (Tougaloo College)
Correct(Ed) Teaching the Civil Rights Movement (Jim Loewen~Tougaloo College)
Let Justice Roll Down: CRM Through Film (Yale Teachers Institute)
Oh Freedom! Teaching African American Civil Rights Through Art (Smithsonian)
Teaching the Montgomery Bus Boycott: 50 Years Later (Civil Rights Teaching)
Teaching the Movement, Miriam Cohen Glickman, SNCC (1967)