Fight the Power: Teaching Research Skills Through The Study of American Protest Movements

byLudy P. Aguada


I looked up when I heard my classroom door and saw it crack open. Sierra poked her head in. “Can I sit with you? I have bagels and cream cheese.” She thrust her arm through the narrow opening and waived a bag of bagels.

I looked at the stack of essays and journals in front of me that still needed grading, then hefted them onto another desk. “Of course,” I replied with a smile.

She opened the door wider and bounced in, the bagels in one hand and a tub of cream cheese in the other. I pulled out the toaster and the small bag of plastic knives I kept in a cabinet, and set them on the desk between us. We were silent as we opened the bag, cut our bagels in half, and inserted them into the toaster.

“So, are you ready to graduate?” I asked as we waited.

“Oh my god, you don’t even know how ready,” she laughed. “I was able to make up that D you gave me—”

“The ‘D’ you earned,” I interrupted.

“The ‘D’ I earned,” she corrected and nodded sheepishly. “I took an English course at Evergreen (one of our local community colleges) on film studies. That was really cool. But I had to do a research paper. That was not fun.”

“I love research!” I exclaimed as the bagels popped up, browned and steaming. We gingerly placed them on the paper towels from a roll on my desk.

Sierra carefully spread cream cheese on her bagel. “That’s because you know how. I was lost when my teacher said to write a research paper. I was like, ‘What? How do I do that?’” She gave me the side-eye. “I had to teach myself.”

I chewed quietly for a few seconds. “Do you wish we had taught you to do research?”

“Yeah, I guess. It didn’t have to be you, but it should have been someone. And real research, not that stuff we did in… oh, I can’t even remember what class. But we just looked stuff up and cut and pasted it into our essay. We’re good at that.” She sighed. “But the real stuff?  Nope.” She look up again. “I mean, we’re going to have to do that in college, right?”

It was my turn to nod sheepishly.


William C. Overfelt High School is part of the East Side Union High School District, an all-high school district in San Jose,1 the unofficial capital of Silicon Valley. It lies in the southern part of the San Francisco Bay area, considered one of the most affluent in the nation. But Overfelt clearly does not share in that affluence. Overfelt students come from working-class and low-income families that struggle financially. If one’s education level is an indicator of income level, then it may explain why of its approximately 1450 students, 85-90% qualify for free or reduced lunch.  Only 28% of Overfelt parents graduated from high school, 12% had some college, and only 7% are college graduates. 52% of parents did not finish high school. This high crime, high poverty, “gang hotspot” with a median household income of $60,000 is only a 15-20 drive from highly affluent Palo Alto (where the median household income is $137,000, more than double that of Overfelt’s families) and highly rated Palo Alto High School.

While Overfelt does not have the reputation for high achievement that Palo Alto High School enjoys, I believe that neither zip code nor family income should determine the quality of education a student gets. In fact, the promise of free, quality education is a major factor as to why the families that Overfelt serves immigrate to the U.S. My responsibility as a teacher of these students is to provide them the quality education that their families expect and that the students deserve. Indeed, it is one of Overfelt’s stated missions to prepare them for the world beyond the borders of our little neighborhood by teaching them the skills they will need to navigate and succeed at college or university and beyond. But if my conversation with Sierra is any indication of how well we are doing, then we are failing, and too many students are not fully equipped with the skills necessary to succeed in college or university when they leave the Royal nest. If we are to hold true to our commitment to graduate students with the 21st century skills necessary for college and career success, then we must do better.

As illustrated by Sierra, the pressing need of my students is to fill the gap in their knowledge about how to conduct academic research. The goal of this unit is two-fold. The first is to teach students the necessary skills of academic research. Sierra was not the first Overfelt student asked to write a research paper who did not know how to do it. Clearly, research skills need to be taught in an intentional and structured way. The second goal is to allow students the freedom to explore their own interests. I often hear them lament the courses they are required to take; they do not feel that what is being taught has any relevance to their lives, or their futures as they envision them. Setting aside the argument of whether a liberal arts education is valuable in the current day and age, there is some truth to their criticism.

One of the reasons I want to tie this unit to protest movements, especially the modern Civil Rights Movement which led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, is because my students are like so many young people. They are looking for ways in which the world is relevant to their lives. Not only that, but they are looking at a world in which they see injustice on the daily. If they are not experiencing it personally, they see it on their social media feeds. Events that just five or ten years ago would have taken days to disseminate to a global audience now can reach the other side of the world in a matter of minutes, even seconds. They are bombarded with information—the good, the bad, and the ugly—but give no thought to whether to filter it.

This inability to filter information manifests not just in their social lives. They do not have the skills to filter information for an academic purpose. I see this lack of ability in the classroom. If given free rein to discuss a topic or issue, often they will range too far and too wide. Additionally, they use or cite evidence that has no bearing on the topic at hand, or evidence that may be relevant but which they lack the ability to identify and articulate. The connection may be there but students cannot connect the dots that would enable their audience to see the picture. This unit aims to tackle the academic piece and accomplish both goals.

One way to interest students in a subject that the majority of them, in my experience, find dry and boring is to make history relevant. They do not see how what happened “back in the day” or “a long time ago” has any bearing on the rights and privileges that they enjoy today. They often take these things for granted, even though many of them come from disadvantaged backgrounds and live in homes and a community that enjoy much fewer privileges than another one a mere 15-minute drive away.

Content Objectives

The AP English Language focuses on the rhetorical choices writers and speakers make to most effectively communicate their purpose to their audiences. When choosing readings and assignments for the class, I need to evaluate how well those readings “engage students in becoming skilled readers of prose written in a variety of periods, disciplines, and rhetorical contexts, and in becoming skilled writers who compose for a variety of purposes” (College Board). This unit must also satisfy the East Side Union High School District mandate that all East Side schools implement Common Core standards. The CCSS requirement addressed by this unit requires that students “[c]onduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation” (CCSS ELA Literacy W.11-12.7-12.8). This is a critical skill students will need to have mastered prior to entering college. Currently, most of my students lack this skill. My hope is that this unit will help bridge that gap between the skills that make them successful in high school and the skills they will need to be successful in college.

To accomplish this goal, the unit will briefly survey American protest movements but will use as its main vehicle the Civil Rights Movement, its history (from the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965) and its influence on later movements. This quick study will enable students to see parallels with current movements and to identify the similarities and differences they have with the Civil Rights Movement.

