Taking Action: Then and Now

  • Looking at Ferguson - A Youth Conversation

    This is a guide for how high school teachers can begin a productive conversation with their students around the events in Ferguson. High school students will likely have strong feelings about Ferguson, and they are equipped to address broader philosophical questions about the nature of protest, the social contract and ethical leadership. Teachers can provide an open forum for students to share their own experiences. Using that conversation, teachers can then ask students to imagine how to be good citizens and leaders in their own community. We thank PBS NewsHour for providing resources to begin the classroom discussion about Ferguson.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • Youth Explain Why They March in the Current Protests

    Hear from young activists why they peacefully protest with this video and educational materials from PBS NewsHour from December 8, 2014.

    Grades: 7-12
  • African American History Since the Civil Rights Movement | The African Americans

    In this media gallery, you will find a series of videos from The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross that examines the major movements and turning points in African American history from 1968 to the present, including the Black Panthers and the Black Power movement, Afrocentricity in culture, the rise of the black middle class, the development of hip hop culture, the effects of the War on Drugs, and the election of Barack Obama. As you view the videos, consider the legacy of the civil rights movement, the tensions that emerged from the progress made, and how they reshaped the African American experience.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Student Protests Result in University President’s Resignation | PBS NewsHour

    Learn about the University of Missouri's president's resignation amid protests over the university’s handling of racial discrimination on campus with this video and educational resources from PBS NewsHour from November 9, 2015.

    Grades: 7-12
  • Not in Our Town

    Not In Our Town highlights communities working together to stop hate. The videos and connected lesson guides and activities highlight and celebrate people who have developed creative anti-bias programs and responses. 

    Grades: 6-13+
  • 1964 Freedom Summer: Changing the Status Quo in the Civil Rights Movement

    Learn about Ben Affleck’s mother’s involvement in Freedom Summer and her experiences as a civil rights activist in this video from Finding Your Roots. Explore how she, and other civil rights activists, risked their own lives to fight for freedom for others and challenged the racial status quo during the Civil Rights Movement. The video also describes the horrific lynching of civil rights activists Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, and Michael Schwerner. 

    Grades: 9-12
  • The March Forward | The March @ 50 - Episode 5

    This video clip from The March@50 explores the ways today's generation galvanizes and takes action to defend civil rights and advocate for justice.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Jobs | The March @ 50 - Episode 1

    The 1963 March was billed as a march for “Jobs and Freedom.” With the help of Algernon Austin from the Economic Policy Institute, and a trip to Detroit, MI, a city celebrating the 50th anniversary of its own civil rights march, Shukree Tilghman examines the current state of jobs for African Americans in the US.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Law Student Barack Obama, 1991

    This archival news footage from 1991 shows scenes from a rally held at Harvard Law School at which Barack Obama, a law student at the time and president of the Harvard Law Review, introduces Professor Derrick Bell. Some of the banners in the background read “Harvard Law School on Strike for Diversity,” “Diversity Now,” and “No More Excuses.” In his speech, Professor Bell notes the significance of his appointment two decades earlier as the first tenured African American professor, before chiding the school for its overall “past racist hiring record.”

    This video is primary source footage and has not been extensively edited.

    Grades: 6-12
  • The Most Powerful Instrument

    This video segment from the PBS series Finding Your Roots features Congressman John Lewis’s recollection of the March on Selma. On March 7, 1965 peaceful protestors gathered to fight for African Americans’ right to vote. The group planned on marching from Selma, AL to Montgomery, AL. The protestors were confronted by police who ordered them to disperse. When the protestors asked for a moment to pray, the police advanced. What began as a peaceful protest turned into a violent one—the day is now known as “Bloody Sunday”.

    Grades: 9-12
  • What Was "Freedom Summer"?

    This video from American Experience: “Freedom Summer” introduces the events of 1964, when over 700 students, black and white, came to Mississippi to help black citizens register to vote as well as combat other forms of discrimination, such as inadequate schools and lack of legal aid. Organized by the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), civil rights activists hoped that the participation of well-educated, middle-class students, many from prestigious universities, would not only bring results but draw the attention of the nation to the miserable standard of living suffered by blacks in Mississippi. This resource is part of the American Experience collection.

