Using Poetry to Teach Children About the Civil Rights Movement

Elouise Payton, K-3rd Grade, Barringer Academic Center

Full Unit (PDF)

Implementing Common Core Standards (PDF)


200-word synopsis:

What would you do if you were treated unfairly for no apparent reason? As eyewitnesses to many of the events that transpired during the Civil Rights era, hundreds of thousands of ordinary people, children and adults, eagerly and fearfully joined in the fight for their basic human rights.    Many searched for opportunities to join the activists and protestors in their efforts to combat all forms of racial discrimination, injustice and inequities.   In our society, historically all races of people have not been treated equally.  For many years, African Americans protested and marched, demanding their equal rights and fair treatment in America.  African American Literature during the 1950s and 1960s presented a true picture of a nation divided along racial lines.  This unit centers on literature that captures the actions, events and conflict that characterized the period.  Out of the era emerged well-known heroes and ordinary heroes who were motivated to action.   Students will learn about a lot of the great changes that were made as well as the price that many paid to obtain equality and justice.  They will be empowered, motivated and inspired as they read about the acts of young, courageous children who took a stand during a frightening period in America’s history.