Teaching American History Project Lesson
  Stacey Chambers

Author: Stacey Chambers

Unit title: Civil Rights

Lesson title: “I Have a Dream”

Subject: Social Studies

Level: 4-6

Length of Lesson: 3 – 45 minute lessons

Introduction:
The Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Lincoln in 1863 was the foundation for freeing slaves.  Yet 100 years later when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous “I Have A Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, African-Americans were in the midst of a national struggle for equal protection under the law.

Soon after the signing of the 13th amendment which legally abolished slavery, a group of laws referred to as the Jim Crow laws were passed in the south establishing  segregation between Blacks and Whites.  These laws furthered the inequality between the races. They were challenged and upheld in the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Plessy v. Ferguson 1896.  The U.S. Supreme Court decided that separate but equal facilities for different races was legal.

The Civil Rights Movement was spurred on with the Supreme Court Decision of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 1954.  The Supreme Court reversed the previous decision of Plessy v. Fergusson and stated that separate schools are by nature unequal.  Schools were ordered to desegregate.

Many events between 1954 and 1964 brought the Civil Rights Movement in to full swing.  These events included the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School, the Montgomery bus boycott, the jailing of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Birmingham riots, Governor Wallace’s attempt to desegregate the University of Alabama., and the March on Washington.

The Civil Rights Act was passed in July of 1964.  Congress passed laws forbidding racial discrimination in many areas of life, including hotels, voting, employment, and schools.

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This is one lesson in a series of three of Civil Rights.  This lesson covers the Nevada State Content Standard and Benchmarks 9.5.8. It will introduce students to the major points of Dr. King’s speech and the struggles African-Americans, as well as the nation, have undergone to obtain equal rights under the law.

Students will view primary sources to uncover the injustices against African-Americans.  They will view pictures of segregated facilities to uncover inequalities in services. They will listen to a sound byte of Dr. King’s famous speech and analyze the contents of his speech. 

 

Objectives:
Students will view, interpret, and analyze primary sources using an analysis worksheet and orally present their findings.
Students will reflect and respond emotionally in writing to primary sources on segregation.
Students will interpret and summarize the major parts of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and present them orally.
Students will reflect and respond in writing to Dr. King’s speech.

 

Standards:

2.4.3 Apply skills and strategies of summarizing, making inferences, paraphrasing, and drawing conclusions to aid comprehension.
2.4.4Use note taking, outlining, and summarizing to organize and understand information from text.
4.4.3 Develop hypotheses based upon prior knowledge and information from a text
4.5.5 Identify authors’ ideas and purposes in texts including advertisements and public documents.
5.5.5 Write summaries of oral and written stories, non-fiction texts and/or cross-curriculum content.
6.4.3 Write compositions of at least one paragraph with a main idea and supporting details.
8.4.2 Listen to identify how speaking techniques are used to convey a message
8.4.3 Recognize that language and dialects vary in different contexts, regions, and cultures.
8.5.1 Interpret a speaker’s verbal and non-verbal messages, purposes, and viewpoint; distinguish fact from opinion.
8.6.1 Identify the tone, mood, and emotion conveyed in both verbal and non-verbal communication.
9.4.2 Select and use appropriate public speaking techniques such as rate, pace, and enunciation.
10.2.2 Identify the major points in Dr. King’s  “I Have a Dream” speech.
10.4.1 Contribute to and listen attentively in conversations and group discussions.
10.4.2 Ask and answer questions with relevant details to clarify ideas.
10.4.3 Share ideas, opinions, and information clearly and effectively.

 

In Class Student Activities:
Start by displaying Farmington High School and Moton High School photos as the focus activity.  Then elicit answers and questions from students about the photos, recording observations and questions on the board or chart paper.  This is the basis for the photo analysis worksheet they will complete later in this lesson.

Students will then work in groups of two to observe, interpret, and analyze different segregation photos.  They will complete a photo analysis sheet and share their photograph and findings with the class.

