[semester equivalent = 2.00 credits]



Eric Low



One of the essential components in Language Arts and Social Studies is the study of the Civil Rights Movement. Our culture is fascinated with this topic and there is ample film and literature to help communicate the scope and importance of civil rights to future generations. This course will provide curriculum ideas for Language Arts and Social Studies teachers of grades 4th-12th that meet state standards for student learning.

This course will also provide video and literature ideas for teachers preparing for major themes of the Civil Rights movement that can wake up your students and empower discussions around many of the major social justice topics.  Films like “Malcolm X,” “Voices of Civil Rights,” “Martin Luther King, Jr.,” “Ghosts of Mississippi,” “Rosa Parks Story,” etc; many of these films are available at local libraries, from NetFlix, in video stores and also for free trial and purchase from documentary film sources like The Video Project. You will choose 8 videos to view and summarize, and write a short plan on how you’ll use some of these in your teaching situation.

If you choose NetFlix, a three-month subscription is about $30. (NetFlix also has an online video capability with the right operating system.) You will need to have access to both a DVD player and a VHS video player to enjoy the full range of media choices.


LEARNING OUTCOMES: Upon completion of this course, participants will have:

Upon completion of this course, participants will:

  1. Have a broader knowledge of the different video and literature possibilities associated with the Civil Rights movement for classroom use.
  2. Develop greater skill in how to use videos for teaching purposes.
  3. Develop a plan for a teaching unit in the Civil Rights movement that applies to their teaching.  
  4. Apply extended reading on of Civil Rights issues to lesson plans, if the credit option is chosen.   

Completion of all specified assignments is required for issuance of hours or credit. The Heritage Institute does not award partial credit.

Completing the basic assignments (Section A. Information Acquisition) for this course automatically earns participant’s their choice of CEUs (Continuing Education Units), or Washington State Clock Hours or Oregon PDUs. The Heritage Institute offers CEUs and is an approved provider of Washington State Clock Hours and Oregon PDUs.



Continuing Education Quarter credits are awarded by Antioch University Seattle (AUS). AUS requires 75% or better for credit at the 400 level and 85% or better to issue credit at the 500 level. These criteria refer both to the amount and quality of work submitted.

  1. Completion of Information Acquisition assignments 30%
  2. Completion of Learning Application assignments 40%
  3. Completion of Integration Paper assignment 30%


CREDIT/NO CREDIT (No Letter Grades or Numeric Equivalents on Transcripts)
Antioch University Seattle (AUS) Continuing Education Quarter credit is offered on a Credit/No Credit basis; neither letter grades nor numeric equivalents are on a transcript. 400 level credit is equal to a "C" or better, 500 level credit is equal to a "B" or better. This information is on the back of the transcript.

AUS Continuing Education quarter credits may or may not be accepted into degree programs. Prior to registering determine with your district personnel, department head or state education office the acceptability of these credits for your purpose.




After determining your assignment choice, select a book from the following list:

  1. Ashby, Ruth.Rosa Parks:  Courageous Citizen.  Sterling Publishing, 2005.
  2. Easwaran, Eknath.Gandi, the Man:  Story of His Transformation.  Blue Center of Mediation:  1997.
  3. King, Jr., Martin Luther.A Testament of Hope:  The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr.  Harpercollins:  1991.
  4. Klarman, Michael.  From Jim Crow to Civil Rights.   Oxford University Press:  2007. 
  5. Martin, Jr., Waldo.  Brown v. Board of Education.  Bedford/St. Martin:  1998.

Another book of your own choosing, with my prior approval.

  • A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches
    ISBN# 0060646918
    by King, Martin Luther, Washington, James M.

    Buy from Amazon
  • Gandhi the Man: The Story of His Transformation, 3rd Edition
    ISBN# 0915132966
    by Easwaran, Eknath, Flinders, Timothy
    Brand: Nilgiri Press

    Buy from Amazon
  • Sterling Biographies®: Rosa Parks: Courageous Citizen
    ISBN# 1402748655
    by Ashby, Ruth
    Ashby, Ruth

    Buy from Amazon
  • From Jim Crow to Civil Rights: The Supreme Court and the Struggle for Racial Equality
    ISBN# 0195310187
    by Klarman, Michael J.
    Oxford University Press

    Buy from Amazon
  • Brown v. Board of Education: A Brief History with Documents (The Bedford Series in History and Culture)
    ISBN# 0312111525
    by Martin Jr., Waldo E.

