Teacher's Guide for FOOTSTEPS From Montgomery to BirminghamMay 2000
Teacher Guide prepared by: our staff.
Setting the Scene:
Use the map on page 9 as a reference. Enlarge it if possible and hang on the wall. With the students, read the time line and make a legend, using numbers to represent each of the incidents in the time line. Assign a student(s) to each number. Discuss the articles in the issue (work chronologically) and have the students write their number on the corresponding geographical site as you discuss each incident.
For Essay and Discussion:
- Why did the comment about Rosa Parks, "They've messed with the wrong one now," prove true?
- What do the initials MIA represent and why was the organization started?
- What results did the Montgomery bus boycott produce?
- Why were they significant to the Civil Rights Movement?
- What policies prompted the sit-in movement that began with the sit-in at Woolworth's in Greensboro?
- What prompted Martin Luther King, Jr., to write the now-famous letter from his jail cell in Birmingham?
- Why did Martin Luther King, Jr., and many civil rights activists encourage non-violent protests?
Look up the definition of discrimination in the dictionary. Make a list of ways in which people can and have discriminated against others.
A suggested follow-up: Have students relate discrimination to themselves:
Then, let them consider ways in which they might redress such actions.
- Have they ever not allowed someone to play with them, their group of friends?
- Have they ever convinced friends not to play or interact with another person?
- Have they ever heckled someone else?
Consider the various civil rights figures presented in this issue. Choose the one you would especially like to meet. Explain why. Then draw up three questions you would particularly like to ask the person - make sure each question is one whose answer could not easily be found in a history book.
Create a Civil Rights Bill for your classroom. Be sure to give a reason for each provision you include.
Read and discuss the interviews with Ezell Blair, Jr.(pp. 19 - 23), and with Diane Nash (pp. 24 - 28).
Read "An Open Letter to the Girls Killed in the Church Bombing" (pp. 38 - 41). Write your letter to one of the others mentioned in this issue whose deeds helped advance the rights of African Americans.
- Make a list of the characteristics you think each needed to possess to do what they did.
- Which answer in each interview moved you the most?
- Did any of their responses surprise you? Why? Why not?
Consider the memorials and tributes that have been paid to those who died in the Civil Rights Movement. What type of tribute or memorial would you have designed? Explain the reasons for your design.
For another excellent teacher's guide on this topic, please visit the New York Times Learning Network Lesson Plan Powerful Consumers: Exploring Boycotts, Past and Present.
You can find primary sources and activities on this topic at the Alabama Archives: Teacher Packet.