Best Resources for Teaching the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington

August 15th, 2013

This month marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, perhaps the most influential event of the Civil Rights Movement, which culminated in Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. We’ve compiled a top ten list of resources to teach students about the March on Washington.

On August 28, 1963, upwards of 300,000 people gathered at the National Mall. Calling for civil and economic rights for African Americans, the group marched between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. The event included remarks by religious leaders, future congressman John Lewis, James Farmer, and Martin Luther King Jr. Television coverage of the march broadcast the speeches to millions of households across the country, and the march is credited for helping to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

1) Watch the National Archives’ extensive collection of videos chronicling the March on Washington.

2) Teach your class about 26 key moments in the Civil Rights Movement, with articles, videos, and photos from PBS.

3) Review news, lesson plans, and personal documents from the Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute.

4) Check out EDSITEment’s “Celebrating the Vision of Martin Luther King Jr.” collection of lessons.

5) Have your students examine Smithsonian magazine’s “Oral History of the March on Washington,” full of primary sources.

6) “To March or Not to March?” Have your students consider whether they would have joined the March on Washington with this lesson plan from the Smithsonian.

7) Put your students in the mind of civil rights activists, with these biographies of some of the movement’s most influential figures.

8) Show your students this powerful documentary on the March on Washington, compiled by the National Archives.

9) Encourage your students to read personal essays written by Civil Rights Movement veterans from CRMVET.

10) Connect your students to history with stories, speeches, and songs about the movement.

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