    Buy from Amazon


Text price varies based on your book choice. * Ashby, Ruth.Rosa Parks: Courageous Citizen. Sterling Publishing, 2005. * Easwaran, Eknath.Gandi, the Man: Story of His Transformation. Blue Center of Mediation: 1997. * King, Jr., Martin Luther.A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr. Harpercollins: 1991. * Klarman, Michael. From Jim Crow to Civil Rights. Oxford University Press: 2007. * Martin, Jr., Waldo. Brown v. Board of Education. Bedford/St. Martin: 1998. OR Another book of your own choosing, with my prior approval.


Eric Low, M.A.  has been a teacher and coach in the state of Washington since 1992.  He has lived, taught, and studied in Southwest Washington since 1995.  Eric has a Master’s degree in history from Eastern Washington University with an emphasis in America’s West and has been an active researcher of Washington State history for 20+ years.  Eric currently teaches history at Winlock High School and serves as a Lead Teacher for ESD 112s “Constitutional Connections” American History grant, a 3 year program that has worked to utilize and develop Social Studies Common Core and CBAs in the classroom.   




These novels can be found at local libraries, ESD providers, even on Google books.

Ashby, Ruth.  Rosa Parks:  Courageous Citizen.  Sterling Publishing, 2005.
Easwaran, Eknath.  Gandi, the Man:  Story of His Transformation.  The Blue Center of Mediation:  1997.
King, Jr., Martin Luther.  A Testament of Hope:  The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr.  Harpercollins:  1991.
Klarman, Michael.  From Jim Crow to Civil Rights.   Oxford University Press:  2007.
Martin, Jr., Waldo.  Brown v. Board of Education.  Bedford/St. Martin:  1998.



Carson, Clayborne, et al. The Eyes on the Prize Civil Rights Reader: Documents, Speeches, and Firsthand Accounts from the Black Freedom Struggle, 1954-1990. New York: Viking, 1991.
Eyes on the Prize traces the movement from the landmark Brown v. the Board of Education case in 1954 to the march on Selma and the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. Companion volume to first part.

McAdam, Doug. Freedom Summer. Reprint. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990.                  
Preface to a long hot -- Jim Crow's stranglehold -- Northern whites join the fight -- Preparing for battle -- Welcome to Mississippi -- Daring to register --freedom schools – The freedom Party -- Violence and tension -- The impact of freedom summer -- Timeline.

Moody, Anne. Coming of Age in Mississippi. New York: Dell, 1968.                                                     
Born to a poor couple who were tenant farmers on a plantation in Mississippi, Anne Moody lived through some of the most dangerous days of the pre-civil rights era in the South.

Parks, Rosa with Jim Haskins. Rosa Parks: My Story. New York: Dial, 1992.                                    
"The only tired I was, was tired of giving in". These are the simple yet eloquent words of Rosa Parks, who on December 1, 1955, refused to give up her seat to a white man on a segregated bus, sparking the Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott. Written in her own moving language, this is her compelling story.

VHS & DVD Resources

Educational Service District
Many ESDs have Civil Rights videos available for use at your school.  Check selections.

Local Library Systems
Many local library systems have Civil Rights videos available for use at your school.


NetFlix is an online DVD site for commercial and documentary movies which are mailed to you. A monthly subscription is about $10. You receive one DVD at a time;  you return one and are sent the next. NetFlix has a documentary section (upper right under favorite genres) and all the films listed below are all available there. If you work quickly you could view all the movies in less than two months.

The Video Project
Teachers can sample a number of videos from this excellent source of media on a large variety of subjects. Click on the link above to see the selection. Many categories are related to the global issues focus of this course.

Videos from NetFlix

Free at Last: Civil Rights Heroes
Witness the amazing, courageous stories of Emmett Till, Medgar Evers, The Birmingham Four, Viola Liuzzo and more. The story of the Civil Rights movement in the United States is usually told through the acts of such charismatic leaders as Martin Luther King Jr., but often the struggle played out in the small acts of peaceful defiance performed by individuals. Hear the stories of those heroic people who helped stir a nation and forge a new path.

