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The Freedom Riders and the Popular Music of the Civil Rights Movement

High school history educators may enjoy this lesson plan from EDSITEment!, a humanities education hub that was featured in its entirety in the 07-15-2011 Scout Report. This lesson plan, which focuses on Music and the Civil Rights Movement, recognizes that "the popular music of the early 1960s offers a unique and engaging entry point into the politics surrounding equal rights in mid-twentieth century America." The lesson draws connections between pop culture and activism and explores music's special capacity as a platform for social change, analyzing the work of Nina Simone, Mahalia Jackson, and Sam Cooke, and many other artists. The curriculum includes six different activities, some of which rely on multimedia from other reputable sources such as PBS and the Smithsonian. Educators are provided with guiding questions, worksheets, and applicable web resources. The bottom of the page even highlights related EDSITEment! lesson plans, including "The Music of African American History" and "JFK, Freedom Riders, and the Civil Rights Movement."
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