Three Forty-Minute Class Periods
The learners will:
Play a recording of the song, “We Shall Overcome,” as students are entering the classroom. You may dim the lights to focus students’ attention on the thoughtful and sincere meaning of the text. When all students are quiet, seated, and the recording ends, ask if the learners have heard the song and if so, what they know about the song.
Have students explore who they know or someone in the community who was active in the Civil Rights Movement. They may interview senior citizens or other individuals in the community to hear first-hand accounts of their interactions with protests and advocacy.
Ask the students to talk to their parents and grandparents or other adult about the Civil Rights Era. How old were they at the time? Were they actively involved in any part of the movement? What were their thoughts, concerns, fears, etc.? What do they remember about the slave, folk, gospel and “freedom songs” such as We Shall Overcome and Blowin’ in the Wind? Do they remember any songs from this era that they can share? If they were activists during this era, would they be willing to share their experiences with the class? (As a teacher, make sure you speak and/or meet with the presenter before he/she speaks to the class. Make sure all information is appropriate and informative. Make sure you follow-up this visit with a “thank you” from the class.)
Find a teacher, a community leader or a local minister who was actively involved during the Civil Rights Era. Ask him/her to speak to your class.
MLK Web: A Teacher’s Guide to Martin Luther King, Jr. on the Web http://blackhistory.50webs.com/martinlutherking.html
Lesson Developed By:Elizabeth Wright
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