TeachersFirst's Change Makers - Women for Freedom

The decades-long battle for women's suffrage was a pivotal chapter in the broader struggle to extend equal voting rights to all Americans. Trailblazers like Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Ida B. Wells traveled tirelessly, enduring harassment and jail to demand the ballot for women. Their activism and decades of grassroots organizing finally led to the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920, prohibiting voter discrimination based on sex. 


While iconic leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X were at the forefront, countless women played indispensable roles in fueling and sustaining the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Rosa Parks' refusal to give up her bus seat to a white passenger in 1955 was the catalyst for the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Through her unshakable advocacy of nonviolent resistance, Diane Nash helped desegregate lunch counters and public spaces across the South. 


These women's acts of brave defiance, strategic brilliance, and unwavering commitment were essential in dismantling Jim Crow segregation, achieving landmark civil rights legislation, and reshaping American democracy by allowing all women the right to vote. Share these true change-makers with your students through this collection of reviewed resources. 

To learn more about Civil Rights, view our collection here.

To learn more about voting rights, view this article. 

We also have a Reading Trek related to voting rights

You can also learn about additional women change-makers in our collections:

Change Makers - Young Women Who Changed the World

Change Makers - Pioneering Women

Change Makers - Women in STEM      

Other TeachersFirst Special Topics Collections

Teachers Guide

 

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Women and the American Revolution Interactive Lesson - PBS Learning Media

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9 to 12
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The interactive lesson "Women and the American Revolution" on PBS LearningMedia is an engaging lesson crafted to shed light on the often-overlooked contributions of women during this...more
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The interactive lesson "Women and the American Revolution" on PBS LearningMedia is an engaging lesson crafted to shed light on the often-overlooked contributions of women during this pivotal period in American history, providing a rich and comprehensive exploration of the topic. This interactive lesson includes multimedia elements such as videos, historical documents, and interactive activities that bring the topic to life for students. Additionally, the lesson offers teaching tips and technical notes to help educators effectively use the resource in their classrooms. Take note of any technical considerations outlined in the Technical Notes section to ensure a smooth lesson implementation.

tag(s): black history (123), women (137), womenchangemaker (28)

In the Classroom

Begin by captivating your students' imaginations with a presentation showcasing powerful images and short video clips about women's roles in the American Revolution. Prompt them to share their initial thoughts, questions, and predictions about what they see, fostering a sense of curiosity and intrigue about the topic - transition to a deeper exploration of the topic using the interactive lesson. The interactive lesson provides valuable opportunities for students to enhance their historical understanding by analyzing primary sources, developing persuasive arguments based on evidence, and exploring the diverse experiences of women during the American Revolution. Extend learning beyond history class by helping students see how women's roles in the American Revolution relate to issues today. They can research and share about influential women in history or explore how women's rights have changed over time.

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WHO WAS ALICE PAUL?: Feminist. Suffragist. Political Strategist. - Alice Paul Institute

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4 to 12
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The Alice Paul Institute website is a comprehensive resource dedicated to honoring the legacy of Alice Paul, a prominent figure in the women's suffrage movement. The site provides detailed...more
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The Alice Paul Institute website is a comprehensive resource dedicated to honoring the legacy of Alice Paul, a prominent figure in the women's suffrage movement. The site provides detailed biographical information about Paul, including her role as a feminist, suffragist, and political strategist, along with historical photos, documents, and quotes. Educational resources such as lesson plans and activities are also available, making it an invaluable tool for learning about women's history and equal rights movement!

tag(s): womenchangemaker (28), womens suffrage (44)

In the Classroom

This site can easily be incorporated into history or social studies lessons to engage students in learning about the women's suffrage movement. Pair the site with interactive tools like Kahoot!, reviewed here, or Quizlet, reviewed here for engaging quizzes or use Flip, reviewed here for online discussions on the key aspects of Alice Paul shared on the site. Additionally, on the Alice Paul Institute site, there is a resource section. The resource section includes recordings of the oral history interview with Alice Paul, conducted by Amelia Roberts. Encourage students to listen to these interviews and then create their own audio podcasts to share with the community. Sharing what they've learned not only promotes active engagement with historical materials but also cultivates critical thinking, communication skills, and creativity!

