Student Tools:



[Wamp-Up/Motivation] [Guided Practice] [Independent Practice] [Closure Assessment] [Homework] [Extension Activities]

Prior to using this lesson in the classroom, review the Historiography and primary source materials for this lesson by clicking on the button on the left side navigation labeled "primary sources." In addition to primary sources, this area includes historical documents, speeches, and worksheets that you can download and use for this lesson.

The NVLP lessons are designed for both teachers who have access to the Internet and a computer with Windows Media Player (free download) and those who do not. If you do not have Internet access, you can print the materials and read the video clip transcripts.

Depending upon how much time you have to teach this lesson, choose two or more video clips. For this lesson, there are also five images of women who were instrumental in the Civil Rights Movement; a suggested teacher transparency with an image of the “Big Six” Civil Rights leaders; an article by Ella Baker; and student worksheets.

Print out the photographs, video transcripts and documents and organize the material into "primary source packets" for your students. The students will be working in groups, so print enough copies so that you have one "packet" for each group. If you like, you can print different images and different transcripts so that each group does not have the same exact primary source packet.

Warm Up/Motivation: [Back to top]
1. Begin by instructing students that you are going to give them three minutes to write just three sentences about Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott. (Since this is a continuation of the Civil Rights Movement lesson, ask students to specifically think about what they knew before they began discussing it over the last couple of days.)    

2. After the instructed time has elapsed, tell the students to pair up and share their sentences by discussing the following questions:

  • Do their two stories match up with one another?

  • Are there any misconceptions in the sentences?
  • If the stories are not similar and misconceptions were found, why do they think this is so?

(Note: Often, students have been taught information about certain historical events and they do not know that these misconceptions are in fact false. This activity will allow the students to, through their own exploration, discover how easy it is for history to be misrepresented depending upon who is telling the story.)      

3. Take time to clear up any misconceptions that students may have about Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Guided Practice: [Back to top]
4) Inform the students that they will be examining the contributions of five women in the Civil Rights Movement to investigate whether or not these women have been largely overshadowed by male leaders in the Movement. They will also examine the possible implications this presents to the historiography (the writing of history based on scholarly disciplines such as the analysis and evaluation of source materials) of the Civil Rights Movement.

5) Distribute Worksheet 2-1 to students. This resource sheet presents photographs of Ella Baker, Fannie Lou Hamer, Septima Clark, Dorothy I. Height, and Coretta Scott King.

6) On the chalkboard or on chart paper, write the numbers that correspond to the photographs of the women and ask students to name the women.

7) After the students have answered or attempted to answer, reveal the names of these women and begin to inform students of their contributions to the Movement. (See the Historiography for detailed biographies).

8) After you have given the background of these women and their contributions, refer to the vocabulary list and answer any questions or clear up any misconceptions that the students may have.

9) Tell students that they are going to listen to (or read) two interviews from the National Visionary Leadership Project: Dorothy Height and Coretta Scott King. Of the women profiled in this lesson's historiography, Dr. Height is the only one who is still alive. She talks about her experiences as a woman helping to organize the March on Washington. Coretta Scott King talks about Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott. If you have access to the Internet and a computer with Windows Media Player, play one or two of the clips listed in the primary sources section for this lesson. If not, read the transcripts aloud. Also hand out copies of the transcript(s) so students can read them silently along with you. Tell them to take notes about anything that is said that peaks their interest. (See Worksheet 2-4 for text of the clip(s).)

(In addition to the selected Dr. Height and Coretta Scott King clips, screen the Amelia Boynton Robinson clip(s) and the additional Dr. Height clip for possible inclusion in the lesson.)

10) Once the clip(s) has ended, guide the students in a discussion with the following questions:           

Dr. Height questions:                               

a. Why do you think it was so difficult to convince the organizers to have a woman speak at the March?

b. Do you think it was important to have a woman included in the list of speakers? Why or why not?

c. Who are some of the women that would speak if a March on Washington was held this year? (Have the students provide reasons for their choices.)

Coretta Scott King questions:

a. What do you think Coretta Scott King meant when she said that, "you have an inner peace and a satisfaction if you feel that you are doing the right thing and doing what God intends for you to do"?

b. How difficult would it be for you to commit to doing something that may cause you to lose your life? Can you think of a reason or cause for which you would be willing to die?

c. What is Dr. King's legacy? What is Mrs. King's legacy? What do you want your legacy to be and what will you do to make it happen?

Independent Practice: [Back to top]

11) Separate students into groups of four and then give them Worksheet 2-2 Women and Community Leadership by Ella Baker.

12) Inform students that they will have twenty minutes to read the passage. After students have completed the passage, hand out Worksheet 2-3 How to Interpret a Document.

13) Students should select a recorder to record the group findings on chart paper (everyone else should record their notes in their notebooks); a reporter to present the group findings to the class; a task manager to manage their group's progress and a time-keeper.

14) Once group assignments have been made, inform students that they will have 10-15 minutes to complete Worksheet 2-3.

15) Once the time has elapsed, group leaders should then share out their group's findings. Whole group discussion should follow:

a. Explain why Ella Baker said, "There was no place for me to come into a leadership role."

b. Do you feel that the other women we have discussed felt the same way? Why or why not?

c. Baker states that she made a "conscious decision on the basis of larger goals" to accept the positions given to her. Do you agree or disagree with this decision? Why or why not?

d. Do you feel that women today face some of the same challenges when it comes to occupying leadership positions? Give some examples.

e. Does the church, in terms of political activism, still control the Black community? Justify your answer.

Closure/Assessment: [Back to top]

When the class discussion has come to an end, display the Teacher Transparency. Inform the students that the photo being displayed is of the "Big Six" Civil Rights leaders with President John F. Kennedy after the March on Washington in 1963. Have students reflect on a) What or who is missing in the photo? b) What representation or misrepresentation of the movement does this picture convey? c) Do you agree or disagree with the message being portrayed in this photo? d) What effect did the passage by Ella Baker have on their perception?

Homework: [Back to top]

Students should create a "Civil Rights Movement Newspaper" in which they write and edit articles that reflect the contributions of women in the Movement. Tell students to log onto the National Visionary Leadership Project's Student Site at and review the Timeline as well as additional resources in "More Stuff ."

Extension Activities: [Back to top]

1) Have students go to the local library and conduct research on some other women in the Civil Rights Movement. (See Historiography for other women involved in the Movement.)

2) Let students create skits that represent the contributions of women in the Movement.

3) Have students create posters that reflect the women in the Movement.

4) Have students re-create the famous picture of President Kennedy and the male Civil Rights Leaders placing women leaders in the picture.

For further information, see: or Rosa Parks, "'Tired of Giving In: The Launching of the Montgomery Bus Boycott," in Collier-Thomas, Bettye and V.P. Franklin, eds. Sisters in the Struggle: African American Women in the Civil Rights-Black Power Movement. New York: New York University Press, 2001.



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