Lesson Plans

Lesson Overview

Historians of the 1960s Black Freedom movement argue that media perception of the civil rights movement has perverted the true story of the period. Racial inequality was not a southern problem but a national phenomenon. The focus on national events negates the role of local movements. Women’s important contributions and leadership recede to the background.  And, the emphasis on activism before 1966 lends itself to dismissal or demonizing the rise of black militancy in the latter 1960s.

These lessons demonstrate the complex and complicated transition from direct action protest to community organization.  Students employ map identification, image analysis, interactive decision making, and life experience to gain a greater understanding behind the motivations and strategies that defined the black freedom movement after 1966.


Each lesson plan enhances critical thinking, observation, empathy, analysis, and tactical assessment.  Students will learn to:

  • Correlate population, housing, and income disparity via geo-spatial analysis
  • Listen to interviews which help them engage generational, gendered, and/or racial life experiences that introduce diverse perspectives.
  • Understand structural inequalities which drive black activists to concentrate on economic development; and
  • Evaluate primary sources, scrutinize abstract representations, and formulate an interpretative framework for understanding rhetoric and images from the black power period.

Time Required

One hour class session and/or up to one week with research homework

Recommended Grade Level



African American History; civic engagement, civil rights movement; economics


Black Freedom Movement, 1964-1972


All materials can be found within the Harambee City website.  Each lesson plan has a link to all relevant documents.