Community Organizing


  • Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights Scrapbook

    The Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights (ACMHR) was a civil rights organization formed in 1956 after the NAACP was banned in that state. The ACMHR participated in major demonstrations in Birmingham between 1956 and 1965, from organizing boycotts of segregated businesses, to challenging segregation laws in court. This newsletter from 1961 documents some of the activities of the ACHMR; a program and donation card illustrate the group's fundraising efforts.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Bus to the Burbs

    Ten years after the Supreme Court ruled that segregated schools were unconstitutional, the vast majority of American schools remained segregated. In Boston, a group of black parents began busing their children to better schools in predominantly white neighborhoods. The Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunities (METCO) busing program remains a strategy for integration today. This video segment from La Plaza: Bus to the Burbs takes a closer look at the METCO program.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Colonel Stone Johnson

    During the Civil Rights Movement, black civil rights activists often risked their lives to promote racial equality. Colonel Stone Johnson, shown in this interview, was among those who offered protection and tried to prevent violence against African Americans, which ranged from beatings to bombings.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Concerned White Citizens of Alabama Scrapbook

    In response to the strict segregation and racial violence that doggedAlabama's black community in the 1960s, 72 whites formed the ConcernedWhite Citizens of Alabama. They promoted equality and marched insupport of voting rights for African Americans. This scrapbook containsthe group's constitution, a flyer from 1965, membership cards, and astatement of purpose that was used in a voting rights demonstration.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Decision in the Streets

    In the early 1960s, students from the University of California, Berkeley, and other civil rights activists formed the Ad Hoc Committee to End Racial Discrimination and took to the streets of San Francisco to protest racial inequality and unfair hiring practices. This video segment recalls their demonstrations of 1963-64.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Diane Nash and the Sit-Ins

    In this interview, civil-rights leader Diane Nash recalls her role in the 1960 Nashville sit-ins, the 1961 Freedom Rides, and the 1965 voting rights campaign in Selma, Alabama. As one of the founders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Nash mobilized her fellow college students to confront segregation and discrimination with nonviolent direct action. This resource is part of the Civil Rights collection.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Eileen Kelley Walbert

    In the 1960s, Birmingham, Alabama's strict segregation laws, andviolence against blacks, inspired whites like Eileen Walbert, shown inthis interview, to form the Concerned White Citizens of Alabama. Walbertand other sympathetic whites participated in demonstrations for racialequality. Like many civil rights activists, they too suffered reprisals.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Eleventh Commandment Flyer

    Organizers of a 1962 selective buying campaign created and posted flyers with the slogan "The Eleventh Commandment: Thou Shalt Stay Out of Downtown Birmingham." This flyer represents collaboration among students at Miles College, Daniel Payne College, and the Booker T. Washington Business College. The student-led campaign encouraged African Americans to boycott stores and restaurants that discriminated against them.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Freedom Riders: Freedom Riders Create Change

    In this video segment adapted from American Experience: "Freedom Riders," view newsreel footage, archival photos, and interviews to explore how the Freedom Rides of 1961 brought about the end of racial segregation in interstate transportation. The Freedom Riders, aware that their nonviolent protest would elicit violence from some Southerners attempting to enforce local segregation laws, were determined to continue their protest even in the face of possible arrest. A series of events involving the U.S. attorney general, a U.S. senator, the governor of Mississippi, and a federal agency put an end to discriminatory practices in public transportation. This initial, unambiguous victory for the Civil Rights Movement paved the way for further progress. This resource is part of the American Experience: Freedom Riders Collection.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Freedom Riders: Fresh Troops

    In this video segment from the American Experience: "Freedom Riders" Web site, view newsreel footage, interviews, and archival photos to explore how students in Nashville, Tennessee, prepared for civil rights protests by training in the techniques of nonviolent direct action. This training prepared them for several initial efforts focused on the Nashville community and made them ideal reinforcements when attacks by white mobs decimated the ranks of the first Freedom Riders in 1961. This resource is part of the American Experience: Freedom Riders Collection.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Hyde County School Boycott

