Civil Rights

Civil Rights Notes

Civil Rights

Martin Luther King Jr.

Rosa Parks


  • Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a Nobel Lecture on December 11, 1964, called the "The Quest for Peace and Justice"
  • King states, "Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon. Indeed, it is a weapon unique in history, which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it."

Declaration Ideals

Selma Trailer

  • Bloody Sunday occurred in Selma, Alabama on March 7, 1965
  • This event was one century after slavery was eliminated by the 13th Amendment in 1865

Glory Song

Civil Rights Videos

Civil Rights DBQ Guide

Civil Rights DBQ Guide - COPY

Document A - African Americans after the War

  1. The end of slavery did not mean equal rights for blacks. What kinds of legal barriers prevented former slaves from having equal rights with whites?
  2. Few efforts were made to provide economic help to former slaves, and such help did not last long. To what difference might it have made to the lives of post-Civil War southerners (black and white), if the North had helped with the rebuilding?

Document B - Black Codes

  1. In the 19th century, many people’s political affiliation followed their economic interest, or one or another group affiliation. Has that changed? If not, how have these affiliations changed over time?
  2. There was a lot of corruption in 19th century politics. Do you think that has changed? If not, why? If you knew in advance that a certain level of political corruption would be present (such as not allowing African-Americans’ votes to count), how would you change the system?
  3. How would you react if someone told you that you couldn’t vote because of the color of your hair or eyes?

Document C - Separate is not Equal

  1. The case Brown v. Topeka Board of Education ruled that separate but equal schools were not, in fact, equal. And it argued that even if they were, the stigma attached to being in separate facilities caused irreparable harm. Do you agree that drawing attention to differences between groups of people only causes them to be stigmatized? If so, in what areas of our society today do we accentuate differences, rather than try to blur them? What are the consequences of this?
  2. Recent Supreme Court Cases have begun to address the question of whether there are any limits to requiring equal treatment. Issues such as the religious rights of business owners to provide services at weddings, for instance, are being tried. Do you believe there can be any constitutional limits on the right to equal treatment?

Document D - Rosa Parks is arrested

  1. What did separate but equal mean?
  2. Why do you think others eventually got up, even though they didn’t at first?
  3. What do you think led to Rosa refusing?
  4. The goal of the Montgomery Bus Boycott was to get equal access and equal treatment for African Americans – to create an even playing field. Has that objective changed? If so, in what ways? If not, what are the current barriers to “an even playing field” and how do they differ from those of the past?