Taking a Stand for the Good of Others

9, 10, 11, 12

 Students read about Rosa Parks and evaluate how her protest of an unjust and unfair situation was philanthropic in nature. Students analyze violent situations and propose nonviolent solutions. They learn that there are 198 methods of non-violent protests that can be used to fight injustice.

PrintOne 50 minute class period

The learner will:

  • identify and describe the contribution Rosa Parks made during the civil rights movement.
  • analyze the various methods of non-violent protests and propose nonviolent solutions to difficult situations from history.
  • internalize that acts of non-violent resistance are forms of philanthropy.
Home Connection 

Students interview the older members of their family or extended family about their memories of the Civil Rights Movements and non-violent protests that occurred from the 1950s-1970s.


Curating and Preserving the Rosa Parks Bus, The Henry Ford, www.thehenryford.org/explore/inside/rosa-parks-bus/.

Kelley, Robin D. G. Race Rebels: Culture, Politics, and the Black Working Class. New York: Free Press, Distributed by Simon & Schuster, 1996. ISBN 0-684-82639-


  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. Issue to students the list of 198 Non-Violent Protests (link above) and ask them to scan the list to find the technique Rosa Parks used. Then have them peruse the list and mark the methods they know about. Ask students to raise their hands to tell methods they don’t know. Make a note of those unfamiliar ones.

    An optional homework/extension activity is to have the students research an unfamiliar method on their own and present a description to the class with documentation of their sources.

    Another option is to prompt them with a question to which they respond in writing:

    • “Which of these methods do you feel is most effective to create change?”
    • “Which of these methods were used by Civil Rights leaders that you’ve learned about in history?”
  3. Divide the class into five groups. Assign each group a scenario from the handout below. The scenario shows an example of the growing tension on the buses and trains before the Montgomery bus boycott. Ask each group to read their scenario and answer the related questions through discussion. It is up to the teacher whether each student writes (for a grade) or one student records.

    Tell them to discuss how their scenario relates to the Rosa Parks quote on the board.

  4. After ten minutes, have a leader from each group read their group’s scenario aloud to the class and then share key ideas from their worksheet. Each presentation should be no more than two or three minutes in length. Have the learners share how this relates to the Rosa Parks quote on the display board.

  5. 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." Talk about social action as philanthropy.

    Discuss with them how non-violent protests result in making life better for oppressed individuals. In other words, the protesters are giving of their time and talents to enact change. Also discuss how students can promote justice and kindness in a nonviolent way. How can they as "average citizens" help promote the common good?

  6. End class with this discussion, or collect the sheets as an assessment grade, or provide a further assessment, if the teacher opts to give one to the students.


Teachers can give students participation grades for their involvement. Another option would be to give the worksheet out as a written assignment that is turned in at the end of the hour. An additional writing can be provided where students answer this question: "'Why do you think history considers Rosa Parks' action an act of philanthropy?"

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.