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The American Civil Rights Movement

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Black History Month 2013


Black History Month from Comprehensive explanation of BHM, with links to bios of famous African-Americans.


Frederick Douglass (1818 - 1895)
Frederick Douglass.jpg

He was an escaped slave who taught himself to read and write. He was the best known black abolitionist.
He was the voice of the slaves, "gaining note for his dazzling oratory and incisive antislavery writings."
He stood as a living counter-example to slaveholders' arguments that slaves lacked the intellectual capacity
to function as independent American citizens.
Even many Northerners at the time found it hard to believe that such a great orator had once been a slave."
After the Civil War, he wrote and spoke in support of women's civil rights, especially their right to vote.
Here is an autobiographical site from Rochester, N.Y. timeline of Frederick Douglass and family It's full
of grammatical and spelling errors, but also full of facts for student researchers.




Maya Angelou was an American author, poet, and civil rights activist. She published seven
biographies, three books of essays, and several books of poetry, and was credited with a list of plays,
movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years. (Wikipedia)
Maya Angelou/Quotes
I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did,
but people will never forget how you made them feel.
There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.
If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.
All my work, my life, everything I do is about survival, not just bare, awful, plodding survival, but survival
with grace and faith. While one may encounter many defeats, one must not be defeated.



Harriet Tubman Conductor on the Underground Railroad, Civil War veteran,
Harriet Tubman photo with quote
fighter for women's rights. Read her biography, see more photos!

Click the images below to find out more.

Harriet Tubman photo Cover of Tubman bio


Harriet Tubman in action



Bessie Coleman She came up from a sharecropper family in east Texas. She was of African-American and Cherokee ancestry.
She pulled herself up by her own hard work to become the first woman of African American descent, and the first of Native American descent,
to hold a pilot license. Bessie was not allowed to earn a pilot's license in America because she was not white and she was a woman.
She had to go to France to learn to fly, at a famous French flying school. She was the first black female in the world to be a licensed pilot.
Read the links below to learn more about her, her dreams, and her tragic death.









The True Story of "Hidden Figures," the Forgotten Women Who Helped Win the Space Race
Includes a preview of the movie. This Smithsonian article says it all. "A new book and movie document
the accomplishments of NASA’s black “human computers” whose work was at the heart of the country’s
greatest battles" They battled race discrimination as well as 1950s American society. Women who
got married were supposed to quit their jobs and raise kids. Black people could not find places to live
and had separate bathrooms and lunch tables. This is a well-written article and covers a lot of ground.
Young people need to know about this.


New Site


Ruby Bridges from "Ruby Bridges was born on September 8, 1954, in Tylertown, Mississippi. In 1960, when she was 6 years old, her parents responded to a call from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and volunteered her to participate in the integration of the New Orleans school system. Bridges is best known as the first African-American child to attend an all-white elementary school in the South." This bio site features a video of President Obama and Ruby Bridges discussing the events shown in this famous Norman Rockwell painting. There is a four page biography, and plenty of links to other Black History and Civil Rights sites.

partial Norman Rockwell painting of Ruby Bridges with Ms. Bridges posing











Benjamin O. Davis, Sr. Brigadier General Benjamin Oliver Davis, Sr. (1877 or 1880 – November 26, 1970)
was the first African-American general officer in the United States Army. This old-time cavalryman served in
the Spanish-American War and in both World Wars.
He was the father of Air Force General Benjamin O. Davis, Jr.


Benjamin O. Davis Jr. (December 18, 1912 – July 4, 2002) was a United States Army, and (after 1947)
Air Force general. He wrote history as the commander of the World War II Tuskegee Airmen,
the immortal Red Tails. He was a fighter pilot and a leader of fighter pilots in WW II and Korea.

General Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. Colonel Davis in WW II P-51s of the 33nd Fighter Group

See more photos here ("Original Tuskegee Airmen"), and more art here.


Daniel “Chappie” James, Jr. General, USAF

Chappie James at Tuskegee

Chappie James of the Tuskegee Airmen who went on to become the first African-American
four-star general in the USAF. Bomber pilot, WW II. Fighter pilot, Korea and Vietnam.
He once faced down Libyan dictator Quadaffi and almost had a gunfight!
“One day Khadafy ran a column of half tracks through my base—right through the housing area at full speed.
I shut the barrier down at the gate and met Khadafy a few yards outside it.
He had a fancy gun and a holster and kept his hand on it. I had my .45 in my belt. I told him to move his hand away.
If he had pulled that gun, he never would have cleared his holster. They never sent any more half tracks.”

Chappies James and his faithful mount, an F4-D Chappie James in Korea



“Black Death” – Henry Johnson – American’s First World War Hero

The 369th Infantry Regiment, the “Harlem Hellfighters”, was an all-black segregated outfit
that went to France in WW I. The fanatically racist US Army deliberately and systematically
abused and humiliated the men of the 369th because black.
The French Army took them in and equipped them. They were given French rifles and helmets,
and stationed in the trenches. One night, Johnson and a friend were attacked at 2AM
by German raiders. The two Americans chased away the German survivors after
a spectacular fight. Both of them were badly hurt. Johnson was shot or stabbed 21 times!

