Civil Rights Teaching
Our civil rights teaching goes beyond the heroes approach to the Civil Rights Movement.
As one of the most commonly taught stories of people’s struggles for social justice, the Civil Rights Movement has the capacity to help students develop a critical analysis of United States history and strategies for change. However, the empowering potential is often lost in a trivial pursuit of names and dates.
Putting the Movement Back into Civil Rights Teaching, published by Teaching for Change and Poverty & Race Research Action Council (PRRAC), provides lessons and articles for pre-K-12 educators on how to go beyond a heroes approach to the Civil Rights Movement. Putting the Movement Back into Civil Rights Teaching received the 2004 Philip C. Chinn Book of the Year Award from the National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME) and won Honorable Mention in the Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award.
The Putting the Movement Back into Civil Rights Teaching companion website, civilrightsteaching.org, offers downloadable lessons and handouts for teaching about the Civil Rights Movement.
Teaching for Change has offered workshops, courses, and institutes on the award-winning publication Putting the Movement Back into Civil Rights Teaching for the National Education Association, PBS, school districts, and national conferences. Teaching for Change worked with educators in Mississippi to incorporate lessons on the Civil Rights Movement and labor history in the curriculum. This effort was supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
Too often, the teaching about the modern Civil Rights Movement – as a spontaneous eruption of angry but saintly African Americans led by two or three inspired orators – discounts the origins, the intellect, and the breadth that guided this complex social movement.
To support teaching the modern Civil Rights Movement beyond “I Have a Dream,” Teaching for Change is raising awareness about the 1963 anniversaries that shed light on the “ordinary people” who organized in their communities to struggle for freedom and justice.