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Teaching Multicultural Literature : A Workshop for the Middle Grades
Workshop 1 Workshop 2 Workshop 3 Workshop 4 Workshop 5 Workshop 6 Workshop 7 Workshop 8
Workshop 5: Historical and Cultural Context
Overview
Authors and Literary Works
Christopher Paul Curtis
Biography
Work
Interview
Key References
Video Summary
Teaching Strategies
Commentary
Student Work
Resources
Interactive Workbook -- Explore two poems using strategies from these workshops. Go.
Channel-Talk -- Share your views on the discussion board. Go.

Authors and Literary Works
Key References

Montgomery Bus Boycott
In 1955, Rosa Parks, one of many activists involved in the civil rights movement in Alabama, protested the racial segregation on public transportation by refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white man. For this she was arrested, and the Montgomery Bus Boycott -- a planned and organized response from the African American community -- began. This boycott lasted nearly a year, until the Supreme Court determined that segregation on public transportation was unconstitutional. The boycott and the resulting court decision brought national attention to the struggle of African Americans and great impetus to the fledgling civil rights movement. It also encouraged the implementation of Martin Luther King Jr.'s nonviolent resistance tactics.

Brown v. Board of Education
In 1954, the Supreme Court ruled that the principle of "separate but equal," established in the infamous Plessy v. Ferguson case in 1896, was no longer legitimate, and that racial segregation of schools was inherently unconstitutional. While this decision did lead to the integration of schools, African Americans in the South still did not have easy access to equal education. Deeply resistant to the change, many states went so far as to shut down their public schools rather than comply with the ruling. Nevertheless, the case of Brown v. Board of Education helped legitimize the idea of desegregation and was an important aspect of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's (NAACP) fight for equal rights for African Americans in all sectors of public life.

The 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham
On a Sunday morning in 1963, members of the Ku Klux Klan bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church, a gathering place for civil rights activists, and murdered four young girls. The bombing was one of the most tragic events of the movement and brought national attention to the racial and social unrest in the South. Because of the work of civil rights leaders in its aftermath, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were passed to protect African Americans.

March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, 1963
The March on Washington was a massive public demonstration organized in Washington, D.C. in 1963 by civil and labor leaders A. Philip Randolph, Bayard Rustin, Martin Luther King Jr., Whitney Young, Roy Wilkins, and James Farmer. Participants in this large, nonviolent protest demanded the end of discrimination against African Americans through the protection of their civil and fundamental rights. Although many people worried about a possible backlash and opposed the demonstration, it was largely successful and peaceful. Immortalized by Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous "I have a dream" speech, the march led to the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

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