The Civil Rights Era: The People Who Made it Happen and Its Impact 20 th

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The Civil Rights Era:

The People Who Made it Happen and Its Impact

20th Century U.S. History/ 11th Grade

Lesson Overview

  • Students will learn to recognize and identify key players before, during, and after the Civil Rights Era

  • In order to show mastery of this topic, students will create a poster about a specific time period and the people involved with the struggle for educational and political equity

Standards Addressed
11.5 Students analyze the major political, social, economic, technological, and cultural developments of the 1920s.

  • Analyze the international and domestic events, interests, and philosophies that prompted attacks on civil liberties, including the Palmer Raids, Marcus Garvey's "back-to-Africa" movement, the Ku Klux Klan, and immigration quotas and the responses of organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the Anti-Defamation League to those attacks.

11.10 Students analyze the development of federal civil rights and voting rights.

  • Explain how demands of African Americans helped produce a stimulus for civil rights, including President Roosevelt's ban on racial discrimination in defense industries in 1941, and how African Americans' service in World War II produced a stimulus for President Truman's decision to end segregation in the armed forces in 1948.

  • Examine and analyze the key events, policies, and court cases in the evolution of civil rights, including Dred Scott v. Sandford, Plessy v. Ferguson, Brown v. Board of Education, Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, and California Proposition 209.

  • Describe the collaboration on legal strategy between African American and white civil rights lawyers to end racial segregation in higher education.

(11.10 standard continued)

  • Examine the roles of civil rights advocates (e.g., A. Philip Randolph, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcom X, Thurgood Marshall, James Farmer, Rosa Parks), including the significance of Martin Luther King, Jr. 's "Letter from Birmingham Jail" and "I Have a Dream" speech.

  • Discuss the diffusion of the civil rights movement of African Americans from the churches of the rural South and the urban North, including the resistance to racial desegregation in Little Rock and Birmingham, and how the advances influenced the agendas, strategies, and effectiveness of the quests of American Indians, Asian Americans, and Hispanic Americans for civil rights and equal opportunities.

  • Analyze the passage and effects of civil rights and voting rights legislation (e.g., 1964 Civil Rights Act, Voting Rights Act of 1965) and the Twenty-Fourth Amendment, with an emphasis on equality of access to education and to the political process.

(Student Handout #1)

Name __________-



20th Century American History

Create a Poster that Discusses

The Civil Rights Era
Assignment Goal

Other than Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, most of the people who were important figures within the Civil Rights Era are unknown to most people in our present-day society. This assignment is designed to give students a chance to focus on some of those individuals who fought the battle for equal education and political freedom in the United States. Students will be assigned to a specific time period that either led up to, was part of, or came after the Civil Rights Era of the 1960’s.

Completed posters will include all of the following items: a one page (at least three paragraphs) summary that discusses some of the key players in the Civil Rights struggle, pictures and/or memorabilia from that specific time, and captions that explain how each picture is relevant to this chapter of American History.
Required Materials

Textbook and/or an encyclopedia

Two books (other than encyclopedias) on this topic

Access to a computer with internet capability

Two internet sources (check with the teacher to confirm the site’s credibility)

poster board


crayons, markers, or paints (no oil-based paints in class)


Final grades for the posters will be based upon clear information, proper use of sources, and overall creativity in design (see the poster rubric on student handout #3 for more details).

(Student Handout #3)

Civil Rights Era: A Rubric for Student Posters

4 (Exceeds Standards)

  • Minimal to zero misspelled words

  • Correct grammar and punctuation within the captions and the summary

  • Pictures are relevant to the focus of study and each captions matches a picture

  • Sources, pictures and quotes all have resources listed in the works cited page (works cited should be glued to the back of the poster)

3 (Basic)

  • Poster contains a few spelling errors (between 5 and 10 errors)

  • A couple grammar and punctuation errors exist

  • Pictures are relevant to the focus of study and each caption matches a picture

  • Sources, pictures and quotes all have resources listed in the works cited page

2 (Below Basic)

  • Poster has more than 10 spelling errors

  • Grammar and punctuation are both disrupted with numerous errors

  • Pictures and/ or captions are either unclear or misplaced

  • Not all sources are listed.

1 (Far Below Basic)

  • Poster has more than 15 spelling errors

  • Summary and/or captions are missing or off topic

  • Grammar and punctuation are unclear

  • Poster has no pictures

  • Poster has no Works Cited page

(Student Handout #2)
Example of Bibliographical Information

Bassnett S. Elizabeth the First. Danbury: Grolier Publishing, 1988.

Carolly, Susan and Ron Erickson. The First Elizabeth. Danbury: Grolier Publishing, 1984.

“Queen Elizabeth” @, January 18, 1999.

Picture Credit:

Picture #1 - "Anne Bolyn" from:, January 17, 1999.

Picture #2 - "Henry VIII" from:, January 16, 1999.

Picture #3 - "Catherine Parr" from:, January 17, 1999.

Picture #4 - "The Virgin Queen" from:, January 18, 1999.

Picture #5 - "Elizabeth I" from:, January 17, 1999.

NOTE: Examples of completed student history web pages can be found at:

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