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Civil Rights Historical Investigations Resources

These are resources to support the Facing History and Ourselves' unit Civil Rights Historical Investigations. These primary and secondary sources can be used with the standards-based literacy strategies modeled during the workshop.

Unit 1, Lesson 1: The Story of Emmett Till

For additional historical background on the history of Emmett Till, visit Emmett Till: The Murder of Emmett Till (PBS/American Experience). Note: The film Eyes on the Prize can be streamed on our website or borrowed from our library. Facing History also wrote a series of four lessons to accompany this film.  

Eyes on the Prize, Volume 1, Episode 1, “Awakenings”

The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till

Justice, Delayed But Not Denied (CBS News)

The Civil Rights Era in the US News & World Report Photographs Collection" (Library of Congress) - Images of the Civil Rights Movement for use with Lesson One Warm-Up Activity

Photo Album” (Civil Rights Movement Veterans)

Eyes on the Prize: Image Galleries” (PBS, American Experience)

In Pictures: U.S. Civil Rights Movement” (BBC News)

Unit 1, Lesson 2: The Legacy of Lynching

Lynchings: By State and Race, 1882-1968”

“Lynch Law in Georgia” -  image and photo of Ida B. Wells

National Archives Template for Document Analysis

Unit 1, Lesson 3: Investigating Emmett Till’s Historical Context

The National Archives Document Analysis Worksheet

Eyes on the Prize (PBS/American Experience)

“The Murder of Emmett Till: Historical Context,” Documents Organized by Theme

Legacy of Lynching

Document 1A: Ida B. Wells—“Lynch Law in Georgia” (1899)

This site contains the text of the entire pamphlet, “Lynch Law in Georgia,” by Ida B. Wells.

PBS, The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow

This site contains an image of the cover of “Lynch Law in Georgia” and the first page. The site also contains an image of Ida B. Wells and biographical information about this early civil rights activist.

Alternate—Document 1B: Ida B. Wells—“Lynch Law in America” 

Document 2A: "Lynchings: By State and Race, 1882-1968"

History of Jim Crow 

Document 3: “Signs of Segregation” collection 

More photographs documenting segregation from the Library of Congress  

Document 6: “Jim Crow Laws,” The Code of Alabama, volume 1, 1923

Document 7: Executive Order 9981 (excerpt), Establishing the President’s Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity in the Armed Forces

Precedent of Civil Rights Actions

Document 8: Front page of the Russell Daily News, “Segregation in Schools Is Outlawed” 

Document 9: Excerpt from Brown v. Board decision 

Document 10: “African Americans Must Keep to One Side of the Sidewalk” (Chicago Defender)

Document 11: “Rally for the Proposed March on Washington, 1941” (Flyer promoting the proposed March on Washington spearheaded by A. Philip Randolph)

Document 12: “The Tenth Annual Report of the NAACP for the Year 1919” 

Document 13: Front page of The Crisis newspaper, The Causes of the Chicago Race Riot

Impact of the Media 

Document 14: “Do You Remember?” from American Experience, The Murder of Emmett Till Testimonials of seeing photographs of Emmett Till’s mutilated corpse in Jet magazine 

Document 17: “Emmett Till and the Impact of Images

Aftermath of WWII and Integration of the Armed Services

Document 7: Executive Order 9981 (excerpt) Establishing the President’s Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity in the Armed Forces

Document 18: “Above and Beyond the Call of Duty” U.S. Government recruitment poster for the Navy

Document 19: “The Return of the Soldier” drawing by Charles White (1946)

Document 20: “United We Win” a poster published by the U.S. Office of War Information (1943)

Unit 2, Lesson 1: In 1965, Why Were Less Than 7 Percent of Blacks Living in Mississippi Registered to Vote?

Eyes on the Prize, Volume 2, Episode 6, “Bridge to Freedom”

Document 2: “A Soldier Who Came Home to Die,” Ray Sprigle, 1948, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Document 3: “1964: Three Civil Rights Activists Found Dead,” BBC News

Document 4: Trying to Vote in Mississippi (from Eyes on the Prize study guide, p. 69)

Document 5: “Part of the Government Activity”: Testimony from an African-American Taxpayer Unable to Vote in Alabama

Document 6: “There Was a Purpose in My Being There,” Mr. Gustave Hulkower, Tucson, Arizona, white civil rights activist

Document 7: “I Didn’t Know Anything about Voting,” Fannie Lou Hamer on the Mississippi Voter Registration Campaign (audio and text file)

Document 8: Voter registration posters: Give Them a Future in Hattiesburg, What Does the Future in Mississippi Mean?

Document 9: Mississippi Freedom Summer

Document 10: The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow—Voting Then and Now Activity (includes literacy test)

Document 11: Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution

Document 12: The Enforcement Acts

Document 13: Federal voting rights laws, Number of Black Southern Legislators, 1868–1900 and 1960–1992

Document 15: Fighting Back: A Black Lawyer Argues Against Disenfranchisement—Early Evidence of Voter Discrimination After the Passage of the Fifteenth Amendment

Document 16: Mississippi and Freedom Summer

Document 17: United States Voting Rights timelines

Unit 2, Lesson 3: Selma to Montgomery

For more background and resources on the march from Selma to Montgomery:

The National Park Service—Selma to Montgomery includes a map of the marchers’ route and other documents.

Veterans of the Civil Rights Movement website posts images of the march

PBS/American Experience: Eyes on the Prize

Voting Act Rights Act of 1965

Unit 3, Lesson 1:  Education as a Civil Right

Eyes on the Prize, Volume 7, Episode 13, “Keys to the Kingdom"

Refer to the following resources for additional background on the history of schools and civil rights:

Long Road to Justice,” (on The Massachusetts Historical Society’s websitecontains more information about the Roberts case.

Separate Is Not Equal” (on The Smithsonian National Museum of American History website) documents the history of Brown v. Board of Education with historical narratives and images

Bill of Rights

UN Declaration of Human Rights

Unit 3, Lesson 4: Desegregation and the Courts

The following resources will help students consider different perspectives on the current debate about school segregation.

Justices Limit the Use of Race in School Plans for Integration” (New YorkTimes, June 29, 2007)

Report: Segregation in U.S. Schools Is Increasing” (Washington Post, August29, 2007)

The Next Kind of Integration” (New York Times Magazine, July 20, 2008)

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