1. Like the previous lesson on Vietnam, it is impossible to capture all of the significant content surrounding this topic in one lesson, so I have chosen a few events, people, and ideas to try to cover the basics. This idea truly should be taught over the span of a week or even longer.
2. Show students footage of Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech and Malcolm X's "By Any Means Necessary" speech. They can be found here:
(Both are abridged versions. There are full-length ones also available on YouTube if you wish to use them.)
Have students compare and contrast the tone and content of each speech. Talk about the difference of experience between African-Americans living in the Jim Crow south and those living in de facto segregation in northern cities. Make the point that legal equality can be enforced (and would be), but that economic inequality and bigotry are much more difficult to address through legislation.
3. Have students read excerpts from the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or Voting Rights Act of 1965, which can be found here:
It would be best to pick shorter excerpts, since the document is very long, especially if you have lower level readers.
Ask students: what does the document do? What problems does it address? What kinds of problems would it not be able to touch?
4. Have students read the platform of the Black Panther Party, which can be found here:
Ask students: what kinds of problems are in evidence in this document? Whose words are closely followed in parts of this document? Why?
5. Finally, show students footage of Walter Cronkite announcing King's assassination in 1968, which can be found here:
Then show them footage of some of the resulting riots, which can be found here:
Finish by again drawing the distinction between the problems that were addressed in the 1960's and the ones that were not.