Students can read about or research the issues that led up to the civil rights movement and discuss ideas like equality, racism, segregation, and intolerance. A discussion of this sort is also a good segue into talking/learning about different groups that have been discriminated against in the past or present: Jews, Native Americans, Romani, members of the LGBTQ community, people with cognitive or physical disabilities, Muslims, Latinos, women, the elderly, etc.
Students can choose an important person from history and do a storyboard biography about them and their contribution to equality and/or society. They could also analyze Martin Luther King Jr.’s "I Have a Dream" speech.
One way students can delve into a discussion on important topics is by looking at inspirational or important quotes from prominent figures related to the topic. A "Silent Chalk Walk" allows students to take turns reading and reflecting on quotes around the classroom. They can add their ideas to a white board or sticky note by the quote. Afterwards, the students can lead a discussion about each quote explaining their thoughts.
In this culminating activity, students will
1) Choose one quote that resonated with them the most
2) Create a storyboard using illustrations and words to explain what they think the quote means and why it is important to them.
“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” – James Baldwin
This quote resonates with me because if we are to overcome the stain of racism in our society, we first have to acknowledge that it exists, that it has a long history, and that it is systemic. If you are to solve a problem, you first have to understand it. Understanding and reckoning with the past and present of white supremacy and racial injustice is the only way to move towards a brighter future for all.