Civil Rights Movement: Introduction through Images



World War II brought with it many changes to the United States, none more profound than the Civil Rights Movement. Social change took places through protest and judicial action, and Tennesseans played a vital role in these changes and saw firsthand a transformation in the United States.

Guiding Questions: 

  • What was life like for African Americans in Tennessee during this time in history?

Objectives:  Students will 

  • Be introduced to the Civil Rights Movement and social issues during segregation.


  •  Students will understand key Civil Rights concepts and terms such as segregation, Jim Crow laws, and integration.
  • Students will reflect on photographs from this time in history and compare it to present day.


Session 1
1.   Make a chart on the board. On one side allow students to list the things they know about the Civil Rights Movement; then, on the other side of the chart, allow students to make a list of what they want to learn about the Civil Rights Movement and its leaders.
2.   Using the TN4ME website, print off images or show in a slide show.
3.   Student will then be given a few minutes to write about how these photos make them feel and why, and then, allow them to share their thoughts with the class or in small groups.
4.   Show students an image of a “No White People in Zoo” today sign ( from the TN4ME website and define and discuss Jim Crow laws with the class
5.   In a reflection to be turned in when students exit, ask students to write a few sentences about the lesson and think about if things have changed in the United States since the Civil Rights Movement. Why or why not?


  • Tennessee State Standards
  • Content Standard: 1.0
  • Culture encompasses similarities and differences among people including their beliefs, knowledge, changes, values, and traditions. Students will explore these elements of society to develop an appreciation and respect for the variety of human cultures.
  • 5.5.12 understand domestic policies in the post World War II period
    c. Describe the struggle for racial and gender equality.
    f. Describe Tennessee's involvement during the Civil Rights movement.
  • 5.4.03 Understand the rights, responsibilities, and privileges of citizens living in a
    democratic republic.
    a. Identify examples of rights and responsibilities of citizens.
    b. Examine the influence of public opinion on personal decision-making and
    government policy on public issues.
    c. Explain how public policies and citizen behaviors may or may not reflect the
    stated ideals of a democratic republican form of government.
National Standards:
NSS-USH 5-12.8
Understands the struggle for racial and gender equality and the extension of civil liberties