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Wonderopolis: Who Is Claudette Colvin? - Wonderopolis

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3 to 12
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Wonderopolis.org is an educational website aimed at children and educators. It offers a vast collection of articles called "Wonders," which explore various topics in an engaging and...more
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Wonderopolis.org is an educational website aimed at children and educators. It offers a vast collection of articles called "Wonders," which explore various topics in an engaging and informative way. This Wonderopolis page on Claudette Colvin provides a detailed account of her role in the Civil Rights Movement. It explores her upbringing in Alabama, refusing to give up her bus seat in 1955, and the subsequent legal battles she and other activists fought to challenge segregation laws. In addition to the detailed account of Claudette Colvin's role in the Civil Rights Movement, the Wonderopolis page offers further resources for exploration, an Immersive Reader tool, and a video that supplements the written content, providing visual and auditory elements to engage learners in multiple ways!

tag(s): black history (123), civil rights (194), literacy (107), womenchangemaker (28)

In the Classroom

Encourage independent or small group exploration of the content. Younger students can leverage the Immersive Reader tool, which allows customization of text settings. Pair this with a Flip, reviewed here discussion, where students can share reflections on what they've learned. Consider integrating interactive platforms to review what they learned using polls like Mentimeter, reviewed here. Lastly, extend learning outside of the classroom by assigning students to explore supplementary resources linked on the page, such as articles from Smithsonian Magazine.

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Coretta Scott King - The National Woman's Hall of Fame

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3 to 12
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The National Women's Hall of Fame page about Coretta Scott King shares her story as a leader in the fight for civil rights, peace, and equality. It talks about how ...more
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The National Women's Hall of Fame page about Coretta Scott King shares her story as a leader in the fight for civil rights, peace, and equality. It talks about how she worked to keep her husband, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s, dream alive and her efforts in important causes like fighting against apartheid and supporting LGBTQ+ rights.

tag(s): black history (123), civil rights (194), women (137), womenchangemaker (28)

In the Classroom

Have students use this site for a research project. Ask them to create a presentation using Google Slides, reviewed hereor Microsoft Power Point Online, reviewed here. Use this site to talk about what qualities make a good leader. Use Wordsift, reviewed here to create a word cloud with the qualities that the students chose. After reading about Coretta Scott King on the site, have students choose a current social issue that they feel connects to King's activism and have them write a reflective essay discussing what impact Coretta Scott King's legacy has had on modern social issues. Ask them to use gotFeedback, reviewed hereto submit their final copy and to share the results with you.

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Women Who Fought for the Right to Vote - The History Channel

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3 to 12
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The History.com page "Women Who Fought for the Vote" tells the story of how women in the U.S. fought to be allowed to vote. It talks about important women and ...more
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The History.com page "Women Who Fought for the Vote" tells the story of how women in the U.S. fought to be allowed to vote. It talks about important women and significant moments in the women's voting rights movement, illustrating this through articles, pictures, and videos. This website is a great place to learn how women won the right to vote with the 19th Amendment.

tag(s): elections (80), women (137), womenchangemaker (28), womens suffrage (44)

In the Classroom

Use the videos on this site to introduce a unit on the suffrage movement. Use this site as part of a larger unit of study on voting rights. Host a "living museum" in the classroom where students, in character, share their figures' stories with visitors. Introduce students to the key symbols and slogans of the women's suffrage movement. Then, have them create their own suffrage posters using art supplies or Canva Edu, reviewed here, incorporating symbols, slogans, and images they learned about. Using the posters, have a voting rights march around the school.

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Mary Ann Shadd Cary - National Park Service

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3 to 12
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The National Park Service (NPS) website features a dedicated page on Mary Ann Shadd Cary, an African American activist, educator, and journalist. This page provides a concise overview...more
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The National Park Service (NPS) website features a dedicated page on Mary Ann Shadd Cary, an African American activist, educator, and journalist. This page provides a concise overview of her life, highlighting her role as the first female African American newspaper editor in North America and her activism for abolition and women's suffrage. It highlights key moments in her life, including her work establishing schools for African Americans and her legal career after being one of the first women to attend Howard University Law School. There is a link at the bottom to an article about her house. It contains a complete lesson plan.

tag(s): black history (123), slavery (75), underground railroad (12), womenchangemaker (28)

In the Classroom

Have students gather facts about Mary Ann Shadd Cary from the NPS page to understand her significance in history and using a simulated social media platform like Fakebook, reviewed here have students create hashtags and digital posts that could have supported Cary's advocacy work, focusing on her key messages. Utilizing the essential question: Were free African Americans living in the US before the Civil War truly "free"? Use the lesson plan at the bottom of the page to have students learn about her home in Washington, DC. Using a drawing program like Google Drawings, reviewed here have students draw their own historical house and add one fact that they learned.

