For Teachers

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.

Teacher Recommendations about this CRMVet website from Civil Rights Teaching

Teacher Resources about the Southern Freedom Movement

Connecting Students With Freedom Movement Veterans


Resources: History From the Bottom Up and the Inside Out

In addition to the original source materials on this website and the SNCC Digital Gateway, the following organizations provide bottom up and inside out teaching guides and lesson plans:

Teaching for Change~Zinn Education Project

"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)

Teaching Tolerance ~ SPLC

March on Washington Online Teaching Quiz
Bus Boycott: Historical Documents
Expanding Voting Rights

Civil Rights Teaching

Critiquing the Traditional Narrative
Desegregation (Sit-ins, Buses, Schools)
Voting Rights

Liberation Curriculum ~ MLK Research & Education Project (Stanford Univ.)

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

Additional Resources

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)


Connecting Students With Freedom Movement Veterans

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.

Listing of available veterans by state
Thank You Mr. Bridgeforth, example responses by elementary school students to a classroom visit
Example responses by middle school students to a classroom visit
Typical questions students ask
Preparing students for a class visit

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