Letter from Birmingham Jail
California State Standards for the Social Sciences

The following California State Standards are included in this unit.


11.1 Continuity and Change in the 20th Century

  Students analyze the significant events in the founding of the nation and its attempts to realize the philosophy of government described in the Declaration of Independence.
  1. Describe the Enlightenment and the rise of democratic ideas as the context in which the nation was founded.
  2. Analyze the ideological origins of the American Revolution, the divinely bestowed unalienable natural rights philosophy of the Founding Fathers, the debates on the drafting and ratification of the Constitution, and the addition of the Bill of Rights.
  3. Understand the history of the Constitution after 1787 with emphasis on federal versus state authority and growing democratization.

11.10 Continuity and Change in the 20th Century

  Students analyze the development of federal civil rights and voting rights.
  1. Examine the roles of civil rights advocates (e.g., A. Philip Randolph, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Thurgood Marshall, James Farmer, Rosa Parks), including the significance of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "Letter from Birmingham Jail" and "I Have a Dream" speech.
  2. Discuss the diffusion of the civil rights movement from the churches of the rural South and the urban North, including the resistance to racial desegregation in Little Rock and Birmingham, and how the advances influenced the agendas, strategies, and effectiveness of the quests of American Indians, Asian Americans, and Hispanic Americans for civil rights and equal opportunities.

11.11 Continuity and Change in the 20th Century


Students analyze the major social problems and domestic policy issues in contemporary American society.

  1. Discuss the significant domestic policy speeches of Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton (e.g., with regard to education, civil rights, economic policy, environmental policy).

California State Standards & Framework (PDF)


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  Liberation Curriculum, Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project, ©2004