Friday, May 22, 2015

Peaceful Approaches to Civil Rights

published on: 2/28/2003

Contributing Teacher(s): Judy McLain

Subject Area: Special Education/Instructional Strategies

Grade Range: Middle Grades (6-8), High School (9-12)

Materials Needed:

  • References - encyclopedias, library books, computers with Internet access
  • List of questions about civil rights leaders
  • Computer with PowerPoint program
  • Example of double cell diagram (graphic organizer)


  1. The students will use biographical information to compare and contrast the lives of the civil rights leaders.
  2. The students will use word-mapping strategies to organize related information.

Instructional Strategy: Identify similarities and differences

Process Standards:

  • Goal 1.2 conduct research to answer questions and evaluate information and ideas
  • Goal 1.4 use technological tools and other resources to locate, select and organize information
  • Goal 1.6 discover and evaluate patterns and relationships in information, ideas and structures

Content Standards:

  • Communication Arts 3. Reading and evaluating nonfiction works and material (such as biographies, newspap...)
  • Communication Arts 6. Participating in formal and informal presentations and discussions of issues and ideas


    Time Allowance: Four class periods/therapy sessions (50 minutes each)

    Description: Allows students to extend previously learned compare/contrast skills to complete research about civil rights leaders.

    Classroom Component: Implementation

    1. Students will be assigned to find biographical information about a civil rights leader—Martin Luther King, Jr. or Mohandas Gandhi.
    2. Students may research the leaders using encyclopedias (hard copies, on-line, or on CD-ROM), Internet search engines, biographies (hard copies or CD-ROM), or other resources as approved by the instructor.
    3. The students will be given a list of questions to be answered about the civil rights leader.
    4. After the students have completed the questions about the leaders, teams of students will be formed. Each team will consist of one Martin Luther King, Jr. "expert" and one Gandhi "expert."
    5. Each team will receive a set of discussion questions. Each "expert" will present information about the leader that he/she has studied.
    6. The team will develop a graphic organizer (a double cell diagram) to compare and contrast information about the civil rights leaders'' lives.
    7. The students will present their information in a PowerPoint presentation. The presentation should include the following:

      • Biographical information about each man
      • Education/career information about each man
      • Major civil rights activities of each man
      • Similarities of the civil rights leaders
      • Differences of civil rights leaders


    Highlighting information in printed articles, increasing teacher assistance during the team discussion activity by asking additional questions for clarification, and/or having the students respond orally and the teacher write the response to discussion questions. Time to complete project may also be extended.

    Supplemental Resources:

    • The 1999 World Book Deluxe on CD Rom
    • "The Graphic Organizer Home Page"

    blank double cell diagram

    double cell diagram guide


    Martin Luther King, Jr.

    1. When and where was Martin Luther King, Jr. born?


    2. What was his early life (or family life) like?

    3. Did he go to college? What did he study?

    4. When did he get married and to whom? How many children did they have?

    5. Where did he first work?

    6. What were some of his early involvements in the civil rights movement?

    7. What organizations was he involved with?

    8. Who were some of his opponents? Why did they oppose him?

    9. List three of his major civil rights activities.

    10. List three highlights of Martin Luther King, Jr.''s life as a civil rights leader.

    11. When, where, and how did he die?

    12. He wrote five books. What were they about?

    Martin Luther King, Jr. - Answer Sheet
    1. He was born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia.
    2. He had one older sister and one younger brother. His father was a pastor. He was a very good student.
    3. He attended Morehouse College, Crozer Theological Seminary, and Boston University. He studied theology.
    4. He married Coretta Scott in 1953. They had four children.
    5. His first job was as a pastor at Dexter Ave. Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama.
    6. He protested the segregated bus system of Montgomery, Alabama (Rosa Parks). He led the March on Washington.
    7. Organizations included: Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and the Poor People''s Campaign.
    8. His opponents included "Black Power" supporters who believed in an aggressive response to violence and supporters of the Vietnam War who supported the government involvement in the war.
    9. Bus boycott, March on Washington, Selma marches, Chicago Campaign, Poor People''s Campaign.
    10. "I have a Dream" speech, 1964 Nobel Peace Prize, Voting Rights Act of 1965.
    11. Assassinated by James Earl Ray in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968.
    12. His program of nonviolence based on Christian teachings.


    Mohandas Gandhi

    1. When and where was Mohandas Gandhi born?

    2. What was his early life (or family life) like?

    3. Did he go to college? What did he study?

    4. When did he get married and to whom? How many children did they have?

    5. What was his first job?

    6. How did he become involved in the civil rights movement?

    7. What organization(s) was Gandhi involved with?

    8. Who were some of his opponents? Why did they oppose him?

    9. List three major civil rights activities that he was involved in.

    10. List three highlights of Mohandas Gandhi''s struggle for rights for Indians.

    11. When, where, and how did he die?

    12. The people had a special name for Gandhi. What was it and what did it mean?

    Mohandas Gandhi - Answer Sheet

    1. October 2, 1869, in Porbandor, India.
    2. Parents belonged to merchant caste. He was a shy, serious boy.
    3. He studied law in London, England.
    4. He married Kasturba when they were both only 13 years old. They had four children.
    5. He began practicing law in India in 1891.
    6. He was discriminated against in South Africa because he was an Indian trying to claim his rights as a British subject.
    7. Indian miners and the Indian nationalist movement.
    8. British imperial government—Gandhi organized opposition to the Indian nationalist movement.
    9. Indian miners strike, Amritsar Massacre, Hand spinning and weaving project, Salt Acts protests, Freedom for India from British rule
    10. Development of Satyagraka, Leader of Indian nationalist movement, and granting of freedom for India in 1947
    11. He was assassinated on the way to a prayer meeting in New Delhi on January 18, 1948, by a Hindu fanatic.
    12. Mahatma—Great Soul


    Team Discussion Questions

    1. Religion played an important role in Martin Luther King, Jr.''s and Gandhi''s lives. To what religious group did each man belong? <

      For additional information contact :
      Judy McLain
      Central Jr. High
      Cape Girardeau 63
      (573) 334-2923

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