Like many young people, my students are full of opinions on so many topics, but those opinions tend to be based solely on their personal experiences or observations. Some of this may be attributed to their age--after all, very few 15- or 16-year-olds have a vast store of experiences. But this is not unusual nor relegated to the young. Economist Joseph Schumpeter, in his work Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy that in part examined theories of democracies, looked at the ways in which people arrive at decisions and the factors that inform their opinions, and posited that those decisions and opinions are most influenced by a sphere of experience and relationships with which one has a direct relation.2 This is certainly borne out by my own experience in the classroom. And though not inherently positive or negative, what troubles me is this narrow perspective coupled with a growing disdain for any opinions that differ from their own. Part of the problem is that we surround ourselves with like-minded individuals, those with whom we share opinions, views, perspectives, beliefs--factions, as James Madison aptly defined it (Federalist 10).3 So when we are confronted with or by others with whom we do not share common values, we are shocked, even defensive. We do not see the irony of “poo-pooing” others’ thoughts as ill- or uninformed when they differ from our own. We ascribe a discriminatory intent or belief based on nothing more than that the ideas and opinions are different from the ones we hold ourselves. But in our increasingly global society, students cannot afford to be so narrow-minded. It is paradoxical that we have a citizenry so ill-informed when so much information can be accessed so easily. Researching controversial movements and requiring they consider opposing viewpoints will help broaden their views.

I hope taking this approach will help students to see how the past informs the present and can inform the future. I also hope that in learning about the challenges activists face in their struggle for equality and recognition of their value as humans and citizens, students see that progress toward a more inclusive society takes time and fortitude, patience and perseverance, that to achieve the American Dream and its promise of justice requires a citizenry awake and willing to work toward that more perfect union. Students will learn that though they may not be old enough to vote, they are not powerless. Like generations before them, they are living in a time of great flux, players in a drama of times whose final scenes are not yet written. Will they take action that effectuates change, or will they let change happen to them? Will they choose activism, or will they choose complacency? Finally, they will learn that role they choose, the future is theirs. They must be prepared to act to ensure it is a future they want to live in.

The goal of my unit is for my students to learn those lessons and to be able to conduct academic research and write a five to seven-page paper supported by reliable sources. They will choose, with my guidance, a current social justice movement to conduct research on in small groups. In order to do this, I will provide a framework from which they will may identify and evaluate their chosen movement (see below). Their final project will be to produce a well-documented, well-supported paper that delves into the origins of the movement and assesses its potential for success, using their research as a basis for their conclusions, and then present their findings to their classmates.

The essential questions below will help guide their research as they navigate this new terrain of inquiry and analysis.

  1. What is American democracy?
  2. Who decides membership in that democracy?
  3. What are our rights as members, and can those rights be taken away?
  4. When our rights are endangered, or when we see injustice occurring, what recourse do people have to protect those rights or stop or correct the injustice?
  5. Are social justice movements effective in securing the rights of marginalized communities, and if so, what makes them effective?

The Necessary Elements for a Successful Movement

Successful movements do not just happen. They take time, they take people, they take resources.  They need goals, they need a message that activists can fight for and that supporters can feel good about, and they need an effective leader (or leaders) to not only inspire members of the movement, but to also

choose how and where to deploy resources; [to] enlist allies for the cause; and [to] shape the moral narrative that promote and nurture coalitions to achieve proximate goals that are hard to reverse. Leaders must be willing to take risks for causes larger than themselves, and they need to know how to move their supporters.4

This is what law professor Michael J. Graetz and political science professor Ian Shapiro argue in their soon-to-be-published book The Wolf at the Door: Fighting Economic Insecurity.5 In chapter 2, “Building Blocks of Distributive Politics,” Graetz and Shapiro argue that for campaigns to be successful, six factors must be present:  1) successful coalitions, 2) a moral narrative, 3) proximate goals that are 4) entrenched for the long term, 5) access to adequate resources, and 6) capable leadership.6 They begin laying the foundation for their argument by examining theories of how voters make decisions in capitalist democracies.

If we look at the building blocks posited by Graetz and Shapiro as necessary for, though no guarantor of, a successful movement, then it is much more clear how something like the Civil Rights Movement was able to accomplish the sweeping cultural and legal changes encompassed in the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Ironically, the success of this movement for equality has later movements comparing themselves to it.7

Protest Movements:  An American Tradition

Protest is no stranger to the American social and political landscape. In fact, Dawson Barrett argues in his book Defiant: Protest Movements in Post-Liberal America, that protest is an American tradition.8 Our Founding Fathers were not just scholars and elites; they were insurgents against a monarchical status quo, a group of Davids battling Goliath, seditionists in a protest movement that was the genesis of the American Revolution, leading to the founding of our country. This tradition of protest is enshrined in the first amendment of the Bill of Rights:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances (emphasis added).9

This tradition of protest protected by the First Amendment is entrenched in the American psyche. Not only do we have the right to protest injustices we feel are being visited upon us, we have an historical obligation to take to the streets to make known our collective will and unhappiness.

To be sure, some social justice movements can claim success in changing policy, while others languish in the streets and in the halls of government. The history of African Americans’ fight for equality, from the abolitionist movement to the passages of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, provide ample material to examine how successful movements happen.

The Abolitionist Movement

Though there is some debate about when African slaves first arrived in the New World, conventional history—the one taught to students in their history classes—is that slavery arrived in 1619 with the first settlers of what was to become the Jamestown settlement on the shores of the future colony (and later state) of Virginia.

Though there is no date certain of when the first abolitionists arrived, it is clear that anti-slavery sentiment existed as early as the 18th century. In “To Plead Our Own Cause:  African Americans in Massachusetts and the Making of the Antislavery Movement,” Christopher Cameron observes that “[w]hile most studies of the antislavery movement begin their examination in the 1820s,” Caesar Sarter, a free black man, published in 1774 an essay against slavery.10 But much of the history of the movement begins in the 1800s, and two of the most well-known abolitionists are Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison. Both men wrote and spoke out extensively and persuasively for abolishing slavery.

