Shedding the Mask: Using the Literature of the Civil Rights Era to Reveal the Motivations of the Movement

Emily Williams, African-American Studies/US History/AP Gov., Independence High School

Final Unit (PDF)

 Implementing Common Core Standards (PDF)

 200-word synopsis

This unit is an exploration of how the literature of the Civil Rights Movement chronicles the motivations of the people who participated in the Movement.  The purpose of the unit is to help students understand that the Civil Rights Movement was not simply a series of events that happened between 1954 and 1968.  What motivated people to fight the oppression that had been occurring since the very beginning of our country? What were the feelings associated with being African-American during that time period? Why do racial tensions continue today?  The poetry, novels, and music of the Civil Rights Era reveals some of the answers to these questions and gives students the opportunity to examine an historical time period in a new way.  After completing this unit, students will have a new understanding of how all historical events are rooted in people just like themselves being motivated to act.