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Ida B. Wells and the Activism of Investigative Journalism - Library of Congress

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3 to 12
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The "Headlines and Heroes" blog by the Library of Congress spotlights Ida B. Wells, a key figure in early investigative journalism who fought against lynching in the late 1800s and...more
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The "Headlines and Heroes" blog by the Library of Congress spotlights Ida B. Wells, a key figure in early investigative journalism who fought against lynching in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It talks about how Wells used her research and writing to reveal the truth about lynching to the world. The post shows her important role in the fight for civil rights and how her work helped shape journalism. It uses old documents and stories to make Wells' achievements and the challenges she faced clear to readers. Clicking on the images and links will open historical documents.

tag(s): black history (123), civil rights (194), journalism (72), womenchangemaker (28)

In the Classroom

Using a podcasting tool like Podcast Generator, reviewed here have students produce a podcast episode that discusses Wells' life. Have students pretend to interview Wells for the podcast. Create stories using Book Creator, reviewed here that highlights Wells' major achievements, the challenges she overcame, and her impact on civil rights and journalism. Share those those stories with another classroom or post them on your class webpage. Create a timeline of important events from Wells' life. Choose a timeline creation tool located here.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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iCivics- Patsy Mink - iCivics

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6 to 12
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iCivics features a video entitled "Patsy Mink: Changing the Rules," which tells the story of Patsy Mink, a Japanese-American woman who became the first woman of color in Congress and...more
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iCivics features a video entitled "Patsy Mink: Changing the Rules," which tells the story of Patsy Mink, a Japanese-American woman who became the first woman of color in Congress and worked tirelessly for civil rights and equal opportunities for women. The video provides an engaging and informative introduction to the life and legacy of Patsy Mink. In addition, they have included a lesson plan that contains discussion questions, activities, and additional resources to help teachers incorporate the video into their curriculum. Create a free account to download teacher resources.

tag(s): civil rights (194), congress (39), politics (113), women (137)

In the Classroom

The video "Patsy Mink: Changing the Rules" can promote your student's critical thinking and civic engagement and teach students the contributions of women and people of color to American politics and society. Use the video as a launching pad to discuss women's history and representation in different fields, such as STEM or sports. Have students research prominent women in science, engineering, or athletics and compare their experiences to Patsy Mink's using a digital graphic organizer tool such as mindmaps, reviewed here. Assess student understanding by creating an interactive quiz game with Quizlet Live, reviewed here, or Kahoot, reviewed here.

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Harriet Tubman: Abolition Activist - PBS Learning Media

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3 to 7
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This lesson teaches students about the accomplishments of Harriet Tubman through the use of two primary sources. After watching a biographical video as an introduction to Tubman, students...more
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This lesson teaches students about the accomplishments of Harriet Tubman through the use of two primary sources. After watching a biographical video as an introduction to Tubman, students examine a photo and letter sent to her by Frederick Douglass to learn more about her life. As a culminating activity, students then compare and contrast Harriet Tubman to modern-day females who confronted risks as they helped others. The lesson includes all materials needed to teach the activity, including the video and a graphic organizer. The lesson is correlated to National Social Studies Standards.

tag(s): black history (123), civil rights (194), civil war (134), primary sources (115), women (137)