"The whole French force in the region gathered to see Johnson and Roberts awarded
the Croix du Guerre, the county’s highest military honor. They were the first U.S. soldiers
ever to earn this distinction. Johnson’s medal was further adorned with the Gold Palm."
Back in America, the 369th had their own victory parade. They were not allowed to march
with the white soldiers, because black. Almost 100 years later, President Obama awarded
Johnson the well-deserved Medal of Honor. The US Army never game him any medals
or veterans' benefits, because black. You should read the whole article.

A 1946 biographical cartoon of Henry Johnson created by Charles Alston




"For distinguished devotion to duty, extraordinary courage and disregard for his own personal safety during the attack
on the Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, by Japanese forces on December 7, 1941. While at the side of his Captain
on the bridge, Miller, despite enemy strafing and bombing and in the face of a serious fire, assisted in moving his Captain,
who had been mortally wounded, to a place of greater safety, and later manned and operated a machine gun directed at
enemy Japanese attacking aircraft until ordered to leave the bridge."


The legacy of Doris Miller. Fighting off kamikaze attacks:
Navy Cross

Below: "Crew members: Jonell Copeland, AtM2/c; Que Gant, StM; Harold Clark, Jr., StM; James Eddie Dockery, StM;
Alonzo Alexander Swann, StM; and Eli Benjamin, StM were given the Navy Cross for standing by their gun when their ship was
damaged by enemy attack in the Philippine area in 1945" Translation: This gun crew defended their ship against kamikazes.
When their ship was hit, they did not abandon ship, but stayed at their post, and kept shooting back. Every one of these sailors
got the Navy Cross.



Major General Charles Calvin Rogers, USA (Wearing his Lt Col rank) Medal of Honor, VietNam, 1968

 Medal of Honor

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, March 3, 1863, has awarded
in the name of The Congress the Medal of Honor to Lieutenant Colonel Charles C. Rogers, United States Army,
for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty.

Lieutenant Colonel Charles C. Rogers, Field Artillery, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity
in action on 1 November 1968, while serving as Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion, 5th Artillery, 1st Infantry Division
during the defense of a forward fire support base in the Republic of Vietnam. In the early morning hours, the fire support
base was subjected to a concentrated bombardment of heavy mortar, rocket, and rocket propelled grenade fire.
Simultaneously the position was struck by a human wave ground assault, led by sappers who breached the defensive barriers
with bangalore torpedoes and penetrated the defensive perimeter. Colonel Rogers with complete disregard for his own safety
moved through the hail of fragments from bursting enemy rounds to the embattled area. He aggressively rallied the dazed
artillery crewmen to man their howitzers and he directed their fire on the assaulting enemy. Although knocked to the ground and
wounded by an exploding round, Colonel Rogers sprang to his feet and led a small counterattack force against an enemy element
that had penetrated the howitzer positions. Although painfully wounded a second time during the assault, Colonel Rogers pressed
the attack killing several of the enemy and driving the remainder from the positions. Refusing medical treatment, Colonel Rogers
reestablished and reinforced the defensive positions. As a second human wave attack was launched against another sector of the
perimeter, Colonel Rogers directed artillery fire on the assaulting enemy and led a second counterattack against the charging forces.
His valorous example rallied the beleaguered defenders to repulse and defeat the enemy onslaught. Colonel Rogers moved from
position to position through the heavy enemy fire, giving encouragement and direction to his men. At dawn the determined enemy
launched a third assault against the fire base in an attempt to overrun the position. Colonel Rogers moved to the threatened area
and directed lethal fire on the enemy forces. Seeing a howitzer inoperative due to casualties, Colonel Rogers joined the surviving
members of the crew to return the howitzer to action. While directing the position defense, Colonel Rogers was seriously wounded
by fragments from a heavy mortar round which exploded on the parapet of the gun position. Although too severely wounded to
physically lead the defenders, Colonel Rogers continued to give encouragement and direction to his men in the defeating and repelling
of the enemy attack. Colonel Rogers' dauntless courage and heroism inspired the defenders of the fire support base to the heights of
valor to defeat a determined and numerically superior enemy force. His relentless spirit of aggressiveness, conspicuous gallantry and
intrepidity in action at the risk of his own life above and beyond the call of duty are in the highest traditions of the military service and
reflect great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army.

5th Artillery 1st Battalion, 5th Field Artillery is the oldest Regular Army unit on active duty. Alexander Hamilton, a founding father of
the United States, was its first Commanding Officer during the Revolutionary War.
Lieutenant Colonel Charles C. Rogers, Officer Commanding, Firebase Rita, 1 Nov 1968, kept the faith.



Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute of Stanford University. Arguably the best MLK resource site, this one has everything.


Martin Luther King Speeches - Excerpts from King's most famous addresses. From infoplease


MLK I Have A Dream "I Have a Dream" speech, text and audio, from American Rhetoric.


