Leaving a Legacy: Eulogies of Civil Rights Figures 9-10 Grade Band Text Set Line of Inquiry



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Leaving a Legacy: Eulogies of Civil Rights Figures

9-10 Grade Band Text Set



Line of Inquiry: In this text set, students will build knowledge about the lasting impact of five civil rights leaders, as well as engage in a genre study of eulogies. The anchor text is a eulogy delivered by Robert F. Kennedy immediately following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968. The full set focuses on four figures who also played leading roles in the civil rights movement: Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Medgar Evers, and President John F. Kennedy. Students will engage with informational texts that provide background knowledge about the role each leader played in advancing civil rights in the United States, as well as one or two eulogies commemorating their lives. The inclusion of two eulogies for one figure allows students to investigate the distinct voice of each author, as well as the approach of each to the eulogy as a form.

Because this set consists of predominantly speeches, there is significant variation in the quantitative measures of the texts. We recommend careful consideration of the sequencing of these texts to support struggling students as they build the vocabulary and background knowledge to engage with the most complex texts in the set. By building knowledge about civil rights and eulogies over the course of the set, the aim is for all students to be able to access the complex, grade-level texts by the end of the unit.

Given the number of texts in this set, consider assigning some for independent reading as you design a unit of instruction. Develop a series of short text-dependent questions for students to answer after reading the text independently. The eulogies, as they were written to be spoken, provide an excellent opportunity for students to practice fluency. Have students divide into groups to practice reading aloud with partners, or in larger groups.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

The anchor text is a eulogy delivered by Robert F. Kennedy immediately following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968. Accompanying this text is King’s own “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”


Anchor Text

1220L Remarks on the Assassination of MLK

By: Robert F. Kennedy

Text Type: Informational - Speech

The speech announces the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. to a group of civil rights protestors and calls upon the assembled group to move forward with peace and compassion.




1200L Letter from Birmingham Jail

By: Martin Luther King, Jr.

Text Type: Informational

King, Martin Luther, Jr. "Letter from Birmingham Jail." Letter. 16 Apr. 1963. African Studies Center. University of Pennsylvania, n.d. Web. Feb. 2013. http://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.html.



Rosa Parks

This set includes a pair of New York Times articles about Rosa Parks: one announcing her death at age 92 and the other announcing the recent unveiling of a statue in her honor at the Capitol. These two articles will ground students in an understanding of the life and accomplishments of Rosa Parks, preparing them to more meaningfully engage with her eulogies delivered by Oprah Winfrey and Jesse James.

1240L Rosa Parks, 92, Founding Symbol of Civil Rights Movement, Dies

By: E.R. Shipp

Source: The New York Times

Text Type: Informational

Shipp, E. R. "Rosa Parks, 92, Founding Symbol of Civil Rights Movement, Dies." The New York Times. N.p., 25 Oct. 2005. Web. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/25/us/25parks.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0.

1360L Statue of Rosa Parks is Unveiled at the Capitol

By: Ashley Southall

Source: The New York Times

Text Type: Informational

Southall, Ashley. "Statue of Rosa Parks Is Unveiled at the Capitol." The New York Times. N.p., 27 Feb. 2013. Web. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/28/us/politics/statue-of-rosa-parks-is-unveiled-at-the-capitol.html .

840L Eulogy for Rosa Parks Delivered at Metropolitan AME Church, Washington D.C.

By: Oprah Winfrey

Source: American Rhetoric

Text Type: Informational

Winfrey, Oprah. "American Rhetoric: Oprah Winfrey - Eulogy for Rosa Parks Delivered at Metropolitan AME Church, Washington D.C." American Rhetoric: Oprah Winfrey - Eulogy for Rosa Parks Delivered at Metropolitan AME Church, Washington D.C. Web. http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/oprahwinfreyonrosaparks.htm.
1060L Eulogy for Rosa Parks

By: Jesse Jackson

Source: St. Louis American

Text Type: Informational

Jackson, Jesse. "Eulogy for Rosa Parks." The St. Louis American. 1 Nov. 2005. Web. http://www.stlamerican.com/news/local_news/article_eca4f14a-1114-5195-93a2-3d3230636251.html.

Malcolm X
The U.S. News and World Report article on the legacy of Malcolm X will introduce students to the controversy surrounding Malcolm X’s role in advancing the rights of black Americans. The article offers an overview of his life, as well as an exploration of the differing interpretations of his contribution to society. This article will provide context and background knowledge to students before reading the eulogy delivered by Ossie Davis.
1120L The Legacy of Malcolm X

By: Lewis Lord, Jeannye Thornton, and Alejandro Bodipo-Memba

Source: US News and World Report

Text Type: Informational

Lord, Lewis, Jeannye Thornton, and Alejandro Bodipo-Memba. "The Legacy of Malcolm X." U.S. News and World Report. N.p., 15 Nov. 1992. Web. Feb. 2013. http://www.usnews.com/usnews/culture/articles/921123/archive_018698.htm.


980L Malcolm X’s Eulogy

By: Ossie Davis

Source: Malcolm X Official Website

Text Type: Informational

Davis, Ossie. "Malcolm X's Eulogy." MalcolmX.com. Web. 28 Feb. 2013. http://www.malcolmx.com/about/eulogy.html .


Medgar Evers
This brief exploration of the life of Medgar Evers draws on a recent NPR report on the lasting impact of his work in Mississippi. Following the NPR report is the text written by Myrlie Evers, wife of Medgar, immediately following his death.
The Legacy of Medgar Evers (radio)

By: Melanie Peeples

Source: National Public Radio

Peeples, Melanie. "The Legacy of Medgar Evers." NPR News. National Public Radio. 10 June 2003. Radio.



840L He said he wouldn’t mind dying—if…”

By: Myrlie Evers

Source: LIFE

Text Type: Informational

Evers, Myrlie. "He Said He Wouldn't Mind Dying- If..." LIFE 28 June 1963: 35-37. Print.
John F. Kennedy
The first text in this set is an article tracing Kennedy’s relationship to the Civil Rights Movement throughout his presidency, followed by his June 1963 video address to the American people titled, “Report to the American People on Civil Rights.”

1490L His Cautious Path to Civil Rights

By: Robert Dallek

Source: TIME

Text Type: Informational

Dallek, Robert. "His Cautious Path to Civil Rights." TIME 21 June 2007: n. pag. Web. http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1635958_1635999_1634940,00.html


Report to the American People on Civil Rights (video)

Kennedy, John F. "Report to the American People on Civil Rights 11 June, 1963." Speech. JFK Presidential Library and Museum. Web. .



http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/LH8F_0Mzv0e6Ro1yEm74Ng.aspx
1290L Eulogy for John F. Kennedy

By: Earl Warren



Source: American Rhetoric

Text Type: Informational

Warren, Earl. "American Rhetoric: Earl Warren - Eulogy for John F. Kennedy." American Rhetoric: Earl Warren - Eulogy for John F. Kennedy. Web. http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/earlwarrenjfkeulogy.htm.
1350L Eulogy to John F. Kennedy

By: Richard Cardinal Cushing

Source: EBSCO

Text Type: Informational



Cushing, Richard C. "Eulogy to John F. Kennedy." Vital Speeches of the Day 1 Dec. 1963: 100-01. Print.


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