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Lesson Plans

The Goals of the March on Washington - Lesson Plan

August 22, 2013

Full Lesson



Social Studies, English

Estimate Time

Two 45-minute class periods

Grade Level

Middle School and High School

Essential Question

Given the objectives of the March on Washington, how did the other speakers deal with the goals within their speech? Evaluate whether the goals were adequately addressed as a whole.

Warm Up Activities

  1. What do you know about the March?
  2. Music of the Civil Rights Movement

Main Activity

1. Goals of the March

  • Pass out the original program for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and ask students if they recognize any of the speakers from page 1.
  • Explain that besides Dr. King there were other very important people who spoke and organized the March. Explain that they will be put into small groups and will watch a short clip on the background of their leader and then listen to their leader’s speech from the March on Washington.
  • Before you split them into groups, as class go over the goals of the March found on page 3, titled “What We Demand.” Also hand out the “Goals of the March on Washington” work sheet and ask students to process the demands as goals.
  • Split students into four groups and assign each group a civil rights leader and do the following:
  1. Have them watch the short biography on their leader and write down any Key Biographical Information on their worksheet.
  2. Listen to the speech of their leader made at the March and write down and comment on any of the goals that were discussed during the speech. * You may need to pause the speech or listen to it several times to get all the information

Biographical Links

Links to Speeches

Have students come back together as a class and share the following information to each other:

  • What goals did your speaker cover?
  • How well were the goals addressed?
  • What did they not address?
  • Was there any particularly powerful part of the speech?
  • Do you think there were certain voices missing from the speeches or not represented amongst this group of speakers?

Extension Activities

  1. Essay- Evaluate one speech in terms of its effectiveness of addressing the goals of the March on Washington. Be sure to give background information on the speaker, and some contextual background for the speech and March on Washington.
  2. Two famous leaders Civil Rights Leaders, Bayard Rustin and Malcom X, attended the March, but were not asked to speak because of their radical backgrounds. Learn more about these dedicated and passionate men and their different views on how to create change.

By Syd Golston and Katie Gould, Teacher Resource Producer for NewsHour Extra