"I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech, text and audio, from American Rhetoric.



Here are three links to information about Rosa Parks:

Biography for kids from Ducksters (great series of sites, BTW)


Rosa Parks from Wikipedia - harder for kids to read, but good


Remembering Rosa Parks on Her 100th Birthday Excellent bio video from


Well Behaved Women


Civil Rights Movement Veterans "This website is created by Veterans of the Southern Freedom Movement (1951-1968). It is where we tell it like it was, the way we lived it, the way we saw it, the way we still see it. With a few minor exceptions, everything on this site was written, created, or spoken by Movement activists who were direct participants in the events they chronicle. To meet our mission, we provide:

  • Veterans Roll Call. A section of the site where we can post information about ourselves, — where and when and what we did in the Movement, where we've gone and what we've done and thought since, what we've achieved, milestones we've passed, and how old friends can reach us.
  • Speakers List A list of Freedom Movement veterans available for speaking engagements. Schools, churches, youth groups, and other organizations who wish to hear first-hand from those who participated in the Civil Rights Movement can use this list to directly contact Freedom Movement veterans.
  • In Memory. A section where we can post our testimony and memories of brothers and sisters who have passed on. We may not have an Arlington Cemetery or an Eternal Flame in Washington, but we can build a remembrance of word and thought more meaningful than dead stone and mute grass.
  • History & Timeline of the Southern Freedom Movement from 1951-1968. A chronological series of articles by Bruce Hartford describing events whether they were famous or not.
  • Articles. A collection of articles about the Freedom Movement by Movement veterans. Most of these articles were written and published during the struggle.
  • Letters & Reports From the Field. Letters home & letters to publications, memos & reports to headquarters, and diary entries from freedom workers in the field.
  • Our Stories. A collection of transcribed oral histories, interviews, personal narratives, and statements by Movement veterans.
  • Our Thoughts. A collection of essays, thoughts and analyses of the Movement and current events by Freedom Movement veterans.
  • Discussions. Transcripts of group discussions by Freedom Movement veterans on Movement-related topics.
  • Photo Album. Our collection of photos from our Movement.
  • Documents. A large online compilation of original source documents and publications from the Southern Freedom Movement.
  • Poetry. A collection of poems about the Freedom Movement by civil rights workers and others.
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). Where Movement veterans can post their answers to the questions most often asked by students interested in the Civil Rights Movement.
  • Web Links. A compilation of links to web-based resources about the Civil Rights Movement.
  • Bibliography An extensive list of books, music, and videos about and from the Southern Freedom Movement.
  • Your Thoughts. A blog where visitors can enter their comments about the Southern Freedom Movement and this site."
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    But wait, there's more! For Students "This website is about the Civil Rights Movement of 1951-1968. Many of us who were active in the Civil Rights Movement prefer to call it the "Southern Freedom Movement." Whatever name you use, this was the period of protests and political struggles in the South to win freedom from race-based oppression and exploitation, end racial segregation, and win voting rights for all regardless of race. Almost everything on this site was written by a veteran of the Southern Freedom Movement. This is where we who were there tell it like it was in our own words.
    While students are welcome and encouraged to use all parts of this site, the following sections may be the most useful to you:"

    (descriptions of section contents as above)
  • Speakers List
  • History & Timeline
  • Photo Album - (MUST SEE for everyone)
  • The Movement
  • Our Stories
  • Our Thoughts
  • Web Links
  • Bibliography
  • Movement FAQ

    The Montgomery Bus Boycott - a BBC video on YouTube 7:13 long. Pretty much sums up how things were.


    Mavis Staples "Eyes On The Prize" - Similar video with a song from the era. Racial violence is shown.


    Mavis Staples - "Down In Mississippi" - Blues video - actually an oral history - describes growing up black
    and female in the bad old days. Also praises Dr. King.


    Muhammad Ali DEAD


    Hidden Messages in Spirituals Lesson Plan unit from the NYS Core Curriculum - Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects, 6 - 12. Covers:

  • Reading: Craft and Structure (meaning of words).
  • Writing:
  • Test Types and Purposes (organize ideas, develop topic with facts)
  • Production and Distribution of Writing (develop, organize appropriate to task)
  • Research to Build and Present Knowledge (short research project, using term effectively)
  • This could also be used for history!
  • This is a complete lesson plan with pdf printables and a video. You can also download a Hidden Messages in Spirituals (608.2 KB) Lesson Plan (PDF).

  is the site for African-American hymns and how the meanings changed over time. Special emphasis is given to code words in lyrics, that really meant escape to the North or referred to the Underground Railroad. There's an example of lyric change during the Civil Rights struggle: "Marching ‘round Selma" to the melody of “Joshua Fought the Battle of Jericho". There are sections about history, composers, and lyrics of over 200 traditional spirituals. This site is a treasure.


    New Site




    United States Black History Month Coloring Pages from Daily Coloring Pages. Lots of printable coloring pages of famous black Americans, including brief bios.


    Rev Martin Luther King, Jr. quote and photo

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