April 30th, 2014

60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education resources


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May 17, 2014 will mark the 60th anniversary of the monumental Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education, which declared the status quo of “separate but equal” to be unconstitutional. Although this meant public schools were now required to be integrated, the battleground for equality in education was just beginning. Use the resources below to provide students with the historical context of Brown v. Board of Education in the civil rights movement, to inform them of the important roles students played in integrating the schools and engage them in conversation about the unfinished work of the civil rights movement.

Resource | Student Reporting Labs

Use these video responses from the PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs to start the conversation in your classroom about the topic of school integration. Students from around the country were asked, “Should integration be a priority in education?” Share this compilation of student answers and then see where your students stand on the issue. Perfect for a written response activity or a class debate. Want to hear answers from students and adults who took part in the rapid response? Click here to visit the Student Reporting Labs home page.

Resource | Interactive civil rights timeline

civil rights movementtimeline

An interactive timeline filled with video and text about the events that shaped the civil rights movement.  For teachers there is a timeline guide that denotes the event and the length of its corresponding video. The timeline starts with the enslavement of the African people and ends with current events relevant to the continued issue of equality and civil rights.

Article | Brown v. Board: an American legacy by Teaching Tolerance

two girls

Use this article from Teaching Tolerance to provide your students a text version of the story of the case that changed a nation along with analysis of the monumental event and reactions from the nation. It continues the story through the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and weighs its impact on the systemic racism that existed (and some say still exists) within the United States.

Video Clips | PBS Learning Media’s Brown v. Board of Education video resources

legal team at supremem court

These three video clips tell the story of before, during and after the Brown v. Board of Education decision. Each comes with discussion questions and background information from PBS Learning MediaClick on the specific time frame listed above to access the clips which average 7 minutes each.

Resource | Smithsonian American History Museum’s “Separate is not equal” 

linda brown

This rich resource from the Smithsonian Institutes’ National Museum of American History covers the major events, provides information about key players and primary sources related to the historic decision. Linda Brown, pictured above, was a small, but important, part of the battle for equality that groups like the NAACP had been fighting for decades.

Lesson Plan | Closing the Prince Edward County schools


This lesson plan details the history of one of the four cases that made up Brown v. Board of Education and the decade long struggle to integrate Virginia’s Prince Edward County schools. Despite the Supreme Court’s decision, in 1959 Prince Edward County decided to close their schools all together rather than integrate, leaving the county’s black children without an education for five long years.

Lesson Plan | A history of discrimination and its consequences


In this lesson, students analyze what “The American Dream” means, and what role racial discrimination may play in failing to attain that dream from generation to generation. When things like access to education, jobs, home ownership are denied systematically to a race of people the consequences are crippling and unjust.

Interactive resource | Segregation now

School resegregation

In this interactive resource journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones and photographer Masie Crow tell the story of modern day segregation in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Don’t miss the other elements to the story:

Lesson Plan | Racial equality: How far have we come and how far do we still need to go? 


Martin Luther King dreamed of an America where people would, “not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Use this lesson plan to start a discussion in your classroom about where we are on the path to realizing this dream.

Video blog | Elizabeth and Hazel: two women of Little Rock

elizabeth and hazel

Despite the clear message from the Supreme Court that segregation had to end, it would take decades to integrate schools and many challenges would be faced along the way. One such story is of the integration of Little Rock High School, which took the executive action of a president and the National Gaurd to enforce. Use this PBS NewsHour Extra video blog to update students on the lives and relationship of the two women captured in this famous photograph during the integration of Little Rock High School in 1957.

Resource | Civil rights movement glossary

Civil Rights Rally

Use this glossary of civil rights movement words to support student learning.

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