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Civil Rights Unit Study
February 20, 2014 at 3:58 PM

I gave my son a list of possible topics to study.  On this list was civil rights.  I have been scouring the internet looking for ways to break this down in order to teach it in a way that he will be able to understand.  I have a good base but I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions or tips on how to do this.  He is 8 and in the second grade.  Thanks in advance.


  • KickButtMama
    February 20, 2014 at 4:29 PM

    We are working on civil rights now, starting with slavery. We started with the question of how people could view it as not a horrible thing. We watched a National Geographic documentary on Jamestown, the first English settlement. How the Europeans were started and ill Prepared for the trials of trying to start a community here. When the Europeans saw the natives thriving, while they starved and died, jealousy set in. Since they were greatly outnumbered by the natives they couldn't enslave them and make them do the work, so they resorted to shipping in slaves from Africa. Since they were desperate they turned a blind eye to the horrible situations for slaves. To keep from feeling guilty, they engendered a Seperatist rationality. We are not the same. The next movie we watched was Amistad. We just watched it yesterday. It was interesting seeing my 9 y/o try to understand all the major effects of the case. How giving freedom to those 40 slaves could threaten the civil war.  

    Anyway, we are trying to use Hollywood movies to help give a visual picture of certain events or opinions. It can help be less dry than just reading about it in a book.

  • romacox
    by romacox
    February 20, 2014 at 5:36 PM

    What Americans did to the blacks, Indians, Japanese and Mexican was terrible, and needs to be taught.  But don't leave out the following information. ...It needs to be taught too.

    1.  Visiting a black college had a profound effect on Ben Franklin. Several years later he joined an abolition Society. Franklin came to believe that slavery should be ended, and eventually freed his own two slaves.

    2.  "James Madison, who is known as the architect of the Constitution said, "Twenty years will produce all the mischief that can be apprehended from the liberty to import slaves. So long a term will be more dishonorable to the American character than to say nothing about it in the Constitution"

    3.  Article I Section 9 Of The Constitution was written to end slavery in 1808, and this is why slave owners did not want blacks learning to read..: "The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each person."

    Read more here:

    4.  · Joseph Hayne Rainey, a black man, served in the House Of Representatives from 1870–1879. He was a Republican representing his State of South Carolina. In fact we had several black representatives, and revolutionary heroes.

    5.  · A heroic African American rode with Paul Revere that famous night. He is found in the older documents, but now written out of the history books. His name is Wentworth Cheswell

    6.  · Some of our Founding fathers participated in the underground railroad to free slaves.

    We have all heard about Paul Revere, George Washington, and Patrick Henry...all White men. But what about the many women who were Revolutionary heroes...women like Abagail Adams, Esther Reed, Rebecca Motte, and many others? What about the many black revolutionary like Phillip Abbot, Jack Arabus, and many more?

    read more here:

    Martin Luther King studied the Constitution, and when we teach our children the whole story his ,"I Have A Dream Speech" becomes much more meaningful

    I was sharing these things with a group, and a black man said he knew about many of these things.  His family passed it down from generation to generation, because it was not being passed down in modern text books.  

  • romacox
    by romacox
    February 22, 2014 at 7:37 AM

  • kirbymom
    February 22, 2014 at 7:06 PM
    These are some great ways to teach about civil rights. Not sure I could do any better. Good job ladies! :)
  • Codysmom2106
    February 22, 2014 at 10:05 PM

    Thank you ladies for your advice.  There is so much information to go over I think its going to take me a little bit to get everything together.  Hopefully it will work out okay. :)

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