Taking a Stand for the Good of Others (12th Grade)

9, 10, 11, 12

 Students read about Rosa Parks and her philanthropic act in the form of protesting an unjust/unfair situation. Students analyze violent situations and propose nonviolent solutions.

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne 50 minute class period

The learner will:

  • identify and describe the contribution Rosa Parks made during the civil rights movement.
  • propose nonviolent solutions to difficult situations from history.
  • identify how an act of resistance can be a form of philanthropy.
  • brainstorm ways that an "average citizen" can work to promote justice and kindness in the school/community.
Home Connection 

Students interview the older members of their family or extended family about their memories and understanding of the significance of Rosa Parks' refusal to give up her seat on the bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Students write an essay about the bus incident and boycott from the perspective of the person they interview.


 Reflect on whether an average citizen is a philanthropist.



  1. Teacher Note: Before students arrive, write the following quote on the display board: "I'm just an average citizen. Many black people before me were arrested for defying bus laws. They prepared the way." --Rosa Parks

    Anticipatory Set: As the learners enter the classroom, have a picture of Rosa Parks on display. Ask the learners to identify the person in the picture and share what they know of her and the impact her life had on American history.

  2. If the students don't have background information about Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott, display or pass out copies of a relevant article found in the Alabama Department of Archives and History at https://archives.alabama.gov/. (Search for "Bus Boycott.") Have the learners scan the article and highlight key events in the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Ask students to briefly recall the order of events for the whole class.

  3. Display on the overhead projector a primary source historical document by Martin Luther King, Jr. from the Alabama Department of Archives and History. http://www.archives.state.al.us/teacher/rights/lesson1/doc7.html This typed list tells blacks how to act in a nonviolent manner as they sit down on the bus after the bus boycott is over and the law says they can sit anywhere on the bus.

  4. Then divide the class into five groups. Give each group a scenario showing the tension on the buses and trains before the Montgomery bus boycott. (See Handout One: Five Scenarios.) Ask each group to read their scenario and analyze (using Handout Two: Questions for Discussion) how the scene could have been diffused nonviolently.

  5. After ten minutes, have a member from each group read their group’s scenario aloud to the class and then share the information on their worksheet. Each presentation should be no more than two or three minutes in length.

  6. Have the learners share how what they have read and heard relates to the Rosa Parks quote on the display board.

  7. Write the word philanthropy on the display board and encourage the learners to share what they know about the meaning of this word. Summarize their contributions by defining philanthropy as "giving time, talent, or treasure for the sake of another or for the common good."

  8. Lead a class discussion focused on the question, "'Why do you think history considers Rosa Parks' action an act of philanthropy?"

  9. Brainstorm ideas about how students can promote justice and kindness in a nonviolent way and through inaction. Discuss possible projects for a service event. How can they as "average citizens" help promote the common good?


The assessment focuses lesson focuses on the learner's involvement in whole and small group discussions.

Cross Curriculum 

Students promote justice and kindness in a nonviolent way as a service project that addresses a need for change.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Define philanthropy to include giving and sharing; volunteering; and private individual action intended for the common good. Explain how a volunteer individual/group can act for the common good.
      2. Benchmark HS.2 Identify and discuss examples of philanthropy and charity in modern culture.
    2. Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.2 Provide examples from history of how the relationship between government and the civil society sector has changed.
      2. Benchmark HS.6 Describe how the civil society sector is often the origin of new ideas, projects and innovation and social renewal.
      3. Benchmark HS.7 Describe how the civil society sector provides mediation for individuals and governments.
    3. Standard DP 03. Names and Types of Organizations within the Civil Society Sector
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Recognize and use a variety of terms related to the civil society sector appropriately, and identify the characteristics the terms describe.
    4. Standard DP 06. Role of Family in Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.3 Identify how subgroups and families in society demonstrate giving, volunteering, and civic involvement.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark HS.2 Discuss and give examples of why some humans will sacrifice for the benefit of unknown others.
      2. Benchmark HS.3 Give examples of human interdependence and explain why group formation is one strategy for survival.
      3. Benchmark HS.4 Describe and give examples of characteristics of someone who helps others.
      4. Benchmark HS.5 Describe civil society advocacy organizations and their relationship to human rights.
    2. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark HS.2 Give examples from history of how intolerance of ideas, religion, and minorities contributed to social disintegration.
      2. Benchmark HS.5 Describe how women and minority groups have used the civil society sector as an alternative power structure.
      3. Benchmark HS.7 Identify and give examples of the important roles women and minorities have played in the civil society sector in history.
    3. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark HS.10 Discuss the results of private citizen voluntary action intended for the common good on public policy changes.
      2. Benchmark HS.12 Explain why private action is important to the protection of minority voices.
    4. Standard PCS 06. Philanthropy in History
      1. Benchmark HS.2 Give an example of individual philanthropic action that influenced national or world history.
      2. Benchmark HS.3 Describe important events in the growth and maturation of the civil-society sector in the nation and world.
      3. Benchmark HS.5 Identify positive philanthropic historic acts or events that helped build the community, state, and nation.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Define and give examples of motivations for giving and serving.
      2. Benchmark HS.10 Identify reasons why historic figures acted for the common good.
      3. Benchmark HS.4 Cite historical examples of citizen actions that affected the common good.
      4. Benchmark HS.9 Describe the concept of volunteerism in different world cultures.