Atlanta: 5th Grade Lesson Plan
Desegregation of Schools

This curriculum is based on the video clips, stories and discussion questions, and activities housed in the Web-site Freedom on Film: The Civil Rights Movement in Georgia. The lessons are based on Georgia Performance Standards (GPS) updated as of May 2007. The purpose of the lessons in the Freedom on Film on freedom curriculum is to guide teachers on how to instruct students on the events, historical figures, personalities and key principals of the Civil Rights Movement, using examples from its impact in nine Georgia cities and towns, in accordance with GPS guidelines.

Letters and numbers in parenthesis indicate the recommended course and skill levels. For example, SS8H11= Social Studies, 11-Skill Number. For current Georgia Performance Standards, go to http://www.georgiastandards.org/socialstudies.aspx.

Significance of learning about desegregation in the Civil Rights Movement

Students will be able to identify the different forms of segregation that existed during Civil Rights Movement period in Georgia. By reading stories on the Freedom on Film web-site, they will be able to understand how segregation was used to oppress, suppress and victimize people of color. They will understand the role of key people, events, and developments in the desegregation of schools between 1950 and 1975 that.

Students will demonstrate an understanding of desegregation as one of the major ends of the civil rights movement set out to tackle. They will also understand the whole concept of segregation from the stories of the activities like the over 200 African American students march to President’s office at The University of Georgia to present him with a list of grievances, and be able to identify significant leaders, events and organizations that fought segregation in Georgia.

Primary learning outcomes (Teacher’s Questions for Students)

What was the genesis of segregation in Atlanta? Which organizations were formed to tackle this problem? Explain the key events and people of the Civil Rights movement? What inspired them? What are the specific activities used by the organizations, individuals and groups to fight segregation in Atlanta? When did segregation officially end? How did the desegregation activities in Atlanta influence the whole Civil Rights Movement? What role did the Brown v. Board of Education (1954) case play in fighting segregation?

Additional learning outcomes (Teacher’s Questions for Students)

Who was the pioneer of desegregation in Atlanta? How was Jim Crow laws dismantled through the Civil Rights Movement? What was Governor Lester Maddox’s role in process of school’s desegregation? When were the Students for a Democratic Society and Atlanta’s Fat Cats formed? What was their role in the Civil Rights Movement? What are the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act? What was the role of Martin Luther King, Jr. in the movement?

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Assessed Georgia Performance Standards
Grade 5: Social Studies
(Note: specific skills addressed are italicized)

SS5H8 The student will describe the importance of key people, events, and developments between 1950-1975.

  1. Discuss the importance of the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Vietnam War.
  2. Explain the key events and people of the Civil Rights movement; include Brown v. Board of Education (1954), Montgomery Bus Boycott, the March on Washington, Civil Rights Act, Voting Rights Act, and civil rights activities of Thurgood Marshall, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King, Jr.
  3. Describe the impact on American society of the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr.
  4. Discuss the significance of the technologies of television and space exploration.

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Procedures/Learning Activities

Class and Web Activity on Segregation

Materials and Equipment

  1. Web link to Freedom on Film web-site or handouts containing the site contents if there is no computer and/ internet access.
  2. Writing materials
  3. Colored construction paper (at least two different colors)

Step 1: Duration – 30 Minutes

Introduce students to the concept of segregation by distributing two sets of directly colored pieces of paper randomly to form two equal groups (if the groups are not demographically balanced make the appropriate changes). “Segregate” one of the two groups by asking then to turn their desks and face the back of the room or away from the class activity area.

Lead the half of the class that is facing the front of the class through an unrelated class discussion from previous class sessions while ignoring the others. You may also scribble something interesting on the white board or play a humorous animated soundless clip on the projector that is likely to elicit laughter from the class. At some point, the students will begin to be uncomfortable at their treatment and you can then turn the discussion and their desks around to civil rights and the concept of segregation.

Bring the two groups together and let the class mix freely and explain to them that what is happening is desegregation.

Step 2: Duration – 20 Minutes

Get volunteers to share with the class their understanding of desegregation. Introduce the class to segregation at the University of Georgia by reading and studying the links of the following Freedom on Film stories of Atlanta: - Black Students March on President's Office. And let them role play the grievances of the University of Georgia students as regards being segregated. 

