This section contains 35 slides and covers the emergence of the modern Civil Rights Movement. Students learn that the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education (1954) started out as a class-action lawsuit. The decision is discussed in detail as well as the response to it, which led to the Little Rock crisis of September 1957. Then, the Little Rock crisis is discussed in detail. After the discussion, students are shown a 13-minute video in which President Eisenhower explains his reasons for sending the 101st Airborne to Little Rock. The primary source video provides students the opportunity to evaluate Eisenhower's reasons for themselves. After the video students are asked to respond to a writing prompt. Then, students are asked to express their opinion in writing in response to the following questions: Should Eisenhower have sent the 101st Airborne to Little Rock, or were there other ways to protect the students and uphold the Court order? Could the US Marshals have been used, or a federalized Arkansas National Guard? Why or why not?
Students learn that the Alabama bus boycott of 1955-1956 also was a result of the Brown decision. The boycott is discussed in detail as well as the fact that the actions of Rosa Parks were not spontaneous. They were part of a well-organized plan the backbone of which was the African-American Church. Additionally, the city of Montgomery's response to the boycott is discussed. Then, the court cases that resulted from the boycott are discussed as well as the unfortunate violence that occurred as a result of the boycotts success. Finally, students are asked for their opinion in writing in response to the following questions: Was the boycott successful? Could have succeeded without the court cases or were both necessary for the successful beginning of the modern Civil Rights Movement? Why or why not?
Activities and Resources
Jim Crow South Reading
Eisenhower on Little Rock
Little Rock and EisenhowerPaper A supplemental reading for instructors.
Alabama Bus Boycott Court Cases
Research and Opinion Questions