Take Action

Several people in the film recount that poll tests were used to prevent them from voting. Research and publicize current obstacles that disenfranchise groups of citizens. Look at factors like the number of polling stations and voting machines in different districts, voter I.D. laws (and who does or doesn’t have the type of I.D. required) and/or how district lines are drawn. Work with local officials to address any inequities you discover.

Honor civil rights activists by conducting a voter registration drive.

Visit the website for the Foot Soldier Project for Civil Rights Studies at the University of Georgia. Use the curricular guide to lead a discussion about finding foot soldiers in your community. Write down dates mentioned in The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement and brainstorm names of people in your area who would remember that time. Ask friends, relatives and neighbors for suggestions. You might also contact local community groups, civic organizations or retirement homes. Plan a party to celebrate social justice work in your community and invite these local “foot soldiers” to be the guests of honor.

Hold a teach-in about the history of the civil rights movement. Invite people from your area to share their personal stories. Consider recording those stories for use in your school district.