United States History

Civil Rights Unit

Purpose: To analyze the struggle of minorities and women for civil rights and equality in the United States. To compare the leadership methods of various political and religious movements in their struggle for civil rights and to evaluate if these movements have succeeded.

Goals: At the end of this unit students will be able to:

    1. trace the African-American struggle for civil rights from the 1950s to the present.
    2. compare Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm Xs philosophies on achieving equality.
    3. explore the struggles for equality of other groups including: the United Farm workers, Native Americans, Women and Gay/ Lesbians.
    4. explain the concept of affirmative action and express their opinion on the issue.
    5. evaluate if the Civil Rights movement was a success.

Skills: At the end of this unit students will be able to:

    1. analyze a photograph / slide
    2. role play in a civil rights conflict
    3. write a short position paper
    4. conduct a debate involving civil rights issues



Homework Assignments (15 points)

Class Participation: including daily warm-ups, student response sheet, handouts, small group projects (30 points)

Debates (80 points)

Unit Test (100 points)



Due on: Thursday March 27, 2003

Read Chapter 19 Section 1 Answer the following: (5 points)

1) Explain how the activities of existing civil rights organizations laid the groundwork for the movement of the 1960s?

2) Describe the philosophy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. brought to the movement.

3) Explain why students formed their own civil rights organizations.


Due on: Monday March 31, 2003

Read Chapter 19 Section 2 Answer the following: (5 points)

1. Describe the goal of sit-ins and Freedom Rides and the reactions they March provoked. Would you have participated in them? Why or Why not?

2. Summarize civil rights protests in Albany, Georgia and at "Ole Miss".

3. Explain how violence against protestors in Birmingham affected attitudes throughout the nation.


Due on: Tuesday April 1, 2003

Read Chapter 19 Section 4 Answer the following: (5 points)

1. Compare the ways James Baldwin, Malcolm X and other African- American expressed anger at the pace of the civil rights movement.

2. Explain the principles and tactics used by advocates of black power.

3. In your opinion did the African-American Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s succeed? Why or Why not?

Debate Assignment (80 points)

Overview: The class will be divided up into pairs and pre-assigned a topic with either a pro or con position. Each group will be given class time to research their topic in the library and given no homework during the week so they can focus on the debate. The groups will present their arguments both orally (class debate) and in writing (2 page position paper including bibliography).

Format of Debate:

  1. Pro Position presents their arguments (5 minutes)
  2. Con Position presents their arguments (5 minutes)
  3. Pro Rebuttal (2 minutes)
  4. Con Rebuttal (2 minutes)
  5. Class Discussion/ Questions (5 minutes)


Format of Paper: A 2 page typed/ 3 page handwritten paper that includes an introduction to the issue, arguments supporting your position and a conclusion summarizing the main points of the issue is due the day of your debate. A bibliography with a minimum of 3 different types of sources is also required.


All position papers must be turned in on April 11, 2003


The Topics:

  1. Should the Equal Rights Amendment be ratified? (Women rights) [April 7]
  2. Should casino gaming be allowed on Native American reservations? (California Proposition 5 or 1A) [April 7]
  3. Should gay/lesbian marriages be recognized? (California Proposition 22) [April 8]
  4. Should the United States allow oil drilling on federal property in Alaska? (Environmental Movement) [April 8]
  5. Should agricultural business owners be forced to improve pay and working conditions for migrant farm workers? (Cesar Chavez) [April 8]
  6. Should affirmative action be legal? California Proposition 209 (UC Regents (Davis) vs. Bakke) [April 9]
  7. Should there be gun control laws? [April 9]

Assessment: Students will receive a separate grade for both the written position paper (worth 40 points) and for their participation in the debate (worth 40 points)


Civil Rights Issues Debate Rubric

5=Excellent 4= Very Good 3= Satisfactory 2=Needs Improvement 1=poor

Position Paper (40 points)

1. Paper follows proper format: typed 2 pages, intro, body, conclusion, and bibliography.

2. Paper is well written in terms of spelling, sentence structure and punctuation.

3. Paper has an introduction, which clearly explains your position on the issue.

4. Paper argues your position backed up with specific facts from sources.

5. Paper provides a conclusion that summarizes your main points.

6. Paper contains minimum of 3 different sources.

7. Paper contains typed bibliography following MLA format

8. Paper strongly convinces reader that your position is correct.


Debate (worth 40 points)

1. Students make use of research time in library by providing note card of sources.

2. Students make positive contributions to their group and deserve group grade

3. Students are prepared to present their debate issue on time.

4. Students make an effective argument for their position.

5. Students present effective rebuttal to the other sides arguments.

6. Students argue their side using facts/ analogies to back up their opinions.

7. Students make proper eye contact and project their voice during debate.

8. Students treat the other team with respect while presenting. (i.e. no interrupting.)

Unit Test / Notebook Check on Friday April 11, 2003