Frederick Douglass was born into slavery in Maryland but escaped to the north and began his life’s work to end slavery. In addition to publishing three autobiographies,11 he was also a highly sought after speaker. In his speech “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro,” Douglass invoked the Declaration of Independence, “the rich inheritance of justice, liberty, and prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your father,” and juxtaposed these ideals with the reality for the slave:12

The sunlight that brought light and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me [A]bove your national, tumultuous joy, I hear the mournful wail of millions! Whose chains, heavy and grievous yesterday, are, today rendered more intolerable by the jubilee shouts that reach them.13

This speech highlighted the stark differences between the lives of white audience with those of the black slaves.

Along with Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, a white abolitionist, spoke out strongly against slavery. Publisher of the Liberator and founder of the American Antislavery Society, Garrison used his voice to advocate for the abolishment of slavery.14 In an impassioned speech he delivered in the Broadway Tabernacle in New York on February 14, 1854, Garrison—like Douglass—invoked the Declaration of Independence as authority for his stance on slavery: He stated that his belief  “in the self-evident truths,… ‘that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness’”15 precluded him from supporting the institution of slavery.

He argued that to remain silent about the evils of slavery would make him a hypocrite. He further argued that it was against God’s law to allow the institution of continue to exist. He made this argument by pointing out the

…incongruity of giving [slaves] oral instruction, of teaching them the catechism, of reconciling them as suitably qualified to be members of Christian churches, of extending to them the ordinance of baptism, and admitting them to the communion table, and enumerating many of them as belonging to the household of faith16

with bondage a whole race of human beings. He could not reconcile enslavement of African-Americans with the ideal that “that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."17

The persistence of both these men and of other abolitionists drew attention to the plight of slaves and shone a light on the “guilty inconsistency” of allowing the institution of slavery to exist.18

The Reconstruction Era and the Rise of Jim Crow

After the Civil War, Congress passed three key amendments to the Constitution to address African Americans’ status and legal rights. While this trio of amendments offered some protection to blacks, the narrow reading of their explicit language allowed their opponents to find ways to disenfranchise blacks, thus blunting their growing political influence and power. The narrow reading each amendment, beginning with of the thirteenth, required each subsequent amendment to patch the holes exploited by opponents to prevent former slaves from becoming full members of society.

On January 31, 1865 (three months before General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse on April 9, 1865), Congress passed the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, then ratified it on December 6, 1865. In two relatively short sentences it 1) abolished slavery in the United States and 2) empowered Congress to “enforce [the prohibition] through appropriate legislation.”

Despite the relative simplicity of the text and its clear intent that “[n]either slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction,”19 its authors did not anticipate the controversy that would arise out of its simple language, that while the Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves from bondage and the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery in the United States, neither made the newly freed slaves U.S. citizens, thus precluding them from enjoying the rights and privileges of citizenship. Southern Democrats reasoned that the amendment “simply forbade the buying and selling of people and the expropriation of their labor.”20 They passed laws that effectively kept black Americans in a state of servitude, including conscripting the labor of children without requiring parental consent and barring blacks from owning land outside the boundaries of the cities in which they resided. Former slaves’ freedom was further curtailed when their employment options were restricted, keeping them from seeking gainful employment because they were denied “access…to non-agricultural vocations” and while potential employers were breaking the law if they tried to hire another employer’s workers. Former slaves were also victimized by “white vigilantes [who] declared open season” on them, “murdering and maiming them” with impunity.21 Republicans realized if laws and practices were allowed to continue, the Thirteenth Amendment would be ignored and the nation could become embroiled in another civil war.

It was not until the Fourteenth Amendment was passed three years later in 1868 that established “[a]ll persons born or naturalized in the United States” were citizens of the U.S. as well as of the state in which they lived.22 The amendment further prohibited states from passing any law that would abridge or deprive citizens of the “privileges and immunities” attached to citizenship.23 But another interpretation arose. Nowhere in the amendment was franchise mentioned. Thus, opponents of full integration used the explicit language of the amendment to bar blacks from exercising the right reserved for white, male citizens:  the right to vote. To remedy this oversight and over the objections of Southern Democrats and some Northern Republicans, 24 Congress passed the Fifteenth Amendment on February 26, 1869, and ratified it on February 2, 18970, thus granting to African American males the right to vote.

With their freedom, citizenship, and franchise in place, blacks began to flex their political power. Not only did they play a key role voting Republican allies into state government, they entered into the political realm as office-holders themselves in the states that only five years before was fighting to keep them in bondage.

At times during Reconstruction, blacks comprised nearly half the lower-house delegates in Mississippi and Louisiana, and a majority in South Carolina. Sixteen southern blacks served in Congress, many held state executive offices, and a black justice sat on the South Carolina Supreme Court. Thousands of blacks held local office as sheriffs, magistrates, county councilors, and school board members.25

The era of Reconstruction provided significant gains for blacks in the post-Civil War South. As mentioned above, blacks enjoyed power through political office. Some states even prohibited race-based discrimination in public accommodations,26 allowed blacks to serve on juries, 27 and public education was now available to black children, with black schools receiving funding on par with white schools.28 But these gains were “precarious”29 and short-lived.

As the federal government withdrew troops from the South, Southern Democrats came back into power. With that power they began to roll back the hard-fought gains made by blacks.

[They] repealed public accommodations laws, formalized racial segregation in public schools, enacted measures constraining the mobility and bargaining power of black agricultural workers, and drastically reduced public spending on services such as education. They also adopted electoral devices—such as poll taxes, residency and registration requirements, and surrogate literacy tests—to suppress black voting and further reduce the strength of the Republican Party.30

The resurgence of Southern Democrats’ power quickly led to the erosion of the gains made during Reconstruction. One of the targets of Democrats was the Fifteenth Amendment which, Klarman wrote, “White southerners…generally regarded…as ‘the greatest crime of the nineteenth century.’”31  They acted swiftly to curtail this right without actually violating it. Instead, they

[u]sed fraud and violence to nullify black voting and seize political control for the Democratic Party. Democratic legislatures enacted complex voter registration and residency requirements that further reduced black voting and Republican representation. State constitutional conventions consummated black disfranchisement by adopting poll taxes and literacy tests.32

These insidious practices of legal segregation and the restrictive laws that prevented African Americans from exercising their rights would continue for decades before blacks and their allies began to organize and resist, using the courts and the power of protest to defeat Jim Crow.

