S is for Segregation and Civil Rights
There are some ugly parts of American history and segregation is one of those. However, just because talking about that time period might make us uncomfortable, it doesn’t mean that we should skip it with elementary age students. Thankfully men and women came along who helped to bring an end to segregation in the Southern states. So while the initial discussion of segregation is difficult, the epilogue is inspiring!
Picture Books for Lower Elementary (K-3)
Child of the Civil Rights Movement
Boycott Blues: How Rosa Parks Inspired a Nation
Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
If You Lived at the Time of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Chapter Books for Upper Elementary (4-6)
The Watsons Go to Birmingham, 1963
The Civil Rights Movement for Kids: A History with 21 Activities
Freedom’s Children: Young Civil Rights Activists Tell Their Own Stories
Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the Selma Voting Rights March
Remember: The Journey to School Integration
Through My Eyes by Ruby Bridges
The School is Not White! (This is a picture book, but the information is for older children.)
Movies and Videos
Join the Greensboro Sit-Ins: This interactive history exhibit shows just a glimpse of what the Greensboro sit-ins were all about and how they happened.
The History of Jim Crow Laws Part 1, Part 2, and Part 4: A great three part (not sure where part 3 is, but the other parts are well done) informational videos to introduce children to exactly what the Jim Crow Laws were and how they came about.
“I Have a Dream” speech by Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman
Disney’s The Ernest Green Story
Activities and Lesson Plans
The Sneetches and Segregation: Uses The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss to teach elementary children what segregation was in a way they can understand.
Civil Rights Movement Lessons from The Homeschool Den: A free set of lessons and worksheets that helps children learn about Rights, Privileges, Equality, Fairness, Groups, Discrimination, Bias, Prejudice, Stereotypes, Racism, Making People Proud, The Power of Speeches and more. Also has a free pictoral Civil Rights timeline and a free download of Important Events of the Civil Rights Movement.
Free Notebook Pages about Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott
America’s Civil Rights Movement 1954-1968 Project Pack by In the Hands of a Child: This pack includes a 7-day Planning Guide, Related Reading, 20 Hands-On Activities, a 14-page Research Guide, and an Answer Key. Students will be introduced to events leading up to the Civil Rights Movement, key events during the movement, and Civil Rights leaders. It says it is for grades 7-12, but it can easily be adapted and used for upper elementary.
Free Notebook Page about Martin Luther King, Jr.
As with any book or movie recommendations about sensitive subject matter, please preview these suggestions to make sure they are suitable for your children. This topic provides great opportunity to discuss rights and equality on a deep level that I’ve found children understand.
Chelli has been homeschooling for seven years and married for twelve. She has three children Grace, Sophia, and Levi. When she’s not educating or blogging at The Planted Trees, you can generally find her with her nose in a book, cooking up something yummy in the kitchen, or if she’s really lucky, you can’t find her at all because she’s traveling with friends and family.