January 20, 2021

Civil Rights

Maria Fernanda Martinez

A completely non-exhaustive resource guide for learning about and teaching Black History.

  1. On the importance of teaching history accurately...

2.  For educators "Before You Teach Rosa Parks" by Megan Forbes (@TooCoolForMiddleSchool)

3.  Dr. King's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail". I used this with my students to put into context much of what they will see through media and have seen in their prior classes. Dr. King's legacy has been so whitewashed and softened to fit the white supremacist capitalist endeavors that it is important to remind students of what he really stood for.

4. Interview with Claudette Colvin (primary source) that is a great starting point for discussing some of the issues with the Civil Rights Movement. Claudette Colvin refused to give up her seat before Rosa Parks, but was not considered "the right face" for the movement because she was darker skinned, young, pregnant, and unwed.

5. "The Ballot or The Bullet" a speech by Malcolm X is crucial for showing students that there were multiple perspectives and approaches to achieving freedom and liberation. So many themes still ring true today. Though this may have to be edited for classroom use, I think all educators should take the time to listen to the whole speech!

6. SNCC's Legacy video via CNN is a good overview of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee and young people's influence on the Civil Rights Movement. There are depictions and discussion of violence that can be appropriate to show older students with adequate content warning and preparation.

7. "Say it Loud" (I'm Black & I'm Proud) by James Brown

8. Black America since MLK documentary by PBS is helpful to remind students that Black History does not end with Dr. King. There are some depictions and discussions of violence so definitely exercise discretion and provide content warnings for your students if you choose to share.


9. "Black Panthers White Lies" TedX talk by Curtis Austin, describes his journey researching the Black Panthers, provides an overview of the most successful elements of the BPP, as well as explains the backlash and outcry against the party by white America.

10. And last but not least, it is important to emphasize that not all Black History is about struggle. This is a YouTube Channel that addresses that but I also suggest doing further research on institutions and spaces like HBCU's.

Bonus for educators: Ava Duvernay's "13th" documentary available on Netflix. It is a great film that connects history to present day issues.

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