Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Two Essays on Civil Rights

published on: 2/28/2003

Contributing Teacher(s): Michelle Phillips

Subject Area: Communication Arts/Writing/Research

Grade Range: High School (9-12)

Materials Needed:

  • Martin Luther King Jr. "Letter From a Birmingham Jail"
  • John Oliver Killens "Negroes Have a Right to Fight Back"
  • Comparison Contrast chart (on overhead or handout)
  • Questions to accompany reading

Instructional Strategy: Evaluating Student Understanding

Process Standards:

  • Goal 3.6 examine problems and proposed solutions from multiple perspectives
  • Goal 4.1 explain reasoning and identify information used to support decisions

Content Standards:

  • Communication Arts 3. Reading and evaluating nonfiction works and material (such as biographies, newspap...)
  • Communication Arts 4. Writing formally (such as reports, narratives, essays) and informally (such as outlines, notes)


    Time Allowance: 2 weeks depending on ability.

    Description: Comparison/contrast of two civil rights essays. Keywords: Martin Luther King, writing, reading

    Classroom Component: King "Letter" (2 days) Students read the letter in pairs taking turns reading out loud and listening.They answered questions in pairs. Killens Essay (2 days) Students read independently and answered questions. Class discussion of the answers followed. The Chart (day 5) Students created their own chart in their notes by writing the categories I wrote on the board (Non Violence, self defense, civil rights, manhood, segregation) Students brainstormed the ideas each man presented in his writing. Ideas were recorded in student notes and on large sheet of paper for class use. Ideas were labeled as SAME or DIFFERENT The Comparison Contrast Essay (Day 1 week 2) Students were shown an overhead of a sample essay outline by structure. For this assignment, four paragraphs were required (Intro, Comparison, Contrast, Conclusion) handout attached Peer Evaluation (day 2 week 2) A rough draft of the body paragraphs was turned in and evaluated by a peer. Readers labeled the topic sentence and starred the supporting details. They also checked that there was specific evidence from the essay to back up the details. Good Copy (end of week 2) A revised version of all 4 paragraphs was turned in. Students then arranged a conference to discuss and revise their papers Conferences (3 days 20 min each) Dr. Martin Luther King Jr."A Letter From A Birmingham Jail"

    Answer each question on your own paper in complete sentences.

    1. Where is King? Why did he go there?

    2. Why is King concerned with what happens in other places in the South?

    3. What are the steps of nonviolent action?

    4. Explain what would happen if there was a moratorium on all demonstrations.

    5. What is a good-faith negotiation?

    6. What action do King’s supporters take at Easter? Why do they choose this time to act?

    7. What is the goal of a direct action program?

    8. How will freedom be earned?

    9. Explain the source of the "nobodiness" King describes.

    10. Explain the difference between the two types of laws. Create your own example of each.

    11. Would you prefer positive or negative peace? Why?

    12. What is the Zeitgeist during King’s time?

    13. Some people praise the Birmingham police while others criticize them. Which would you do and why?

    14. How doe King think Black people will achieve equality?

    John Oliver Killens "Negroes Have a Right to Fight Back"

    Answer each question on your own paper in complete sentences.

    1. What is admonition?

    2. What helped create the bond between Killens and the Bully?

    3. What is one of the basic attributes of manhood?

    4. Why do you think the children felt happy after the riot? How and why did their feelings change the next day?

    5. What does Killens mean by the statement "Invade this castle at your peril"

    6. Give an example of how a power structure keeps itself going even when it is unjust.

    7. How can racism effect white Americans in a negative way?

    8. Why did the people like Joe Lewis?

    9. Summarize Killen’s view of non-violence.

    10. What is the NSDO and what are their goals?

    11. How does Killens think Black people will achieve equality?

    Comparison of Killens and King Idea How King Felt How Killens Felt   Nonviolence Self Defense Civil Rights Segregation Manhood (Selfhood)
    a way of life that can lead to negotiation it is an effective tactic but, should not be the only way to solve a problem
    turn the other cheek, conducted nonviolent workshops, said "Spit on me and I will still love you" self defense is a basic right of manhood. said "Invade this castle at your peril"
    equality must be demanded. "Freedom must be demanded by the oppressed" freedom must be fought for. "Never give up any right that is guaranteed to any other American"
    Causes hatred and inferiority. King tells his daughter why she can''t go to an amusement park. Talks about sleeping in car. Causes anger and fear. Is punished as a child for a fight while white boys were not.
    A sense of manhood is important. Segregation hurts your sense of self when you are called boy you feel like a nobody Manhood is important. Segregation hurts your sense of self. Joe Louis affirms people''s sense of pride. The way to gain respect is by defending yourself.
    Kings/Killens Comparison Contrast Introduction In this part of the paper you need to give background information about the 1960''s; the Civil Rights movement; and/or Plessy v. Ferguson *last sentence must tell the reader what you are going to talk about Similarities: In this section you will talk about how King and Killens are similiar. TOPIC SENTENCE      ONE SIMILARITY        PROOF FROM KING        PROOF FROM KILLENS      SECOND SIMILARITY        PROOF FROM KING        PROOF FROM KILLENS CONCLUDING SENTENCE Differences: In this section you will discuss King and Killens'' differences. TOPIC SENTENCE      ONE DIFFERENCE        KING''S FEELINGS        KILLEN''S FEELINGS      SECOND DIFFERENCE        KING''S OPINION        KILLEN''S OPINION CONCLUDING SENTENCE Concluding paragraph In this section you may give your opinion ont he issues and the two authors. ALL SUPPORTING EVIDENCE NEEDS TO BE SUPPORTED FROM THE ESSAYS WE READ IN CLASS NO I NO BECAUSE IN A TOPIC SENTENCE Teacher Notes

    I found the Killens'' essay in an old book called "Afro-American Literature". It was a part of an ethnic writers series. I do not know the publisher info or where else it may be published.

    If that essay can not be found, Malcolm X''s speech "By Any Means Necessary" works as well. I know this essay is easier to locate.

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    For additional information contact :
    Michelle Phillips
    Jennings High
    (314) 653-8100

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