Courtesy: NBC-Learn and The W.K. Kellogg Foundation
In celebration of Black History Month, we complied a selection of videos from NBC Learn's "Finishing the Dream" to use as an aid to teach the struggles and celebrate the triumphs of the Civil Rights movement over the span of 60 years. Additional material can also be found in the Special Report archive under Martin Luther King, Jr. "Finishing the Dream" is a project by NBC Learn, the educational arm of NBC News, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
Select a video by clicking on a topic below
Back in 1951, 13 black parents sued the Topeka, Kansas school board, charging that their children's segregated education was unconstitutional. The case became famous, known as Brown versus the Board of Education. It wasn't the first case challenging separate but equal laws, but like past cases, it was born out of frustration and dissatisfaction with racial inequities.
Rosa Parks, in refusing to give up her seat on a city bus to a white man, became the mother superior of the civil rights movement. Parks' arrest caused a protest that lasted 381 days, and led to the Supreme Court ruling that segregation in public transportation is unlawful. Despite the changes she brought about, Parks continued to believe that it will be a long time before feelings of white supremacy are completely erased from the United States.
Everyone's heard of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr., and learned about their contributions in the civil rights movement. Few, however, are familiar with the name Emmett Till. Till's death, at the hands of two white men in the segregated south, opened American's eyes to that region's racial hatred. Though his killers were not brought to justice for their crimes, Till's legacy lives on in the form of new books and documentaries about him, created to keep his memory and legacy alive.
A U.S. Supreme Court ruling that school segregation was unconstitutional did not end the practice. Many state and local officials continued to bar black students from all-white schools. In 1957, President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent federal troops to Arkansas to enforce a court order to integrate a high school.
It took the protection of U.S. soldiers for nine black students to enter Little Rock Central High School and integrate its all-white classrooms. But, their challenges didn't end at the schoolhouse door. They had to endure continuing insults and threats from their classmates for the rest of their time in the school.
Four young black men sat in the 'Whites Only' section of their local diner and demanded service. The North Carolina diner had to close down for five months because of the incident. This peaceful action by four black students spread to fifty-four cities within days and contributed to the elimination of segregation from the United States.
In 1961, a small group of activists, both black and whites, decided to travel by bus through the Deep South, where segregation in bus facilities wasn't just the custom, it was the law, and where the simple act of boarding a bus was enough to put one's life on the line. The law stated that waiting areas at bus stations could not be segregated for those traveling between states, but many did not follow this law. The activists, known as the Freedom Riders, rode in protest of this injustice and continued to draw America's attention to the racial violence in the South.
In November 1963, President John F. Kennedy appealed to Americans to support the civil rights of black citizens to equality in education, public accommodations and voting. Days after his speech on the proposed Civil Rights Act, President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.
Dorothy Height was one of the principle planners of the march on Washington on August 28th, 1963, which led to the Civil Rights Act. Height often worked behind the scenes as male civil rights leaders took the spotlight. But, she later became an adviser to presidents and received the nation's highest civilian honors.
A U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2009 permitted the continued enforcement of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, but some justices questioned whether the act is still necessary.
In 1968, athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos placed the struggle for civil rights on a world stage when they raised their fists on the winners' podium at the Summer Olympics in Mexico City. They wanted to draw attention to the treatment of African Americans in the U.S. The men were suspended from the U.S. team and sent home.
Distributed by NIEonline.com with permission
NBC Learn is the educational arm of NBC News dedicated to providing resources for students, teachers, and lifelong learners. The online resources NBC Learn has created for the education community leverages nearly 80 years of historic news coverage, documentary materials, and current news broadcasts. Currently two unique offerings, iCue and NBC News Archives on Demand, give students and teachers access to thousands of video clips from the NBC News archives, including great historic moments--from the Great Depression to the Space Race to the latest political coverage. NBC Learn also offers primary source materials, lesson plans and classroom planning resources, and additional text and image resources from our content partners.
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, established in 1930, supports children, families and communities as they strengthen and create conditions that propel vulnerable children to achieve success as individuals and as contributors to the larger community and society. Grants are concentrated in the United States, southern Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.