Is it possible to trace the origins of the 20th century Civil Rights Movement to World War I? In this lesson, students will explore the civil rights activism emerging during and immediately following the Great War.
- In what ways was World War I the beginning of the Civil Rights movement?
The student will be able to:
- Identify key events of African American participation in World War I.
- Determine the significance of events based on the progression to the modern Civil Rights movement.
- Assign the students to brainstorm ideas for the birthplace and birthdate of the Civil Rights Movement.
- After students share their thoughts, ask them whether World War I could be considered a birthdate to the modern Civil
- Assign the students to give three reasons why World War I could be viewed as the beginning of the modern African American Civil Rights movement.
- Assign the students to share their three reasons with another student.
- Assign the students to groups of two and ask them to complete a “birth certificate” for the Civil Rights movement.
Assign the students to complete a “Birth Certificate” for the Civil Rights Movement that has a birth date during or immediately following World War I.
Based on their knowledge of the events, ideas, organizations, and personalities that defined African American participation in World War I, the students must decide when (during or immediately following World War I) the Civil Rights movement actually was born and the events, ideas, organizations, and personalities that should be considered the “parents” of the movement. The students should also decide the birth date (can be a year or a specific date) and explain why they selected it, and who/what gave birth to the movement and why they give them credit. For the “weight” category, the students should choose an event or idea that has significance during World War I and the Civil Rights movement. For the “height” category, the students should choose an event or idea that spans a length of time during World War I and the Civil Rights movement.
Examples of “birth dates,” “parents,” “height,” and “weight” for the birth certificate:
Harlem RenaissanceCapt. Chester Haywood
Henry JohnsonCol. Louis Linard
Osceola McKaineChicago Defender
Noble SissleTulsa Race riot
Harlem HellfightersNew Negro movement
Croix de GuerreJames Europe
League for DemocracyCollege education
Ida B. Wells-BarnettCommunism
Gold Star mothers93rd Division
Marcus GarveyBlack “ex-patriots”
W. E. B. DuBois
In this Document-Based Question essay about World War I, the students are asked to construct an academic paper using nine primary source documents to answer the following question:
- To what degree did African Americans achieve military success fighting for the United States and social success fighting against United States racism during World War I?
This Voicethread presentation includes the “think aloud” commentary on all nine of the documents
“Birth Certificate to the Civil Rights Movement” handout
World War I Document Based Question