The Civil Rights Movement

Though the fight for civil rights has been ongoing since the founding of our nation, for purposes of the curriculum unit, it is helpful to provide students specific dates around which they might frame their research.

In 1954, under the leadership of Chief Justice Earl Warren, the Supreme Court in its landmark case of Brown v. Board of Education overturned its 1896 ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson, which held that racial segregation in public facilities was allowed so long as the facilities were equal. The unanimous Court found that separate was “inherently unequal.”33  Despite this ruling, de facto segregation continued because the Court “imposed no immediate remedy.”34 Not until the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was there serious movements to desegregate the schools.

Another pivotal event had its genesis on December 1, 1955, when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man and move to the back of the bus. Her refusal spurred the Montgomery bus boycott, which lasted a year. According to Klarman, its significance was to

…demonstrate[] to demonstrate to the world that ordinary black southerners were fed up with the racial status quo and were prepared to fight it, even at the cost of extreme personal hardship. [It] also helped to convince individual blacks that through collective action they could transform social conditions.35

The boycott galvanized the black community and its allies, helping them to see the power of non-violent protest. The boycott did not end until December 20, a little over a month after the Supreme Court ruled bus segregation unconstitutional.

Other demonstrations followed, including lunch counter sit-ins and other protest venues where blacks and their white allies defied segregation laws:

…southern black youngsters, together with sympathetic whites, ‘sat in’ restaurants, lunch counters, and libraries; ‘stood in’ at movie theaters; ‘kneeled in’ at churches; and ‘waded in’ at beaches.36

Despite the violence they endured, protesters remained peaceful. The televised demonstrations showed virulence of racial animus, and helped garner sympathy for the movement, paving the way for the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965

President Johnson signed into law the Civil Rights Act on July 2, 1964. A little over a year later, he signed the Voting Rights Act on August 6, 1965. Together, these two acts not only made sweeping changes to the legal status of African Americans and codified the intent of Fifteenth Amendment to  guarantee to African Americans the right to franchise; it empowered the Attorney General to bring suit against states and other entities that discriminated on the basis of race, color, religion, or national origin, effectively ended the era of Jim Crow. 

The Civil Rights Act of 1964

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 ushered in a new era for activists and supporters who worked to abolish legal discrimination based on race, color, religion, or national origin. The purpose of the act was

[to] enforce the constitutional right to vote, to confer jurisdiction upon the district courts of the United states to provide injunctive relief against discrimination in public accommodations, to authorize the Attorney General to institute suits to protect constitutional rights in public facilities and public education, to extend the Commission of Civil Rights, to prevent discrimination in federally assisted programs, to establish a Commission on Equal Employment Opportunity, and for other purposes.

The reach of the act was long. Title I prohibited states or those acting on behalf of the federal government from denying to any person who, based on state law, was eligible to vote from voting in a federal election. It also prohibited the use of literacy tests as a prerequisite for exercising one’s right to vote.37

Title II prohibited racial discrimination in public accommodations. This meant that private-owned hotels, restaurants, or places of entertainment (including movie theaters, concert halls, and sports venues) that provided services to the public or whose business “operations…affect commerce” were barred from denying services to any patron based on race. The act enabled the federal government to exert jurisdiction over these private entities by invoking the federal government’s right to regulate interstate commerce.38 This expansive use of the federal government’s power, however, may have been ignored by the states if not for Sec. 204, which granted to the executive branch through the Attorney General the power to investigate complaints and bring suit in the United States District Court of the District of Columbia against any state it found to have violated the provisions of the act and to compel state compliance.

The act also made forced racial segregation in public schools, including institutions of higher learning, became illegal,39 and prohibited discrimination in employment, again vesting in the Attorney General the power to enforce state compliance.40

The Voting Rights Act of 1965

Hot on the heels of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 came the Voting Rights Act of 1965. While the Civil Rights Act prohibited racial discrimination in public accommodations, facilities, education, and voting in federal elections, the Voting Rights Act codified the 15th Amendment’s right to vote guarantee by barring states from denying the right to vote in state elections.

The act laid out its specific mission: “To enforce the fifteenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States, and for other purposes,”41 and went on to outlaw voting requirements put in place by states and local governments that may not have explicitly denied African Americans their right to vote but which amounted to de facto disenfranchisement. There are several notable provisions that dismantled these barriers to voting.

Section 2 tackled the race issue immediately, stating in no uncertain terms that

[n]o voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure shall be imposed or applied by any State or political subdivision to deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color.42

The brevity of Sec. 2 and its placement in the act leaves no doubt that eliminating raced-based discrimination was paramount. The other sections of the act dealt with the specific ways in which states attempted to restrict or disenfranchise African Americans and reinforced the act’s overarching purpose, and in Sec. 3 endowed the U. S. Attorney General with the power to enforce the provisions of the act, including bringing actions in the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia against jurisdictions which the Attorney General suspected of unlawfully denying otherwise eligible citizens the right to vote.43

In subsequent sections, the act prevented states from using any “test or device” to deny U.S. citizens the free exercise of their right to vote. The act defined “test or device” as

any requirement that a person as a prerequisite for voting or registration for voting (1) demonstrate the ability to read, write, understand, or interpret any matter, (2) demonstrate any educational achievement or his knowledge of any particular subject, (3) possess good moral character, or (4) prove his qualification by voucher of registered voters or members of any other class.44

In essence, the act prohibited states from using tests to measure literacy ability, subject matter competency, or moral character, or to predicate one’s right to vote on the testimonial of another, already registered voter.

Another barrier to franchise removed by the act was the poll tax. In Section 10, Congress found that requiring otherwise eligible voters to pay that tax as a “precondition to voting” would “(i) preclude[ ] persons of limited means from voting or impose[ ] unreasonable financial hardship upon such persons,” in essence preventing people from exercising their Constitutional right simply based on their inability to pay the tax. The act further reasoned that the poll tax had no “reasonable relation to any legitimate State interest” and, in fact, that “in some areas [had] the purpose or effect of denying persons the right to vote because of race or color.”45

Perhaps its most striking provision was not what it prohibited states from doing but rather what it required states to affirmatively do. Section 5 required that any state that ran afoul of the test set forth in Sec. 4(b)46 to petition the court before any changes to its voting laws could go into effect. Upon examination for the requested changes, the court had to determine that such a change did not amount a “qualification , prerequisite, standard, practice, or procedure” with the “purpose” or “effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race or color.”47 Like the requirement set forth in the Civil Rights Act, states with a history of disenfranchising black voters were required to submit any proposed changes to its election laws to the Attorney General for review and approval.

