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Monday, July 1, 2019

10 Civil Rights Movement Activities for Kids

First, let's review the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It is considered the most significant piece of civil rights legislation since Reconstruction, the era immediately following the Civil War.

It was passed on July 2 and prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin in voting, public accommodations, public facilities, public education, federally funded programs, and employment.

Here are 10 civil rights activities for kids in elementary or middle school. You may use them in a social studies unit for Black History Month, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, for African American studies or for other classroom lesson plans.

1. Students may listen to Martin Luther King, Jr.'s, "I Have a Dream Speech" from August 28, 1963 around the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.  

After students listen to the videos, they may answer questions about the speech and the Civil Rights Movement. 

Here is a Quizlet to get you started. Click HERE.

2. Student may listen to real life interviews as provided by the Civil Rights History Project Act of 2009. 

This features interviews providing oral history related to the Civil Rights Movement to obtain justice, freedom and equality for African Americans. 

For example, here is an interview from Ruby Nell Sales. Click HERE.

More interviews my be found HERE.

Here are a five  project ideas for students after listening to an oral history video:

1. Write a summary paper of at least 10 historical facts from the video.

2. Write a reflection paper telling thoughts and feelings from watching the video.

3. Have students watch different videos. Then in small groups, students discuss and share information about their video.

4. Student research more information on a historical fact learned in the video.

5. As a large group, students create a word wall of vocabulary and key phrases compiled from watching oral history videos.

3. Students may view an online exhibit about the March on Washington.

August 28, 2013–August 30, 2014

This exhibition transports visitors to the momentous day of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, August 28, 1963—a day that transformed our nation—when 250,000 people from all walks of life participated in the largest non-violent demonstration for civil rights that Americans had ever witnessed.

Click HERE to see the overview, exhibit items, slideshow and more.

4. Student may explore some of the historic civil rights places online. Click HERE.

After students explore the map, they may choose one location and make a travel brochure leading people to this historic site.

5. Students conduct additional research, and complete a printable Civil Rights timeline.  Click HERE.

6. Research how other people were involved in the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Here are some individuals to get you started: 
  • President John F. Kennedy,
  • President Lyndon B. Johnson,
  • Everett Dirksen,
  • Emanuel Celler,
  • Hubert Humphrey,
  • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,
  • Mike Mansfield,
  • William Moore McCulloch,
  • Roy Wilkins,
  • Clarence Mitchell, and
  • A. Phillip Randolph
Students may then write a story, a poem, or a song about how working together and with others they made the Civil Rights Act of 1964 happen

7. Students may research to discover more male and female Freedom Fighters in history.

Here is a foldable craft activity for students to record their findings. Click HERE to download the file.

8. Have students listen to music from the civil rights era.

Click HERE to listen to samples from Smithsonian Folkways.

9. Provide students with a free printable of Martin Luther King, Jr. facts. Click HERE.

Encourage them to create their own list of facts from other civil rights activists, past or present.

10.  Have the students make a civil rights quilt for the bulletin board.

Give each student a square colorful piece of paper or scrapbooking paper. The size of each square will depend on the size of your bulletin board

Students write write one fact they learned about the Civil Rights Movement and may draw a corresponding picture.



You may also like these printable resources:




 civil rights timeline activities for kids


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