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Concluding Analysis: Lesson 5, Plainest Demands of Justice

To what extent did Founding principles of liberty, equality, and justice become a reality for African Americans during the civil rights movement?

  • I can interpret primary sources related to Founding principles of liberty, equality, and justice in the civil rights movement
  • I can explain how laws and policy, courts, and individuals and groups contributed to or pushed back against the quest for liberty, equality, and justice for African Americans.
  • I can create an argument using evidence from primary sources.
  • I can analyze issues in history to help find solutions to present-day challenges.

Directions: Sort the documents into the categories listed in the table below. Some documents might fit in multiple categories. Then fill in the table based on your groups. Include a short explanation for your choice.

Document Title and Date Laws and Policy The Courts “We the People” – individuals and groups
Richard Wright, Black Boy, 1945 Writer shows that racial hostility and violence are normalized in the Jim Crow South
Sweatt v. Painter, 1950
Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man, 1952
Brown v. Board of Education, 1954
Martin Luther King, Jr., Montgomery Bus Boycott Speech, 1955
The Southern Manifesto, 1956
Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee Founding Statement, 1960
James Baldwin “Fifth Avenue, Uptown,” 1960
Freedom Rides Photographs, 1961
Martin Luther King, Jr., “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” 1963
Martin Luther King, Jr., “I Have a Dream”, 1963
John Lewis, Speech at the March on Washington, August 28, 1963
“We Shall Overcome”
Malcolm X, “Message to the Grassroots”, 1963
Civil Rights Act, 1964
Fannie Lou Hamer Testimony before the Credentials Committee, Democratic National Convention, August 22, 1964
Images of Bloody Sunday, 1965
Voting Rights Act, 1965
Loving v. Virginia, 1967


  1. How did civil rights activists demonstrate courage during this period of the civil rights movement? Discuss one specific example from the documents.
  2. What influence did religious belief have on African American protest in the civil rights movement?
  3. What continuities and changes do you find between the Reconstruction era and the civil rights movement?
  4. To what extent were Founding principles of liberty, equality, and justice realized for African Americans during the civil rights movement?