Both the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act were victories in the fight for racial justice. These acts illustrate how the existence of the elements identified by Graetz and Shapiro were essential to these bills becoming law. [discussion]

In Their Own Words:  Anne Moody and John Reynolds

As I observed above, very few of students have a natural fascination with history. To bring the history alive, students will read of the memoirs by activists in the civil rights movement as well Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”

In Coming of Age in Mississippi, Anne Moody tells the story of her life as a civil rights activist. She begins her memoir with her childhood growing up in Mississippi during the time of lawful segregation. She details her early childhood years, being raised by her single mother after her father abandons the family. She is peripherally aware of the racial disparities both in the larger American society but also within the black community, especially when her mother falls in love with and has children with Raymond Davis, whose family looks down on Anne’s mother because of her darker skin color. But it is the murder of Emmett Till in 1955 that forces Anne to question the stark racial inequalities of American society. While in college, she joins the NAACP and actively participates in sit-ins and protests

John Reynold’s memoir The Fight for Freedom: A Memoir of My Years in the Civil Rights Movement is Reynold’s account of his work for civil rights. He joined the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in the summer of 1965, after passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. His memoir is most instructive in showing students that the fight for justice did not end with the passage of these two laws. The struggle to exercise their rights continued for years after. It shows students that the struggles continue to this day, especially important since Shelby County v. Holder (2013), in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Section 4(b), the provision which contained the formula courts used to determine which jurisdictions had to get federal permission before any changes in its voting laws could take effect, which required states with a history of disenfranchising black voters, unconstitutional because the formula was over 40 years old.48

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 1963 “Letter from Birmingham Jail” is King’s eloquent response to a letter from white clergy men urging King and his followers to be patient, to desist from engaging in demonstrations, and pursue the changes sought through “proper channels” of negotiation.49 outlines the reasons that African Americans were fighting for their civil rights. In the letter, he lays out the reasons that their argument that the demonstrations are “unwise and untimely”50 fail. In essence, he argues that African Americans have waited long enough, “more than 340 years for our constitutional and God given rights,”51 that the injustice perpetrated on African Americans through unjust laws required immediate and sustained action.

The memoirs, coupled with Martin Luther King, Jr.’s letter, will help frame the movement in personal terms and showcase the role and power of individuals.

Current Protest Movements

Neither the Civil Rights Act nor the Voting Rights Act have eradicated discrimination based on race or the other protected classes. The courts are still adjudicating lawsuits brought by plaintiffs alleging unlawful discrimination. There are several modern-day protests movements students may research.

LGBTQ Rights

One of the modern-day movements today dealing with discrimination are issues surrounding the rights of transgender individuals, especially their right to serve in the military and the “bathroom laws” that prohibit transgender individuals from using the facility that corresponds to their gender identity.

Environmental Justice

Environmental justice has most recently been illustrated by the Standing Rock Sioux’s battle to prevent the Dakota Access Pipeline from being built through reservation land and possibly endangering the drinking water of thousands of Native peoples across several states. The ongoing water crisis in Flint, Michigan, where toxic levels of lead were found in the drinking water, is another issue that students may find interesting.52

Reproductive Rights

Legal battles over cultural values, fights that once seemed settled, have seen a resurgence on the national scene, most notably the fight over reproductive rights and the sustained battle of anti-abortion activists for a full repeal of the First Amendment protections of a woman’s right to choose.

Immigrants’ Rights

With a large student population of first- or second-generation immigrants, the issue of immigrants’ rights will likely be of great interest to my students. There are several avenues they may pursue, including the right to seek asylum in the U.S. and the feasibility of a pathway to citizenship for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and other undocumented residents.

Gun Control

Challenges to citizens’ Second Amendment right to bear arms gain traction with each new mass shooting. Though not a recent phenomena, police shootings of unarmed black men gained prominence in the public sphere when George Zimmerman, a Florida man, successfully used Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law as his defense when he was acquitted of shooting and killing 15-year-old Trayvon Martin. Another movement based on the issues surround gun control is the March for Our Lives movement, which arose out of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School in Florida on February 14, 2018.

Equal Rights Amendment (ERA)

The first version of the Equal Rights Amendment was introduced by Alice Paul in 1923, then revised and reintroduced in 1972, but it failed to garner the necessary 38 states for ratification. Since 1983, the bill has been reintroduced every year, and currently 37 states have ratified the Amendment under its current language:  Women shall have equal rights in the United States and every place subject to its jurisdiction. “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.53

Occupy Wall Street

According to its website, Occupy Wall Street is “people-powered movement” founded to

fight[ ] back against the corrosive power of major banks and multinational corporations over the democratic process, and the role of Wall Street in creating an economic collapse that has caused the greatest recession in generations.54 

The Occupy Movement as a cohesive social movement has all but disappeared. However, students can research the impact, if any, it has had on societal conversations surrounding economic and social inequalities.

Teaching Strategies

The following strategies will allow students to more easily access the complex information that we will be tackling.

Independent Reading and Annotation

Prior to the formal start of the unit, students will be required to read two memoirs by activists in the Civil Rights Movement, Coming of Age in Mississippi by Anne Moody and The Fight for Freedom by John Reynolds. For homework during the unit, student will be required to read and annotate William Lloyd Garrison’s 1854 speech “No Compromise with the Evil of Slavery” and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 1963 “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”

I struggle with how much independent reading to assign. Too often, many of my students—even the brightest and most capable—will not read outside of class. The two major (but certainly not the only) reasons for this are 1) the inaccessibility of the texts I ask them to read and 2) the refusal of some of them to read outside of class. Accessibility is a concern for every teacher at Overfelt when the majority of our students, even those in the advanced classes, read below grade level. The difficulty of accessing information that is dense and complex leads students to give up. The reason they abandon the task is because they have come to rely on the strategy that teachers have used to combat the “I-don’t-read-anything-outside-of-class” mentality:  we read the texts in class. The remedy we use has become part of the problem. We teachers need to do better.