Total Duration
70 minutes

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Sample Discussion or Worksheet Questions

  1. What characterized segregation in Atlanta?
  2. What desegregation activities took place in Atlanta?
  3. Who were the leaders championing the desegregation in efforts Atlanta?
  4. What role did the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in the fight against segregation?
  5. Who were the pioneers of desegregation in Atlanta?
  6. What role did Lester Maddox play in the Civil Rights Movement?
  7. What are the specific activities used by the organizations, individuals and groups to fight segregation in Atlanta?
  8. How did the segregationists counter the Civil Rights Movement?
  9. Which artifacts marked the first victory against desegregation in Georgia?
  10. What is the significance of the Brown v. Board of Education of 1954?
  11. Who are the key events and people of the Civil Rights movement?
  12. What is the significance of Civil Rights Act and civil the rights activities of Martin Luther King, Jr. in the desegregation of schools?
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Procedures/Learning Activities

Journal- Writing Activity on Desegregation  

Materials and Equipment

  1. Web link to Freedom on Film web-site or handouts containing the site contents if there is no computer and/ internet access.
  2. Writing materials

Step 1: Duration – 15 Minutes

Introduce the students to desegregation by reading and studying the links of the following Freedom on Film stories: - The desegregation of Atlanta schools and Brown v. Board of Education (1954).

Step 2: Duration –20 Minutes

Discuss with the class about the different strategies used by the Civil Rights Movement and groups to fight segregation. The following questions can help guide the discussions: What were some of the approaches used by the Students for a Democratic Society and Atlanta’s Fat Cats to fight segregation? How did the segregationists counter these strategies? Ask the student to support their responses using the Freedom on Film website story on Atlanta.

Step 3: Duration – 35 Minutes

Ask the students to write a letter to their local newspaper explaining your feelings about Martin Luther King, Jr. contributions to the desegregation of schools in Georgia.

Total Duration
70 minutes

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Procedures/Learning Activities

Essay Activity on Desegregation

Materials and Equipment

  1. Web link to Freedom on Film web-site or handouts containing the site contents if there is no computer and/ internet access.
  2. whiteboard or chalkboard
  3. Writing materials

Step 1: Duration – 20 Minutes

Introduce the students to the milestones of the civil rights movement by reading and studying the links of the following Freedom on Film stories in Athens:- The Board of Regents Weighs In; The Desegregation of the Athens YMCA and YWCO; and  Hamilton Holmes and Charlayne Hunter at UGA.

Step 2: Duration – 15 Minutes

Discuss with the class the mile-stones made by the Civil Rights Movements at the University of Georgia in their quest for a desegregated society. Using the using the Freedom on Film website story on Athens: - The Desegregation of the Athens YMCA and YWCO story then ask the students to identify the progress that followed the that effort of  fighting segregation.

Step 3: Duration – 15 Minutes

Write a one page journal entry describing what the learnt about segregation in Atlanta schools and how the Civil Rights Movement desegregated them.  Ask the student to support their entries using the Freedom on Film website story on Atlanta: - The desegregation of Atlanta schools. The students should be prepared to present their write-ups to the rest of the class.

Total Duration
70 minutes

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Materials and Equipment

  1. Web link to Freedom on Film web-site or handouts containing the site contents if there is no computer and/ internet access.
  2. Writing materials
  3. Colored construction paper (at least two different colors)
Step 1: Duration – 20 Minutes

Introduce the students to the activities in Atlanta during the fight against segregation by reading and studying the links of the following Freedom on Film stories on Atlanta: - The Desegregation of Atlanta Schools. Then using the Brown v. Board of Education, 1954 story in the Freedom on Film website as reference, lead the class in a discussion about the events in the desegregation process.

Step 2: Duration – 35 Minutes

Ask the students to write a short essay that connects desegregation of schools with other key events of the Civil Rights Movement. Include AT LEAST two of the following events or key figures: Brown v. Board of Education (1954), Civil Rights Act, Voting Rights Act, and civil rights activities of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Get volunteers to share their essays in the next class meet.

Total Duration
70 minutes

Assessment:

Asses the student’s ability to identify the characteristics of segregation and the methods used in the civil rights movement to champion and achieve desegregation.


Suggested Resources (click here)

Writer: Anthony Omerikwa 
Editors: Christina L. Davis and Professor Barbara McCaskill  
Researchers: Anthony Omerikwa 
Web Site Designer: William Weems

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