Friday, January 4, 2019

Civil Rights Then and Now

Now that the frenzied holidays are over, we're looking forward to getting back into the rhythm of school. We are adding a few new resources this "semester" and I thought I would share them, as well as a few others with you...just in case you are looking for new materials to incorporate into your homeschool lessons, too.

This post contains affiliate links.

My favorite addition to our homeschool lessons this month is the new Woo! Jr. book, Civil Rights Then and Now: A Timeline of the Fight for Equality in America (aff link) by Kristina Brooke Daniele.

The book is divided into two parts. Part One: Civil Rights Then gives a brief overview of the American civil rights movement dating back to 1776 when our nation was established. It talks about:

  • important abolitionists and activists, 
  • the South after the Civil War, 
  • the Civil Rights Era Movement and leaders, and
  • landmark cases and amendments.
All of the information is written in short sections and perfect for middle schoolers. There's no extra fluff, which my 7th grader appreciates. He wants to know what and who and why and that's it. 

At the end, there is a section with questions to check reading comprehension. 

Part Two: Civil Rights Now covers the movement in modern times and what has happened since the 1950s and 60s. It discusses violence against black Americans and highlights modern era movements and leaders. Landmark cases and amendments are featured again. 

In the back of the book is a comprehensive reading list and references for further research. There's also a glossary of terms to help students better understand the vocabulary used in the book.

All of the information is presented in a concise format with careful attention to the timeline so that the student can understand the progression, as well as the contributing factors to the civil rights movement.

While the book does talk about civil rights as a whole, it touches only briefly on illegal immigration reform, Islamophobia, and Occupy Wall Street protests, etc. The main focus of this book is on racism, discrimination, and prejudice - specifically their effect on African Americans. The Black Lives Matter movement is clearly explained and events leading to its formation are provided. There are sensitive and graphic events included - such as the murder of Philando Castille and the Massacre at Emmanuel African American Methodist Episcopal Church - but they are presented in a factual and appropriate fashion without gory details. As always, though, parents and teachers should review material before presenting to their children/students.

Overall, this book is an excellent resource for parents wishing to explore the current climate of racism and discrimination that exists in the U.S., as well as its history. The comprehension questions not only explore the child's understanding of what he or she has read, but encourage critical thinking and problem-solving. 

The book can easily be covered in one semester and is best suited for kids in 5th through 8th grades.


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