    Ten years after the Supreme Court ruled that segregated schools were unconstitutional, schools in Hyde County, North Carolina, remained segregated. When the county was forced to desegregate the schools in 1968, the all-white school board decided to close the historically black schools. A yearlong protest revolutionized race relations in the small, rural town, and changed the face of education for its students.
    Grades: 3-12
  • Mendez v. Westminster: Desegregating California's Schools

    In 1946, eight years before the landmark Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education, Mexican Americans in Orange County, California won a class action lawsuit to dismantle the segregated school system that existed there. In this video segment, Sylvia Mendez recalls the conditions that triggered the lawsuit and her parents' involvement in the case.

    Grades: 3-12
  • Freedom Riders: The Inspiration

    In this video segment from the American Experience: "Freedom Riders" Web site, watch interviews and newsreel footage and see archival photos to learn how Mahatma Gandhi, the leader in the struggle for an independent India, inspired and influenced those engaged in the struggle to end racial discrimination in the United States. Gandhi's use of nonviolence had allowed the people of India to win independence from Great Britain in 1947. While Gandhi declined an invitation from American civil rights leaders to become directly involved in the U.S. struggle for equal rights, his encouragement persuaded them that the tactic of nonviolence also held great potential in a struggle for the rights of a minority. This resource is part of the American Experience: Freedom Riders collection

    Grades: 6-12
  • Joe Dickson

    In this interview, Joe Dickson recalls his days as a student at Miles College in the late 1950s and early 1960s. He describes the relationship between student activists and two successive college presidents. The first, Dr. William Augustus Bell, discouraged student involvement in the early years of the Civil Rights Movement. He feared student activism would trigger white resistance and adversely affect fundraising. The second, Dr. Lucius Pitts, supported student activism and participated in negotiations between white businessmen and black students.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Lola Hendricks

    The leadership of the Civil Rights Movement was largely defined by major figures like Martin Luther King Jr., but behind the scenes were people like Lola Hendricks who helped organize the community and filed lawsuits to end discrimination and segregation. In this interview, Hendricks describes her role in the Civil Rights movement.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Miriam McClendon

    Miriam McClendon was 14 years old when she became involved in the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham, Alabama. In this video segment, McClendon describes how she left school to participate in the Children's Crusade of 1963 and was then arrested and jailed for several days.

    Grades: 3-12
  • NOVA: Percy Julian: Forgotten Genius | Moving to Oak Park

    Learn about the racial violence sparked when chemist Percy Julian moved his family into an exclusive suburb in 1950. Study both the threats and the support the family experienced from the Oak Park community, from the NOVA program Percy Julian: Forgotten Genius.

    Grades: 6-12
  • The Murder of Emmett Till

    Watch this video segment—adapted from AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: "The Murder of Emmett Till”—to learn the story of a 14-year-old black boy who was brutally murdered on a visit to Mississippi from Chicago in 1955. After Emmett whistled at a white woman, he was beaten and murdered by two white men; they were later found innocent by an all-white jury. Emmett’s tragic death and the subsequent publicity about the trial helped spark the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Reconstruction and Black Education

    Before the Civil War, most southern states made it illegal to educate slaves, but many enslaved people did learn to read and write. During the post-Civil War Reconstruction era, the number of schools and the literacy rate for African Americans increased dramatically. This mini-documentary, produced for the American Experience: "Reconstruction" Web site, follows the development of schools for African Americans as well as the resistance it sparked.

    Grades: 3-12
  • Rev. Frank Dukes: Selective Buying Campaign

    In 1962, Miles College student Frank Dukes helped organize andparticipated in a selective buying campaign in Birmingham, Alabama. Byboycotting downtown businesses that discriminated against them, AfricanAmericans used buying power as political leverage in the struggle forequality. In this interview, Dukes describes his role in the grassrootseffort that shook Birmingham's economy.

    Grades: 6-12

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