One-two class periods
1. Write the words "Freedom Rides" on the board before class begins. As students enter your class, ask them to jot down whatever they associate with this phrase. When class begins, ask students to share their thoughts. Write on the board all the associations that pertain to the 1961 Freedom Rides through the South.
2. Ask students to read the CNNfyi.com article, "40 years later, mission accomplished" Then ask the following questions:
- What more did you learn about the Freedom Rides after reading this article? What were the rides designed to protest? Were they effective? Explain. Why are they being re-enacted now? Who is John Lewis? How does he describe the events?
- What recent events reported in the media indicate there is still violent racism in the United States? In what ways have displays of discrimination changed from days prior to the civil rights movement?
3. Direct students to materials on the Freedom Rides and other forms of protest used during the 1950s and 1960s to bring about changes in racial discrimination.
Direct students to write essays in which they discuss accepted attitudes towards African Americans during the first half of the 1900s and today. Recommend that they also interview parents or grandparents who lived in the United States prior to the civil rights movement to gain more personal insights into what was allowed at that time. Ask students to evaluate the success of the Freedom Rides and other protests and to determine what further steps must be taken to bring about greater unity and acceptance.
For more activities, news stories and resources on black history from CNNfyi.com, go to our Web special, "Chasing the Dream."
Ask students to search for images that depict how African Americans were treated in the United States prior to gaining civil rights and for illustrations of African Americans today. Direct them to create posters using images that depict the pre- and post-civil rights eras.
If you can locate it, play the film "A Class Divided" for students. (See the last link in Related Sites for more information.) Hold a class discussion after the viewing to discuss the impact of discrimination.
Students can use the HighWired.com lesson entitled Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" to learn more about how King's powerful words brought people to a better understanding of the civil rights movement and its goals.
Chasing the dream
Seattle Times: Photo Tour of the Civil Rights Movement
We Shall Overcome; Historic Places of the Civil Rights Movement National Register Travel Itinerary
Civil Rights Movement Veterans
Program: Blue Eyes Brown Eyes
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