By the time I will teach this unit, I do not anticipate that this will be a major hurdle because my students will have had independent reading assignments that require them to come to class having read and annotated the text on their own. This is a critical task that they will need to have completed in order to participate in the next strategy I will use:  formal class discussions.

Socratic Seminar and Fishbowl Discussion

One of my favorite strategies to use in my English classes is structured class discussions. The two I use most frequently in my classroom are Socratic seminars and fishbowl discussions. Both of these are excellent tools for teaching students how to express their ideas thoughtfully and to support those ideas with relevant evidence. Students will learn to engage in academic discourse supported by relevant evidence rather than engage in arguments supported solely by feelings and opinions. Earlier in the school year, they will have already been trained and participated numerous times in graded Socratic seminars and fishbowl discussions. They will experience in the language of academic discourse because I will have provided them with a list of phrases to use during discussion that they find awkward in the beginning but come to appreciate as tools to help them frame comments in ways that move discussion forward.

For the Socratic seminar, students will have need to have read and annotated a text (or two), generate at least five questions for discussion, and come to class ready to discuss the topic or issue raised in it. The questions must be open-ended, ones that move discussion forward rather than shut it down. For those students who are more reticent to participate in discussion, having these questions on hand allows them to contribute more readily. Additionally, when discussion wanes (as it inevitably will) and silence becomes uncomfortable, they have questions to fill that void of silence. The journals allow them to ground their comments, questions, and observations in the text. As they gain more experience, the conversation becomes more organic.

Though preparation is the same as for a Socratic seminar, fishbowl discussions take a slightly different format. The discussion begins with a circle of 10 students who bring with them their written questions generated by the reading. However, unlike the seminar where participants are fixed (they are in the circle for the duration of the class period), the circle is fluid in the fishbowl; students may enter and exit the circle following a specific protocol. Students may leave when, and only when, they are “tapped out” by another student not currently in the circle but who wants to enter the discussion. Once in the circle, the student must remain until she is tapped out by another student who takes her place. Students become better listeners because they must be able to join the discussion with as little disruption to the discussion as possible.

Both these methods of discussion teach critical skills. Students learn to engage in sustained discourse using academic language. As their experience with formal discussions grows, they become more nimble, moving from one topic to another more fluidly, the conversations authentic and organic.

Writing Workshop and Peer Editing

When I tell them that revision is an art, my students look at me like am I am crazy. To them, revision is unnecessary torture. They think that essays need only be revised once for the final draft to be publication ready. So when they get to me, and I require at least three drafts prior to the final draft, there is wailing and gnashing of teeth before they grudgingly do what I ask. The multiple-draft writing process will not change. This year, though, I will have them workshop their papers.

They will begin with handwritten prewriting: a brainstorm list, an idea web/cluster, a freewriting, or any other method they use to get themselves started. The only requirement is that they must handwrite it. When they have completed that, they will take their prewriting, meet in their research groups, and review their ideas. They will then decide which ones to conduct further research, then meet again to finalize their topic.


We have all seen them (some might even say suffered through them), the PowerPoint that was hastily assembled the night before or even that morning. And we wonder if such presentations are worth the class time devoted to them. The answer to that question is, it depends on the product produced. The goal is for students’ presentations to show they have a good grasp of the subject matter on which they are presenting and to organize and present the information with their audience in mind. This is not an easy skill to master. But it is a critical one.

Students who have good presentation skills will know better how to tailor their information for a particular audience and for a particular purpose. To help them develop this skill set, they will spend several days “workshopping” and critiquing each other before presenting their final product. I believe this will lead to students who are more likely to have speaking, listening, and organizational skills that they can transfer to other situations, both academic and career.

Classroom Activities and Timing of the Unit

This curriculum unit will be taught in my 11th-grade Advanced Placement English Language class in the second semester. Seniors will have already taken a U.S. history course, and the juniors will be enrolled in either college prep U.S. history or Advanced Placement U.S. History. Depending on their skill level, the unit will occupy five or six weeks in the second semester.

One challenge to teaching this unit so late in the school year is the impending AP English Language exam scheduled for the second week in May. I will need to balance explicit test prep for the exam with the unit’s activities. Because we are on a modified block schedule—we have two block days during which periods meet (evens on Wednesday and odd on Thursday) for 85 minutes—I anticipate designating block periods as test prep days and the remaining three regular schedule days (when I see every class) as unit days.

Week One

I will begin by reviewing the Emancipation Proclamation; Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments; the Reconstruction and Jim Crow Eras; and the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts. As noted above, I fully expected that by the time I teach the unit, all students will have had a good grounding in these events. This review will allow me to assess students’ knowledge of the events leading up to the passage of the acts and to fill any gaps they may have so that we are all working from the same foundation. This time of direct instruction will also allow students who did not finish the memoirs a few days grace to get them done. I will also introduce Graetz and Shapiro’s theory about the building blocks of successful movements so that students can look for these elements as they read and analyze class reading and the results of their research.

In preparation for week two, students will also be assigned to read and annotate William Lloyd Garrison’s 1854 speech “No Compromise with the Evil of Slavery” and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 1963 “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”

Week Two

This will be a busy week. We will begin with a whole-class rhetorical analysis of William Lloyd Garrison’s speech and King’s essay. At 53 minutes run time, the PBS documentary The Murder of Emmett Till will just fit into one class period. It will be helpful to watch it together, especially since the topic of this week’s Socratic seminar or fishbowl on the Civil Rights Movement will include discussion of Reynold’s memoir and Moody’s memoir, in which she cites Emmett Till’s murder as the catalyst for her activism. In the discussion, students will be guided to also examine the Civil Rights Movement’s similarities and differences with current movements.  

The school librarian will do a presentation on resources available to students through school subscriptions, and other sources, and methods to keep track of their research results to make creating endnotes and bibliographies easier. I will supplement this presentation with research tips of my own, including those shared by Ian Shapiro during Friday, May 4, 2019, during the May Organizational Session of the Yale National Initiative, including using Wiki as starting point but not a resource, and Google Scholar and JSTOR for scholarly journals. The librarian and I will review ways to evaluate the reliability or bias of search results.

This week, too, students will choose topics and groups, after which they will create a Google Doc to team folder in Google Drive where they will share their research, which they will begin over the weekend for homework.

