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Members of the Oregon Leadership Network,

The pursuit of equity and justice in American school is still elusive. The following resources are provided as a way for OLN member organizations to look-back and lead forward.

The civil rights movement didn’t begin in Montgomery and it didn’t end in the 1960s. It continues on to this very minute.

- Julian Bond


School and District Resources

Mighty Times: The Children’s March [Documentary]

This award-winning documentary tells the story of the school children of Birmingham, Alabama, who courageously marched to protest the racism and discrimination that impacted the lives of their families and community. Full of archival footage and interviews with participants then who are adults today; this is a moving chronicle of a historical event that reminds us of the resiliency of youth and the fact that age does not predict the ability to make change. This video is must watching for all. The teacher’s guide is an excellent user-friendly resource.

Source: Film & teacher’s guide available from Southern Poverty Law Center, Teaching Tolerance website

Kids in Birmingham 1963

We are fortunate that many of those who helped to make history during the civil rights movement are still with us today and can provide eyewitness accounts of the events that changed America. Kids of Birmingham 1963 was a project created in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the “Year of Birmingham.” In 1963 America was horrified by the bombing of the Sixteenth St. Baptist Church, which killed four little girls. Another event that stunned the nation and the world was the arrest of thousands of school children who marched to protest the racism and discrimination endured by Alabama’s Black citizens. During this time the nation and the world witnessed brutal beatings, water hosing, and attacks by dogs under the command of Sheriff Bull Connor. We were overcome with emotion and pride as we saw the courage and persistence of the youth and elders who nonviolently proclaimed to the world, “We want our freedom.” This eye-opening resource consists of the narratives of this turbulent time as experienced by students of different races. The website offers direct contact with these history makers whose primary accounts bring the history to life. The site includes lesson plans and tips for educators to help students connect with the current struggles for human and civil rights by reading about the past.

Source: Kids in Birmingham 1963

Putting the Movement back into civil rights teaching: A resource guide for K–12 classrooms

This is one of the most comprehensive guides for teaching about the civil rights movement to K–12 students. Topics include reflections on teaching about the movement, citizenship and self-determination, education, economic justice, culture, and looking forward.

According to historian Vincent Harding, the authors hope that this book will support teachers in their role as “the nurturers and encouragers of all the dreams, all the seeds deep in all the hearts where the future of a redeemed and rescued land now dwells.”

Download PDF

Source: Civil Rights Teaching

The March Continues: Five Essential Practices for Teaching the Civil Rights Movement

The authors note that this guide provides very concrete and doable practices to teach the civil rights movement “while provoking thought and innovation.” The five practices are:

  1. Educate for empowerment
  2. Know how to talk about race
  3. Capture the unseen
  4. Tell a complicated story
  5. Connect to the present.
Source: Teaching Tolerance

50th Anniversary of Mississippi Freedom Summer

Seldom do we have the opportunity to experience history through the voices of those who lived it. This summer many veterans, newcomers, youth, and others will gather on the campus of Tougaloo College in Mississippi to celebrate the heroic actions of the diverse foot soldiers who fought 50 years ago to dismantle the system of racism and discrimination in the state of Mississippi. You can join this event or explore the historic information and images on this website.

Source: Veterans of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement

Additional Resources

Educating Language Minority Students and Affirming Their Equal Rights: Research and Practical Perspectives

This article describes one researcher’s journey as an experimental psycholinguist through changes in practice and policy in the education of English language learners in the United States from the 1970s to the present day. The development of key debates on issues such as bilingualism, language of instruction, and the inclusion of English language learners in reform movements are described from the perspective of a researcher, and future prospects for work are outlined.

Source: Educational Researcher (By Subscription)

Civil Rights 101: Pt. 2. School Desegregation and Equal Educational Opportunity

Providing a context for the current civil rights debates cannot be fully understood without a historical lens through which the political acts, policy decisions, and events are viewed. Using a combination of legal decisions, events, and analysis, this resource offers a concise and detailed narrative of how the civil rights movement has impacted America. Part 1 focuses on the chronology of civil rights from 1619 to 2000 and includes a glossary and demographics. Part 2 examines law and policy; the Supreme Court and civil rights; school desegregation; housing: employment discrimination; affirmative action; voting; and criminal justice. Part 3 focuses on the expansion of civil rights, including for women, people with disabilities, gays and lesbians, and Native Americans. It also addresses age, religion, civil liberties, and the labor movement. Part 4 explores race, class and economic justice. This resource challenges the reader to reflect on where we have been, where we are now, where we want to go, and what we need to do to move forward to ensure that civil rights are realized for all of our citizens and communities.

Source: Browse the chronology at The Leadership Conference

American Educational Research Association - Tenth Annual Brown Lecture in Education Research

This speech was delivered at the American Educational Research Association’s 10th Annual Brown Lecture in Educational Research by Gary Orfield, Professor of Education, Law, Political Science, and Urban Planning at the University of California, Los Angeles. Orfield was co-founder and director of the Harvard Civil Rights Project and is currently the co-director of the Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles at UCLA. Orfield challenges us to not just examine the historic civil rights agenda to end racial segregation and discrimination in the South but to look at current inequalities. “A civil rights agenda for the present and the years to come must first document and explain the profound inequalities and explore the evidence both of current discrimination and of the continuing impacts of a history of discrimination,” he says. Orfield also makes a compelling case for a new civil rights agenda, supporting it with an expert analysis of how we must use the lessons of the past to transform society today. This resource includes both the text of his presentation and a video of his delivery that can be used for professional development.

Source: Hear the speech and download the paper at AERA

These resources are provided by the Region X Federal Equity Assistance Center (EAC) at Education Northwest. The EAC helps K–12 public schools and their communities incorporate educational equity into policies, procedures, and classroom practices to ensure that all students receive what they need to succeed academically.

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