“Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground.”Frederick Douglasss
Note: I am no longer in the classroom; however, I want to share this lesson with all of you. I am now supporting English teachers with their instruction 🙂
Every year, both my freshman and junior English classes read and discuss acts of civil disobedience. The only difference this year is that we will be looking at a more in depth analysis of how racism plays a vital role in our country. Despite the reservations that some teachers might have about having this conversation with their students, it’s not about being divisive, on the contrary, it’s about becoming active citizens in order to bring much needed change to our country.
We can no longer look the other way and expect things to change out of sheer hope. Hence, I have curated a list of acts of civil disobedience that will assist in having some much needed difficult discussions in our classrooms. Some of these acts are accompanied by essential *historical context that students must know in order to make deeper connections.
Hoping that many of us have the courage to teach the lasting impact of racism in our country as a way to eradicate it in all its manifestations both at the micro and macro levels.
- Students will synthesize sources to learn how past acts of civil disobedience enacted or eradicated social change.
- Students will synthesize sources to learn how current acts of civil disobedience enacts or eradicates social change.
- Students will evaluate policies that create or hinder social change in our country.
- What is civil disobedience? Is there a right or wrong way to protest? (time, place, destruction, defacing…)
- What is the exigence and occasion?
- Who is the speaker?
- Who is the primary and secondary audience?
- What is the purpose ?
- Who is supporting and opposing this act of civil disobedience? Why?
- Did we change or create policies that will help us move forward? If yes, which ones? If no, why not?
- Was this form of protest effective or ineffective? Why?
Civil Disobedience Defined
- Henry David Thoreau “On Civil Disobedience”
- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “Letter From Birmingham Jail”
- Malcolm X “The Ballot or The Bullet“
Civil Rights Protests
- Mendez vs Westminster 1946*
- Hernandez vs Texas 1954*
- Brown vs Board of Education 1954*
- Ole Miss Protest 1970
- Protesters Expelled From College Get Apology 2018
Police Brutality Protests
- Rochester Riots 1964
- Watts Riots 1965
- Detroit Riots 1967
- Miami Riots 1980
- Los Angeles Riots 1992
- Cincinnati 2001
- Ferguson 2014
- Baltimore 2015
- Charlotte 2016
- George Floyd 2020
- Forced Sterilization of Mexican Americans 1907*
- Mexican-American Repatriation 1929*
- CA Targeted Latinas for Sterilization 1942*
- Stricter Laws For Immigration Protest 2006
- Immigration Protesters Pressure Obama 2014
- Families Belong Together Protest 2018
- Bipartisanship With Immigration 2019
- North Dakota Pipeline Protest 2016
- North Dakota Pipeline Protest Time 2016
- North Dakota Pipeline Timeline NPR 2017
- North Dakota Environmental Review NPR 2020
Recommended Reading for Historical Context
- Three-Fifths Compromise of 1787
- Black Codes 1865-1968
- Founding of the KKK 1865
- The Compromise of 1877
- The New Deal 1933
- George Stinney Jr 1944
- Emmett Till 1955
- Black Panthers 1966
- Medgar Evers 1963
- Malcolm X 1965
- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr 1968
- Shooting in Charleston Church 2015