Updated November 2014

PBS LearningMedia: Civil Rights

Compelling resources capture voices and events of the Civil Rights era

Subjects & skills
Subjects
  • Social Studies

Skills
  • Character & SEL
  • Critical Thinking
  • Communication & Collaboration
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
6–12
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The PBS LearningMedia: Civil Rights collection is full of materials to support the teaching of the key events and people of the Civil Rights Movement. The instructional resources include video segments, primary source documents, images, and lesson plans that are organized by topic. The best way to use the site is to search for materials to supplement a unit on the Civil Rights Movement.

The multimedia resources and lessons available will help with engagement and add depth to your students' understanding of the era. For example, in the Leaders and Organizers section, there are interviews and profiles of significant figures from the movement. If you've got the resources, have your students view these individually and then share information with the class to spur discussion. The lesson plans cover powerful topics such as Taking a Stand and Understanding White Supremacy, and are intended for whole-class instruction with a focus on discussion and personal reflection. You'll need a projection device to share most of the multimedia resources with your class.

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Teacher Reviews

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Featured review by
Amy K. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Cornell Senior High School
Coraopolis, PA
Well curated collection of essays, media, and primary sources
There are a wealth of resources for teaching Civil Rights. The Civil Rights movement of the 50s and 60s has the distinction of being one of the first historical American movements that was caught on video and audio tape. The primary sources from this time period are abundant, and this site does a great job of bringing them together by topic. The site makes clear that its journey begins with the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education case, but in that I think it's lacking the historical context of the movements that came before. PBS in general has many sites devoted to Civil Rights, and sites that include the centuries-long struggle of African Americans, Jim Crow, etc. This is not that site. On the other hand, this site touches topics that others dance around, in particular the systematic nature of racial oppression in our country, and the roots of white supremacism. Overall this is a fantastic resource in understanding the Civil Rights movement of the 50s and 60s that can be used in a variety of ways.
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