In the Classroom

This lesson provides an excellent starting point for lessons about Harriet Tubman, strong females, and the Underground Railroad. Use the provided links to assign to students within Google Classroom and other media tools. Take advantage of technology to enhance student learning beyond the basics of this lesson. Instead of using the printable graphic organizer, use an online tool such a Holt Interactive Graphic Organizers, reviewed here, to create diagrams, mindmaps, and other visual graphic organizers. Use the Venn Diagram feature to compare and contrast Civil War times to the present, use the flow chart to help students visualize the flow of events leading up to and through the Civil War, or use the diagramming features to organize Civil War information including events, people, and places. Use an online bookmarking tool such as Padlet, reviewed here, to organize and share online resources with students. Extend student learning even further by asking them to use a game-creation tool like Scratch, reviewed here, to create a game. Use facts, places, and events within the games to reinforce and teach about Harriet Tubman and her peers.
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Sojourner Truth: Abolitionist and Human Rights Activist - PBS Learning Media

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3 to 7
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Learn about Sojourner Truth and her fight against slavery along with her support for women and equal rights using primary sources in this lesson provided by PBS Learning Media. The...more
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Learn about Sojourner Truth and her fight against slavery along with her support for women and equal rights using primary sources in this lesson provided by PBS Learning Media. The lesson includes a video and two primary source documents - a photo of Sojourner Truth and excerpts from her most famous speech. Information is correlated to National Standards for History, Civics and Government, Common Core State Standards, and College and Career Readiness Standards.

tag(s): black history (123), civil rights (194), civil war (134), women (137)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of this free lesson to introduce students to Sojourner Truth, Civil Rights, or Women's Rights. Share the lesson into your Google Classroom account using the provided link. Extend this lesson using technology to motivate and engage students as they learn more about each topic. Create an entire unit that includes this lesson within Actively Learn, reviewed here. Include links to additional online resources, have students take notes, and include assessments all within the Actively Learn framework. Use the many resources found at ReadWriteThink, reviewed here, to help students organize and share information. For example, use the Bio Cube with students to organize biographical information on Sojourner Truth or have students use the Comic Creator to tell the story of Sojourner Truth. For a complete multimedia presentation, ask students to use Book Creator, reviewed here, to share their information about Women's Rights. Book Creator offers a variety of options to include in the digital books such as video, images, audio, and more.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Mary McLeod Bethune - Learning for Justice

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6 to 12
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Using an excerpt from an interview of Mary McLeod Bethune, this lesson guides students through an exploration of Bethune's life and comparisons to their life experiences. Through the...more
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Using an excerpt from an interview of Mary McLeod Bethune, this lesson guides students through an exploration of Bethune's life and comparisons to their life experiences. Through the use of the provided list of essential questions, students use critical reading skills to build knowledge and make connections. This lesson also includes additional extension activities and prompts.

tag(s): black history (123), civil rights (194), women (137)

In the Classroom

Use the provided link to import this lesson into your Google Classroom account. This lesson is part of a four-part series, use the other lessons to build your unit on black history or famous women. As you add additional resources to your lesson, enhance student learning by using Kami, reviewed here, as a collaborative discussion tool. Kami includes tools for highlighting and adding notes to online articles to facilitate peer discussions. Further enhance learning by helping students highlight important information from within articles using a word cloud creation tool like Wordsift, reviewed here. Copy and paste any text into Wordsift to highlight and enlarge frequently used words. Use this information to guide students toward significant portions of text. Ask students to use a digital annotation tool such as Image Annotator, reviewed here, to add notes, links, and additional information to images. Extend student learning by encouraging them to learn more about Mary McLeod Bethune and other feminists and then creating and sharing podcasts. One easy introduction to podcasts is through the use of Acast, reviewed here. Have students use Acast to give a "You Are There" presentation sharing events as they happened during Bethune's life, or to share their takeaways of the importance of Mary McLeod Bethune's contributions to women's rights.
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Rosa Parks: How I Fought for Civil Rights - Scholastic

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4 to 8
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The Rosa Parks: How I Fought for Civil Rights website includes an interview, a biography, and other reading material that can be easily viewed full-screen on your classroom interactive...more
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The Rosa Parks: How I Fought for Civil Rights website includes an interview, a biography, and other reading material that can be easily viewed full-screen on your classroom interactive whiteboard (or with a projector). The site is easy to navigate with links built right into the text for vocabulary and other relevant information. The activities help students understand the importance and necessity of every individual citizen in a democracy working together to contribute to a better way of life for all.

tag(s): african american (109), black history (123), civil rights (194), cultures (132), martin luther king (43), rosa parks (9), tolerance (9), women (137)