Students will respond in their writing journals to these questions:
“What impact do these photos have on you?  Describe your feelings and thoughts.”
“What rights did African Americans have to fight for?
“What rights do you take for granted?”      

Students will listen to an audio recording of Dr. Kings’ “I Have a Dream” speech to familiarize themselves with it before going over written excerpts of his speech. Have them make observations based upon their listening.  What kind of audience?  Where?  What did they want? Etc.

Preface the reading assignment by summarizing the beginning of his speech (paragraphs 1-12) up to the “I have a dream” sections (paragraphs 13-16). 

Dr. King and his followers met on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963, to remind the nation that Abraham Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation over 100 years ago. Yet, Black Americans continued to be suppressed under the chains of segregation.  He reminds the people that according to the great words of the founding fathers, “ALL men were created equal and were guaranteed rights”. However, his people were not given these rights.  Therefore they were here to demand what was due to them under the Constitution and Declaration of Independence in a nonviolent manner and that they would continue to fight peacefully for equal rights.

Give each group of students one section of the remaining paragraphs of the “I Have a Dream” speech.  Each group is to read and summarize each section using key words and ideas.  They will determine how their group wants to display the information they obtained from their passage of Dr. King’s speech (i.e. retelling, poster, play, etc.) and share their summaries with the class.

Students will respond in their writing journals to these questions:

“What exactly was Dr. Kings hoping for in his speech?”
“How have things changed for African- Americans?  Explain your answer.
“Do you believe that all men and women are treated equal today? Why or why not”

Students will listen to and view a media production of Dr. King’s speech infused with bits of civil rights highlights and oral histories.

           
Extended Enrichment Activities:

  1. Write an essay about their dreams for their future.
  2. Make a timeline of Dr. King’s important life events that relate to Civil Rights.
  3. Write a biographical report on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. or an aspect of the Civil Rights movement.

 

Materials List:

Farmville and Moton High school photos from http://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/davis-case to be displayed on the overhead, TV hook-up, or computer as the focus activity.

Photo analysis worksheet from http://www.archives.gov/digital_classroom/lessons/analysis_worksheets/photo.html
and copy the worksheet, one for each group of two students.

Segregation photos from http://www.loc.gov/rr/print/list/085_disc.html. one photo for each group of two students.

Audio of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech from http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/Ihaveadream.htm

Copy of Dr. King’s speech from http://www.usconstitution.net/dream.html,  one for each group of students and one for yourself.

 

Evaluation /Assessment:

Write a summary paragraph highlighting the major points of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. 

 

Bibliography/Citation:
Farmville and Moton High school photos from http://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/davis-case to be displayed on the overhead, TV hook-up, or computer as the focus activity.

Photo analysis worksheet from http://www.archives.gov/digital_classroom/lessons/analysis_worksheets/photo.html
and copy the worksheet, one for each group of two students.

Segregation photos from http://www.loc.gov/rr/print/list/085_disc.html. one photo for each group of two students.

Audio of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech from http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/Ihaveadream.htm

Copy of Dr. King’s speech from http://www.usconstitution.net/dream.html,  one for each group of students and one for yourself.

 

Additional resources and references:
Martin Luther King, Jr.
http://www.archives.gov/northeast/nyc/exhibits/mlk.html
 
Martin Luther King, Jr. http://www.americaslibrary.gov/cgi-bin/page.cgi/jb/wwii/king_4

Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream Speech” (condensed version) http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/Ihaveadream.htm

The King Center http://thekingcenter.com/

14th Amendment http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/today/jul28.html

Plessy v. Ferguson http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/today/may18.html 

Civil Rights Era http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/aaohtml/exhibit/aopart9.html 

Civil Rights http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/ndlpedu/community/cc_civilrights.php 

Civil Rights Sites http://www.cr.nps.gov/nr/travel/civilrights/sitelist1.htm