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Junior Scholastic Teaching Kits
Teacher-approved stories, resources, and worksheets, courtesy of Junior Scholastic, the middle school Social Studies classroom magazine.
The Civil Rights Movement
Get to know Martin Luther King Jr., Barbara Johns, the Little Rock Nine, and other pioneers of the civil rights movement.
Featured Teaching Kits
Teacher-approved stories, resources, and worksheets for teaching about the civil rights movement in your classroom, courtesy of Junior Scholastic, the middle school Social Studies classroom magazine
The 1968 assassination of civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. stunned the nation, but his work continues to inspire the pursuit of racial equality in America.
In 1951, there were 21 American states that required black students and white students to attend separate schools. A young African American girl named Barbara Johns knew this wasn't right—and that she had to do something about it. Her bravery led to a landmark Supreme Court ruling that changed the nation forever.
The civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s defined a generation. Watch this video to learn about the movement, its leaders, and the sacrifices made in the fight for equal rights.
In 1957, nine black students walked into Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas—and into history. Relive their experience with this American History play.
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Famous quotes from civil rights leaders throughout history
“Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can't ride you unless your back is bent.”
— Martin Luther King Jr.
“People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn’t true. . . . No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”
— Rosa Parks
“By the force of our demands, our determination, and our numbers, we shall splinter the segregated South into a thousand pieces and put them back together in the image of God and democracy.”
— John Lewis
“You are not judged by the height you have risen but from the depths you have climbed.”
— Frederick Douglass
Four civil rights figures who made an impact
Martin Luther King Jr.
This Baptist minister become the most important leader of the civil rights movement. His “I Have a Dream” speech at the 1963 March on Washington encapsulated the historic vision behind the movement for African American equality.
A prominent black attorney, he represented the plaintiffs in Brown v. Board of Education—the case that struck down “separate but equal” in U.S. schools—before the U.S. Supreme Court. Marshall later became the first African American justice on the Court.
Barbara was just 16 years old in 1951 when she led a courageous protest to integrate the schools of her Virginia town. The lawsuit Johns started would become one of the cases folded into the historic Brown v. Board of Education ruling.
When Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, he became the first African American to play in baseball’s major leagues. In doing so, Robinson also helped open up all professional sports in the U.S. to black players.
Supplemental resources that link to external websites about the civil rights movement
Civil Rights Timeline
A chronology of the struggle for civil rights in America, from President Harry S. Truman’s desegregation of the armed forces in 1948 to the Fair Housing Act of 1968
Martin Luther King Jr.: A Biography
Essential details about the movement’s most important leader, with links to more than two dozen short videos related to Dr. King and other civil rights pioneers.
The March on Washington
On August 28, 1963, about a quarter of a million people gathered on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., for the largest civil rights rally up to that time.
Terms and definitions that pertain to the civil rights movement
a religious or national song, or a song that expresses the ideas of a particular group
to refuse, as an act of protest, to participate in a certain event or to buy particular products
the rights of a country’s citizens, including social and political freedom and equality
describing laws and practices that discriminated against African Americans after the Civil War
the separation of people by race, ethnic group, gender, class, or personal orientation
a protest in which people seat themselves somewhere and refuse to move until their demands are met
Explore Other Topics
Discover other free social studies topics and middle school teaching resources
The Roles of the Presidency
From Commander in Chief to chief of state, the president has many critical roles.
An overview of humanity’s first large societies: how they formed, who ruled them, and how they influenced the world today.
The United States Constitution
The Constitution is the supreme law of the land. It established our federal government and defined our government’s relationship with the states and citizens.
Women’s History: The Struggle for Equality
Learn about important women throughout history—including Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Sojourner Truth—and the progress that’s been made in the fight for gender equality.
The History and Heroes of World War II
An overview of World War II: why the U.S. got involved, what citizens did to fight back, and how people worldwide were affected
Real Teens of History
These inspiring teens fought for what they believed in—and made history in the process.
Social Studies Debate Kit
Teaching the art of debating—and how to write an effective argument essay—can help students master critical-thinking and communication skills.
Mastering Media Literacy and Digital Literacy
In an increasingly digital world, being able to navigate technology skillfully and evaluate online resources for accuracy and trustworthiness is crucial.
Teaching map skills can build students’ geography knowledge—and enhance their understanding of the world in which they live.
Middle School Civics
An overview of civics: what it means to be a good citizen, how democracy works, and why staying informed and engaged matters—even as kids.
The Civil War and Reconstruction
Use these features and supporting resources to give students deeper as well as broader knowledge of these key periods in U.S. history.
The U.S. is a nation of immigrants, built by people who left their homes to seek new lives and opportunities. However, Americans' feelings about immigrants are mixed.
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@historyhd On Unsplash (Civil Rights March); Bettmann/Getty Images (MLK); Gluekit (Photo Colorization), Rudolph Faircloth/AP Images (classroom); Bettmann / Contributor (woman and girl on Supreme Court steps); Bettmann/Getty Images (Little Rock Nine); CNP/Hulton Archive/Getty images (MLK); Stock Montage/Getty Images (Thurgood Marshall); Courtesy Of Joan Johns Cobbs (Barbara Johns); Mark Kauffman/Getty Images (Jackie Robinson)