In the Classroom

Spark your students' interest in how one brave individual changed history by not giving up her bus seat to a white passenger. Whether you are doing a unit on people who make a difference, civil rights, tolerance, or studying women and events in history, this self-contained website provides resources and materials that you can display on your classroom whiteboard (or with a projector). Involve students in using the interactive links to enhance learning and springboard discussions on what still needs to be done in regards to acceptance and embracing racial, ethnic, and cultural differences. Use an online tool like The Interactive Three-Circle Venn Diagram, reviewed here, to compare and contrast discrimination in our country then with similar challenges we face today, and what still needs to be accomplished for a better tomorrow. Broaden the concepts to include that even when we are brave and have courage, change doesn't come about immediately; it takes time and continued perseverance. Culminate the unit with a writing prompt for students to reflect on and explain: Have you ever faced something that you thought you couldn't stand up to? Instead of using paper and pencil, integrate technology by having students create blogs sharing their learning and understanding using Telegra.ph, reviewed here. This blog creator requires no registration. With Telegra.ph have students click on an icon to upload related images, add YouTube or Vimeo, or Twitter links.

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Not For Ourselves Alone - PBS

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6 to 12
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Here you will find a PBS site connected to a Ken Burns film about Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony which contains some very nice resources on the women's ...more
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Here you will find a PBS site connected to a Ken Burns film about Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony which contains some very nice resources on the women's movement. Scroll to the bottom and view the menu item for Resources. Explore the Resource section which has lesson plans, primary documents, a photo gallery, and biographical information.

tag(s): biographies (93), women (137), womens suffrage (44)

In the Classroom

If you're looking for one site on the early women's movement or the women's suffrage movement, this one may do it. Take advantage of the lesson plans and resources therein. Once students know the history of the early women's movement, brainstorm more current information about women's rights and the women involved that could be included on this page. Have students or groups collect ideas and findings using Dotstorming, reviewed here. Dotstorming will allow students to include video, images, text, audio, voting & a chat box.

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Rosa Parks - NPR

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8 to 12
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This NPR article provides an overview of the life and influences of "the mother of the civil rights movement." Click on the links to hear excerpts and full length ...more
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This NPR article provides an overview of the life and influences of "the mother of the civil rights movement." Click on the links to hear excerpts and full length interviews in which Parks recounts the events of that historic day in 1955 when she refused to relinquish her bus seat to a white man. A compelling resource to add to a discussion of civil rights in America.

tag(s): africa (137), african american (109), civil rights (194), rosa parks (9), segregation (18)

In the Classroom

The most intriguing part of this site are the audio portions where Parks recounts her story. Open the site on the interactive whiteboard or projector and play the portions during and within a lecture on Parks. Hearing Parks tell her story will add a different element than pictures and lecture provide.

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Remembering Rosa Parks - Academy of Achievement

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6 to 12
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Rosa Parks' confrontation on a Birmingham, AL, bus helped spark the American civil rights movement. Her death in October, 2005, offered an opportunity to remember that contribution...more
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Rosa Parks' confrontation on a Birmingham, AL, bus helped spark the American civil rights movement. Her death in October, 2005, offered an opportunity to remember that contribution to American society. This site's biography offers background on the story that could be used in a number of instructional settings.

tag(s): africa (137), african american (109), civil rights (194), rosa parks (9)

In the Classroom

Within the site is an interview with Parks, in which she accounts segregation in her childhood as well as the bus boycott that made her so famous. Play this for students during a unit on the Civil Rights movement in place of a lecture, or afterwards to review the content.

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Women in the Civil War - National Archives

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6 to 12
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On-line exhibit from the National Archives. ...more
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On-line exhibit from the National Archives.

tag(s): civil war (134), women (137)

In the Classroom

While the text portion of this site is interesting and informative, for this activity download and share only the images at first on your interactive whiteboard or projector. One at a time show students an image, and ask what they see. What does this seem to imply? After having a class discussion on why a woman had to disguise herself, or the possible frequency of this issue - then go through the text with students to gather the correct information. Formulating questions before getting answers will really get students thinking about the images and their meaning in a more creative way. This would be a great activity in either a Civil War unit or a unit on Women's rights.

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