Week Three

This week will be less structured. Groups will have the flexibility to work in a way that they feel most productive. Groups will be required to meet with me to refine topic and research question, ask clarifying questions and receive other assistance they feel they need to keep them on-track. I will also review format of a research paper (organization/elements of a paper, ways to cite information in endnotes/footnotes bibliography).

Groups will be conduct informal presentations to classmates about their topic and research question, after which their classmates may ask questions and/or make suggestions for further inquiry. Groups will continue workshopping their rough drafts, taking the feedback they receive and using it to inform their revisions.

Their homework will be to continue to research and improve their first draft in google doc with workshop revisions. By Sunday, groups will submit their first rough draft, which I will review and provide suggestions for improvement.

Week Four

This will be another unstructured, check-in week. I will meet with groups to gauge their progress and provide further assistance. They will continue to workshop their second rough draft. This will also be the last week for extensive research. As they wind down their research, they will work on their formal presentations in which each group member has a speaking part.

Week Five

The first part of the week will be dedicated to students putting the finishing touches on their presentations. The latter part of the week will be 10-minute student presentations. At the end of each one will be a Q-&-A session. Based on how many groups there are, one day in week six may be needed to complete presentations.

Week Six

In this final week, students will make final revisions and submit their final research paper. We will also hold a final fishbowl discussion to allow students to discuss not just their findings but also to reflect on what they learned from the process.

Appendix:  Implementing Common Core State and College Board Standards

The AP English Language course must address curricular requirements set forth by the College Board. Additionally, course instruction must satisfy the Common Core State Standards (CCSS or Standards) for English-Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Studies. Though not an exhaustive analysis of applicable standards, the ones most relevant to this unit are discussed below.

College Board:  The reading students will do for this reading satisfies the focus of the AP English Language and Composition course that requires “the rhetorical analysis of nonfiction texts” which are “written in a variety of periods, disciplines, and rhetorical contexts….” Both King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” as well as Garrison’s “No Compromise with the Evil of Slavery” both provide students this opportunity.

CCSS Reading Standards for Informational Texts:  In producing their research paper, students will be required “[c]ite strong and thorough textual evidence to support [their] analysis” of the explicit and implicit arguments of a text they plan to use as a source (1). Additionally, as students gather their sources and formulate their arguments, they will need to “[i]ntegrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in different media or formats…as well as in words in order to address a question or solve a problem” (7).

CCSS Writing:  Writing is a major focus of this unit. In addition to reading and analyzing source material for potential use in their papers, students will “[p]roduce clearn and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience” (4). Their finished product, however, will be (hopefully!) the result of “planning, revising, editing, rewriting…, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience” (5). They will conduct research that is sustained in nature, requiring them to “narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate,” to “synthesize multiple sources…, demonstrating understanding of their subject under investigation” (7). As they work through their drafts, they will “[g]ather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources” and “assess the strengths and limitations of each source…,” selectively incorporate that information to “maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and overreliance on any one source,” and “follow[ ] a standard format for citation including footnotes and endnotes” (8).

CCSS Speaking and Listening:  Socratic seminars and fishbowl discussions are excellent ways to address multiple standards in one lesson. Both require students to “[i]nitiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions…” that allow them to “build[ ] on others’ ideas and express[ ] their own clearly and persuasively” (1). They do this by “[c]oming to discussions prepared, having read and researched material under study,” which allows them to reference “evidence from texts…to stimulate a thoughtful, well-reasoned exchange of ideas” (1)(a). Additionally, their presentations will allow them to “[p]resent information, findings, and supporting evidence” which “convey[s] a clear and distinct perspective and a logical argument” that their audience can follow (4).


  1. According to the California Department of Education, East Side Union High School District has a total of 29 schools under its jurisdiction: 11 comprehensive high schools, 10 charter high schools, 5 continuation high schools, and 3 adult education programs. Accessed July 22, 2019.
  2. The information is taken from a hand-out received from Ian Shapiro as part of seminar reading.
  3. James Madison. Federalist No. 10 (1787).
  4. Michael J. Graetz and Ian Shapiro. The Wolf at the Door: Fighting Economic Insecurity (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, forthcoming 2020).
  5. Ibid., chap. 2.
  6. Ibid.
  7. Glenn Beck claimed white Christian evangelicals were the heirs apparent, the keepers and protectors of the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. Christopher B. Strain. “How Immigrants’ Rights, LGBTQ, and Conservative Activists Appropriate Memories of the Black Freedom Struggle.” Journal of Civil and Human Rights, vol. 1, no. 2 (Fall/Winter 2015), 234.
  8. Dawson Barrett. Defiant: Protest Movements in Post-Liberal America (New York: New York University Press, 2018), 19.
  9. U.S. Const. amend. I.
  10. Christopher Cameron. “To Plead Our Own Cause: African Americans in Massachusetts and the Making of the Antislavery Movement.” American Abolitionism and Antislavery.5 (2014), 1-2.
  11. “Frederick Douglass, 1818-1895.” Documenting the American South. The three narratives are The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave (1845), My Bondage and My Freedom (1855), and The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass (1881).
  12. Frederick Douglass, “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro.” Accessed June 17, 2019.
  13. Ibid.
  14. William Lloyd Garrison. No Compromise with Slavery, 1854. The Library of Congress. Accessed July 23, 2019.
  15. Ibid.
  16. Ibid.
  17. The Declaration of Independence, 1776.
  18. Supra, note 14.
  19. U.S. Const. amend. XIII, sec. 1.
  20. Michael J. Klarman. Unfinished Business: Racial Equality in American History, Oxford University Press. Oxford, 2007.
  21. Ibid.
  22. U.S. Const. amendment XIV, sec. 1
  23. Ibid. Sec. 2 of the amendment set forth the formula for apportioning states’ representation in Congress. The formula reduced the number of representatives in proportion to the number of voting-eligible males who were denied the vote for reasons other than “participation in a rebellion or other crime…” Sec. 3 explicitly excluded persons from holding office as a “Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President or Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State” who had previously taken an oath to “support the Constitution of the United States” and subsequently “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the United States,” effectively barring members of the former Confederacy from participating in the reconciliation governments. These two sections applied together help explain how the 15th Amendment was able to garner enough votes for ratification.
  24. Klarman, supra note 20 at 57.
  25. Ibid., 58.
  26. Ibid., 59.
  27. Ibid., 58.
  28. Ibid.
  29. Ibid., 60.
  30. Ibid., 67.
  31. Ibid. 77.
  32. Ibid.
  33. Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954).
  34. Klarman, supra, note 20 at 152.
  35. Ibid. at 167.
  36. Ibid. at 169.
  37. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title I
  38. Ibid., Title II. The act stated in sec. 201(c) that any business that served interstate travelers, or who goods, whether bought or sold, had moved between states or the District of Columbia or commerce.
  39. Ibid., Title III.
  40. Ibid., Title VII. Sec.702 exempted religious organizations under certain circumstances.
  41. The Voting Rights Act of 1965.
  42. Ibid.
  43. Ibid., Sec. 3
  44. Ibid., Section 4(c)
  45. Ibid., Sec. 10(a)(i)-(iii).
  46. Ibid., Sec. 4(a)-(b). In Sec. 4(a), the court had to make a determination whether proposed changes to the state’s election law amounted to an unlawful “device or test,” the court had to find that said device or test had not been in use five years prior to the “filing of the action for the purpose or with the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race or color.” States that were required to get permission from the court and the Attorney General were those states that had, as of November 1, 1964, such a test or device and had either less than 50% “of persons of voting age persons registered to vote or less than 50% of eligible voters vote in the November 1964 presidential election.
  47. Ibid., Sec. 5
  48. Shelby County v. Holder, 570 U.S. 529 (2013). The Court let stand Sec. 5, which gave the federal government jurisdiction over the states covered by Sec. 4(b). However, enforcement of Sec. 5 is rendered moot because no new formula has been created to replace the old one.
  49. Statement by Alabama Clergymen. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute. Stanford University. Accessed July 29, 2019.
  50. Ibid.
  51. Letter from Birmingham Jail. Martin Luther King, Jr. April 16, 1963. Accessed July 29, 2019.
  52. On Wednesday, July 31, 2019, in Democratic Presidential Debate, Marianne Williamson stated that what happened in Flint would never have happened in in affluent Gross Pointe, Michigan, where she lived.
  53. Sec. 1. The Equal Rights Amendment. Accessed July 31, 2019. Sec. 2 grants Congress and the States the power to enforce the amendment, and Sec. 3 provides that the amendment take affect two years after is it ratified.
  54. Occupy Wall Street: We Are the 99 Percent. Accessed August 1, 2019.


