Children’s Crusade Cityscape

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What would you do? The 1963 Birmingham Children’s Crusade: Teaching civil rights with direct access to eye witnesses

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In May 1963, the Civil Rights Movement made a leap forward with the Birmingham Children’s Crusade and the jailing of thousands of young people. The nation’s attention was riveted by the images of police dogs and firehoses trained on children and teenagers who were peacefully marching to end the city’s strict “Jim Crow” segregation laws. In a single class period, your students read the personal accounts of four people who were youth in 1963 (primary sources); discuss how Birmingham’s youth, Black and white, experienced and assessed the Children’s Crusade; make inquiry into the choices those young people made; and imagine how they themselves would respond if given the chance to take action for social change.

We Are All Birmingham: Students’ Inquiry into Civil Rights History

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