Featured Teaching Kits
Teacher-approved stories, resources, and worksheets for teaching about the civil rights movement in your classroom
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.
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
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
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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); TKTKTK (MLK); Stock Montage/Getty Images (Thurgood Marshall); Courtesy Of Joan Johns Cobbs (Barbara Johns); TKTKTK (Jackie Robinson)