Barrett, Dawson. The Defiant: Protest Movements in Post-liberal America. New York: New York University Press, 2018.

Blackpast, B. (2011, November 7) (1854) William Lloyd Garrison, “No Compromise with the Evil of Slavery”. Retrieved from

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954).

California Department of Education. “School Directory.” Accessed July 9, 2019.

Cameron, Christopher, “To Plead Our Own Cause:  African Americans in Massachusetts and the Making of the Antislavery Movement” (2014). American Abolitionism and Antislavery.5.

The Declaration of Independence, 1776. Accessed July 29, 2019.

Documenting the American South. “Frederick Douglass, 1818-1895.” Accessed July 3, 2019.

Dolton, Patricia F., and Aimee Graham. "Women's Suffrage Movement." Reference & User Services Quarterly 54, no. 2 (2014): 31-36.

Equal Rights Amendment. Accessed July 31, 2019.

Frey, R. Scott, Thomas Dietz, and Linda Kalof. "Characteristics of Successful American Protest Groups: Another Look at Gamson's Strategy of Social Protest." American Journal of Sociology 98, no. 2 (1992): 368-87.

Garrison, William Lloyd. No Compromise with Slavery (1854). The Library of Congress. Accessed July 23, 2019.

Heiny, Louisa M. A. "Radical Abolitionist Influence on Federalism and the Fourteenth Amendment." The American Journal of Legal History 49, no. 2 (2007): 180-96. doi:10.2307/25470008.

Klarman, Michael J. Unfinished Business: Racial Equality in American History. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.

Madison, James. Federalist No. 10 (1787). Accessed August 10, 2019.

Moody, Anne. Coming of Age in Mississippi. New York: Delta Trade Paperbacks, 2004. This memoir details Moody’s life in the segregated South and her involvement with the Civil Rights Movement.

Occupy Wall Street: We Are the 99 Percent. Accessed August 1, 2019.

Pierson, Michael D. ""Slavery Cannot Be Covered up with Broadcloth or a Bandanna": The Evolution of White Abolitionist Attacks on the "Patriarchal Institution"." Journal of the Early Republic 25, no. 3 (2005): 383-415.

Reynolds, John. The Fight for Freedom: A Memoir of My Years in the Civil Rights Movement. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2012.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute. Stanford University. Accessed July 29, 2019

Schumpeter, Joseph. “Chapters XXI and XXII,” Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy. Hand-out from Ian Shapiro.

Strain, Christopher B. “How Immigrants’ Rights, LGBTQ, and Conservative Activists Appropriate Memories of the Black Freedom Struggle.” Journal of Civil and Human Rights, vol. 1, no. 2 (Fall/Winter 2015), 231-235.

The Murder of Emmett Till. PBS. January 20, 2003. Accessed June 1, 2019.

U.S. Const., amend. XIII

U.S. Const., amend. XIV

U.S. Const., amend. XV

Resistance: Reclaiming an American Tradition. Jeff Biggers

When Freedom Would Triumph. Robert Mann

Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice. Raymond Arsenault

What Democracy Looks Like: The Rhetoric of Social Movements and Counterpolitics, Christina R. Foust, Amy Pason, and Kate Zittlow Rogness (eds.)

The Norton Reader.  W.W. Norton & Company

The Language of Composition:  Reading, Writing, Rhetoric. Shea, Reneé, Lawrence Scanlon, and Robin Dissin Aufses (eds.). Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2nd Edition.

Latinos and the Voting Rights Act:  The Search for Racial Purpose. Henry Flores.

“Local Protest and Federal Policy:  The Impact of the Civil Right Movement on the 1964 Civil Rights Act.” Kenneth T. Andrew and Sarah Gaby. Sociological Forum, Vol. 30, No. S1, Special Issue:  Commemorating the Anniversary of the Civil Rights Laws (June 2015), pp. 509-527.

“Race, Representation, and the Voting Rights Act.” Sophie Schuit and Jon C. Rogowski. American Journal of Political Science, Vol. 61, No. 3 (July 2017), pp. 513-526.

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