Putting the Movement Back into Civil Rights Teaching


Putting the MovementAwarded the 2004 Philip C. Chinn Multicultural Book Award by the National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME).

As one of the most commonly taught stories of people’s struggles for social justice, the Civil Rights Movement has the capacity to help students develop a critical analysis of United States history and strategies for change. However, the empowering potential is often lost in a trivial pursuit of names and dates.

Putting the Movement Back into Civil Rights Teaching, published by Teaching for Change and Poverty and Race Research Action Council (PRRAC), provides lessons and articles for K-12 educators on how to go beyond a heroes approach to the Civil Rights Movement.

The book includes interactive and interdisciplinary lessons, readings, writings, photographs, graphics, and interviews, with sections on education, labor, citizenship, culture, and reflections on teaching about the Civil Rights Movement.


Affiliations at time quote was provided.

“Breathtaking in its array of interdisciplinary lessons, readings, photographs, primary source documents, and interviews, this fertile resource helps students move beyond the “heroes approach” toward a more critical analysis of the civil rights movement.” —Social Studies School Service

“Everyone should learn the story of the Civil Rights Movement. The struggle is depicted here vividly and profoundly by a distinguished roster of authors. Their accounts and analysis should inspire teachers as well as students. This book is as academically rigorous as it is innovative—it is an excellent resource.” —Frank H. Wu, author of Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White

“This strong and moving book helps introduce, inform, and illuminate for a new generation the powerful lessons of the civil rights movement for our work today. It will help teachers ‘serve as midwives’ for a more just and caring society.” —Linda Darling-Hammond, Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education Stanford University

“Civil rights teaching should lift up extraordinary leaders whose personal courage and sacrifice transformed our nation and our history. But it should also recognize the thousands of other acts of resistance and civil disobedience—by neighbors, grandmothers, youth, and everyday heroes—that created an unstoppable tidal wave of ethical conscience and human progress. Putting the Movement Back into Civil Rights Teaching is a unique collection of urgent voices who remind us that true and lasting movements for social, economic, and racial justice begin with you and me.” —Wendy D. Puriefoy, President, Public Education Network

“Putting the Movement Back into Civil Rights Teaching helps teachers and students understand the complexities of the change process in society, making the study of history immediately relevant. In this teaching guide, the Civil Rights Movement claims its rightful place as the inspiration for broader movements for democratic change. This book might just help re-inspire a whole new generation of teachers and students to a life of activism and movement building, not to mention help teachers impart a real understanding of history.” —Mark Simon, Director, MCEA (NEA), Johns Hopkins University Center For Teacher Leadership

“Putting the Movement Back into Civil Rights Teaching gets to the roots of the Movement. It takes the reader beyond the famous leaders, displaying the depth of history, drawing international connections and showing how the pieces of the Movement actually fit together.” — Bill Fletcher Jr., President, TransAfrica Forum

“This is a wonderful resource and will appeal to teachers who want their students to understand that they themselves can play a role in re-making the world.” —Nancy Murray, Director, Bill of Rights Education Project, ACLU of Massachusetts

“This is a much-needed resource for classrooms, and I think it does succeed in putting the Movement back into civil rights teaching!” —Enid Lee, co-editor, Beyond Heroes and Holidays

“It seems to me that the primary strength of this project is its breadth. The book covers a wide range of topics and concerns, including a variety of historical events, several Movement participants, and an array of pedagogical tools and strategies. The combination of lesson plans, historical information, and theoretical analysis makes this a compelling volume. I anticipate that it will be a valuable aid to teachers both in their teaching and in their own understanding of the Movement.” —Stephen Ward, Assistant Professor, Afro-American and African Studies University of Michigan

Putting the Movement Back into Civil Rights Teaching is one of the only curricula to connect the Civil Rights Movement to the struggles of Native Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, and women. It’s an incredible tool not just for teaching history, but also for teaching students to take up the legacy these movements helped to create.” —Ariana Quiñones, Deputy Vice President for Education, National Council of La Raza

Credit: Edited by Deborah Menkart, Alana Murray, and Jenice L. View. Published by Teaching for Change and the Poverty and Race Research Action Council (PRRAC), 2004.

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