The Civil Rights Movement: A New Primary Source Set for Teachers

Civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, 1965

In the middle of the 20th century, the United States was rocked by a nationwide movement for equal rights for African Americans. A new primary source set from the Library of Congress, The Civil Rights Movement, allows educators and students to take a close look at the leaders and activists that shaped this movement, as well as the plans, strategies, and pivotal moments that led to its success.

This free teacher resource showcases powerful primary sources from more than a decade of activism, and includes photographs, manuscripts, oral histories, ephemera, and more. Highlights include Rosa Parks’ handwritten reflections on her arrest for refusing to surrender her bus set to a white passenger, firsthand accounts of the publication of “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” photographs of African American students integrating public schools, and final plans for the March on Washington.

The set also includes historical background information and teaching ideas that support students as they analyze these unique primary sources. It also provides teachers with opportunities to prompt further research into this transformational movement, the effects of which are still being felt today.

We hope you’ll let us know which items in this set provoke discussion among your students.

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