    Grades: 7-12
  • Freedom Summer: Civil Rights Workers Disappear

    The disappearance of civil rights workers Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, and Michael Schwerner occurred on June 21, at the very beginning of what became known as “Freedom Summer,” as seen in this video from American Experience: “1964.” Although their bodies were not found until August, the resulting media attention increased national awareness of the violence and injustices facing blacks every day in Mississippi and the white volunteers who had come to join in the fight. This resource is part of the American Experience Collection.

    Grades: 7-12
  • Freedom Riders: The Tactic

    In this video segment adapted from American Experience: "Freedom Riders," watch interviews and newsreel footage and see archival photos to explore the tactic of nonviolent direct action that was adopted by some of those challenging illegal segregation and discrimination against African Americans in the United States in the early 1960s. An alternative to legislative and legal challenges, direct nonviolent actions—such as sit-ins, boycotts, and strikes—allowed for broader public participation and brought faster results. This resource is part of the American Experience: Freedom Riders collection

    This video includes language that is considered offensive. However, it provides authentic documentation of the bigotry of the era.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Freedom Riders: Freedom Riders Create Change

    In this video segment adapted from American Experience: "Freedom Riders," view newsreel footage, archival photos, and interviews to explore how the Freedom Rides of 1961 brought about the end of racial segregation in interstate transportation. The Freedom Riders, aware that their nonviolent protest would elicit violence from some Southerners attempting to enforce local segregation laws, were determined to continue their protest even in the face of possible arrest. A series of events involving the U.S. attorney general, a U.S. senator, the governor of Mississippi, and a federal agency put an end to discriminatory practices in public transportation. This initial, unambiguous victory for the Civil Rights Movement paved the way for further progress. This resource is part of the American Experience: Freedom Riders Collection.

    Grades: 6-12
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    1964: "Dancing in the Street"

    Discover how the hit song “Dancing in the Street” by Martha and the Vandellas became an anthem for society’s upheaval in this video from American Experience: “1964.” Intentionally or not, the call to people to come together around the world out into the streets seemed to support and inspire what would later become protests, demonstrations, and even riots as young people, blacks, and other groups demanded equal rights and fair treatment. This resource is part of the American Experience Collection.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Wilbert Corprew's Nonviolent Training | Memories of the March

    Learn about the nonviolent trainings undergone by activists in this clip from Memories of the March. The March on Washington is widely celebrated for its peaceful atmosphere which was at least partially the result of efforts undertaken by activists like Wilbert Corprew to resist violence.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Linda Chapin's Search for Fairness | Memories of the March

    Discover the competing priorities of marchers in this excerpt from Memories of the March. While the March on Washington is often remembered as a single harmonious event, many marchers had conflicting agendas that ranged from unwavering support of the Civil Rights Act to its denunciation as too weak. One of the greatest successes of this event is that it was able to join all of these priorities into a single unified voice.

    Grades: 6-12
  • John Fitzgerald Kennedy | The March

    Examine President John F. Kennedy’s record on civil rights and his relationship with Martin Luther King Jr., in this excerpt from The March. Political events including the assassination of Medgar Evers and the "Stand in the Schoolhouse Door" at the University of Alabama were crucial in bringing Kennedy to introduce the idea of a Civil Rights Act on June 11, 1963.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Rev. Frank Dukes: Selective Buying Campaign

    In 1962, Miles College student Frank Dukes helped organize andparticipated in a selective buying campaign in Birmingham, Alabama. Byboycotting downtown businesses that discriminated against them, AfricanAmericans used buying power as political leverage in the struggle forequality. In this interview, Dukes describes his role in the grassrootseffort that shook Birmingham's economy.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Diane Nash and the Sit-Ins

    In this interview, civil-rights leader Diane Nash recalls her role in the 1960 Nashville sit-ins, the 1961 Freedom Rides, and the 1965 voting rights campaign in Selma, Alabama. As one of the founders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Nash mobilized her fellow college students to confront segregation and discrimination with nonviolent direct action. This resource is part of the Civil Rights collection.

    Grades: 6-12