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The Civil Rights Movement

Ohio Content Standards: Grade 10,
History 14; Grade 11, People in Societies 1; Grade 10, Government 1; Grade 10,
Citizenship Rights and Responsibilities 4

Duration of Lesson: One to two classes

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will be able to understand and analyze the
    tensions that existed in American society during the Civil Rights Era.
  • Students will be able to understand the problems that
    children experienced during the Civil Rights Era.

Summary: Students use editorial cartons dealing with
the American Civil Rights movement in order to determine some of the major
aspects of this social movement. They will discuss a pair of cartoons in
groups and present their findings to the class.


Pre-Assessment: Using cartoon number seven, lead a
discussion dealing with the American social and political scenes of the
1960's. Have students interpret cartoon seven and discuss how the Vietnam War
and the Civil Rights Movement related to or affected each other.

Instructional Steps:

  1. Complete
    pre-assessment activity
  2. Break
    students into groups of 3-5.
  3. Distribute to
    students copies of cartoons 1-7.
  4. Assign each
    group a pair of cartoons that share a common theme or idea associated with the
    civil rights movement. 1 and 2 - education, 4 and 5 - extremism, 3 and 6 civil
    rights legislation.
  5. Groups will
    discuss and evaluate the cartoons' imagery. If necessary use the following
    questions to guide the students during group work: What characters do you see
    in these cartoons? What symbols are used and what do they represent? Describe
    the action taking place in the cartoons. Explain the intended message of the
    artist and his/her ability to effectively portray this message.
  6. Each group
    should also attempt to determine what the common theme is among their cartoons.
  7. Groups will present
    their analysis to the class.

Post-Assessment: Use the following questions to
determine if students learned the desired content for this lesson:

  • What are the long standing effects of the American Civil
    Rights movement?
  • How are you affected by this social movement today?
  • Is the civil rights movement dead, or is it an ongoing

Extension Activities:

  • After students have determined and discussed their
    cartoons common theme with the class and teacher they can research
    important figures in the Civil Rights movement. Once they have found an
    individual with particular importance to their issue, students should write
    a brief essay on this individual and how he/she affected the issue at

"Somebody Had Better Apply the Breaks!"

"…It Was Against the Rule"

"Daredevil Lyndon Johnson"

"Marching Together"

"Getting Ready for School…1969"

"Literacy Test"

"A Letter from the Front"