This awe-inspiring biopic about Mahatma Gandhi (Ben Kingsley) -- the diminutive lawyer who stood up against British rule in India and became an international symbol of nonviolence and understanding -- brilliantly underscores the difference one person can make. Epic and unforgettable, the film swept the 1983 Oscars, winning eight awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Kingsley), Best Screenplay and Best Director (Richard Attenborough).

Ghosts of Mississippi
In 1963, civil-rights activist Medgar Evers was shot to death by white supremacist Byron De La Beckwith (James Woods). He was captured, but after two trials ended in hung juries, De La Beckwith went free. Thirty years later, Assistant District Attorney Bobby DeLaughter (Alec Baldwin) reopened the case. Ghosts of Mississippi tells the true story of his struggle to bring De La Beckwith to justice.

Hidden Agenda: Vol. 4: Anarchy USA: In the Name of Civil Rights
This fascinating look at the Civil Rights Movement, filmed at the height of the turmoil, is perhaps more important now than it was in 1965. By focusing on the events that preceded the deadly riots and fighting, this film uncovers a hidden agenda that made money by pitting one side of the conflict against the other. Also examined are the similarities between this movement and those throughout the world intended to overthrow governments.

King: Man of Peace in a Time of War
Speaking candidly on the topic of black participation in the Vietnam War, Dr. King makes a special appearance on the popular television talk series "The Mike Douglas Show." Not seen since 1967, this rare interview captures the passion and commitment of the great civil rights leader. Combined with archival footage and conversations with notables Rev. Jesse Jackson and former Secretary of State Colin Powell, this is a must-watch tribute.

Let Freedom Sing: How Music Inspired the Civil Rights Movement
From the Civil Rights era to Watergate, the most striking moments in 20th-century American history were accompanied by an amazing soundtrack of artists whose work reflected and commented on those turbulent times. Revisit the remarkable sounds of Ruth Brown, Isaac Hayes, Mavis Staples, Pete Seeger and many others in this stirring musical history lesson. Oscar-winning actor Louis Gossett Jr. narrates.

Malcolm X
Spike Lee's Oscar-nominated drama illuminates the life of black nationalist Malcolm X (Denzel Washington), following him from his early days in prison to his conversion to Islam, marriage to Betty Shabazz (Angela Bassett) and discovery of Elijah Mohammad's (Al Freeman Jr.) Nation of Islam writings. When Malcolm turns his back on the Nation of Islam (following a pilgrimage to Mecca), he becomes a murder target.

Mississippi Burning
When three civil rights workers disappear in 1964 Mississippi, two FBI agents (Gene Hackman and Willem Dafoe) with wildly divergent styles resort to increasingly violent tactics to apprehend the culprit Ku Klux Klan. Crucial to the case is the testimony of a beautician (Frances McDormand) who's struggling to break free from the racist influence of her husband (Brad Dourif). Director Alan Parker's fact-based drama received seven Oscar nominations.

The Jackie Robinson Story
This 1950 biographical movie tackles the racial issues that elevated and threatened Jackie Robinson, the first baseball player to break the color barrier. The Hall of Fame Dodger plays himself with dignity (holding his own against Ruby Dee as his wife). Until director Spike Lee realizes his dream of dramatizing Robinson's life, this film quietly does some heavy lifting in the consciousness-raising department.

The Long Walk Home
Sissy Spacek stars as Miriam Thompson, a Montgomery, Alabama, housewife who finds herself in the midst a civil rights revolution when she helps her black maid, Odessa (Whoopi Goldberg), during the infamous bus boycott of the 1950s. When Miriam discovers Odessa is forced to walk the 9 miles to her house and back, she volunteers to give Odessa a ride — much to the dismay of Miriam's husband and social circle.

The Rosa Parks Story
Angela Bassett stars in the story that sparked the birth of the modern civil rights movement in the late 1950s. Parks took the only available seat in the first row of the "colored" section on a city bus; when a white woman boarded and the driver demanded that the black riders in her row move, everyone complied except Parks. This singular event threw Parks and her family into the Ku Klux Klan's ring of hatred -- and into the NAACP's limelight.

Voices of Civil Rights
Packaged together for the first time, six powerful documentaries — including the Emmy-nominated Crossing the Bridge (2002) —recount the Civil Rights struggle, relying on historical newsreel footage, archival material and interviews with surviving participants. The range of topics includes Jim Crow laws, sit-ins, the violence of "Bloody Sunday" and the influence of activists Rosa Parks, Medgar Evers and Martin Luther King Jr.