Montgomery Bus Boycott
Part three: analyzing documents
  Introduction  
 

In this lesson students analyze three primary source documents from the African American Freedom Struggle of the 1950’s and 1960’s. The first document is from the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and encourages students to examine the goals of the march through a human rights framework. The second and third documents provide examples of the relationship between the human rights struggles in the U.S. and in South Africa.

Lesson Objectives:

  • Students will identify the author, subject, date and intended audience of each of the documents.
  • Students will analyze the documents by discussing the purpose, point of view and historical context.
  • Students will compare the content of the document to the Universal Declaration of Human rights in order to identify the common themes.
  • Students will critique the mainstream understanding of the “Civil Rights Movement”.
 
  Activity/Instructions  
 

Classroom set-up:

  • Class set of each of the documents, document analysis worksheet and UDHR.
  • Students will sit in groups of three.

Procedure:

  • If your students have not worked with primary sources before, spend a few minutes defining primary and secondary sources. Explain the importance of analyzing documents in order to construct historical understanding.
  • Place students in groups of three and give each group one of the documents, the document analysis worksheet and a copy of the UDHR.
  • Students will follow the document analysis worksheet as they interpret the document.
  • Using a jig-saw method, have students form new groups so that each group has a ‘student expert’ on one of the three documents. Each student will share the content and their analysis of their document.
  • In a whole class discussion, ask students to make connections between their documents and the UDHR. Which documents reflect the rights in the UDHR? Do the documents provide historical evidence to support a view of the “civil rights movement” contrary to the mainstream perception?
 
 

Materials/Links

 
  Documents:     Resources:  
 

 

   
 
  Questions:

Which documents reflect the rights in the UDHR?
Do the documents provide historical evidence to support a view of the “civil rights movement” contrary to the mainstream perception?
 
Lesson Plan
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  Liberation Curriculum, Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project, ©2004