The Civil Rights Act of 1964 — Title IV: Equal Education for All

Veazy, Greene County, Georgia. The one-teacher Negro school in Veazy, south of Greensboro

Veazy, Greene County, Georgia. The one-teacher Negro school in Veazy, south of Greensboro

In 1954, the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas declared that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” A decade later, Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 again called for the desegregation of public schools. This is the fourth in a series of posts taking a look at one step in what Lyndon B. Johnson termed “a long struggle for freedom.”

Mosquito Crossing, Greene County, Georgia. The new school for Negro children

Mosquito Crossing, Greene County, Georgia. The new school for Negro children

Unlike some of the other areas addressed in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, schools are something familiar to all students, so even the very young can deepen their understanding of the conditions that led to the legislation. Images can offer powerful opportunities for deep learning.

In October of 1941, Jack Delano photographed a number of schools in Greene County, Georgia. Studying a selection of these images so close in time and place can help students build a picture of the wide discrepancies between schools.

  • Present students with the photograph of “Mosquito Crossing, Greene County, Georgia. The new school for Negro children 1941” and support them as they analyze the picture. Select questions from the Teacher’s Guide: Analyzing Photographs to focus and deepen their observations and reflections. Invite them to compare this classroom to their own, considering what is familiar and what seems unusual.

    Siloam, Greene County, Georgia. Classroom in the school

    Siloam, Greene County, Georgia. Classroom in the school

  • Delano photographed two schools in Siloam, Greene County. As a whole class, brainstorm characteristics of a classroom. Pair students to create a graph or T-chart comparing the images of the two classrooms on as many of the characteristics as they can.
  • Ask students to study and analyze the set of images from Greene County. What can they learn from the whole set that a single image wouldn’t tell them?
  • Give students the group of photographs in this post and ask them to put the images in order of which school they’d prefer to attend. Ask them to add a sticky note to each to indicate the reasons for their rankings.
Siloam, Greene County, Georgia. The Negro school

Siloam, Greene County, Georgia. The Negro school

For more primary sources and information about the history of segregation in the United States, visit the online exhibition Brown v. Board at Fifty: “With an Even Hand“.

Let us know in the comments what your students discover and discuss as they interact with these historical images.

This series of blog posts is part of the Library of Congress commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act which is anchored by the web-based Civil Rights History Project and the exhibition, “The Civil Rights Act of 1964: A Long Struggle for Freedom”. The exhibition is made possible by a generous grant from Newman’s Own Foundation and with additional support from HISTORY®.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 – Titles II and III: The Right to Go Where You Want

We’re publishing a series of blog posts that look at different facets of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and bring forward primary source items that help students engage with different issues addressed by the Act. Today we focus on Titles II – Injunctive Relief Against Discrimination in Places of Public Accommodation and III – Desegregation of Public Facilities.

Integrating Writing and U.S. History: Primary Sources and the Library of Congress Summer Teacher Institute

The Institute matched my experience with the Writing Project, and refined and drew focus to everything I have learned as a teacher. The time spent in actual classroom lessons, participating as a reader, learner and writer, all while building curriculum for my own classroom — my classroom hasn’t been the same since.

Teach Science or Civil Rights? Look what the Library of Congress has for you!

The Library of Congress is now accepting applications for all of its summer programs, including a week-long session for K-12 educators on science and one on civil rights. Held at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, these professional development programs provide educators with tools and resources to effectively integrate primary sources into K-12 classroom teaching, emphasizing student engagement, critical thinking, and construction of knowledge.

Bringing the Olympic Games into Your Classroom with Primary Sources

Do you have students who love winter sports? The upcoming winter Olympics will provide lots of opportunities to watch intense competition and celebrate the glorious triumphs of the athletes. Why not engage students’ energy and interest with Library of Congress primary source items related to both historical winter Olympic teams and winter sports?