Grade 9-10 literacy in social studies: A pivotal moment in the Civil Rights Movement

This Common Core-aligned task is designed for a 2–3 week unit on the beginning of the civil rights movement, focusing specifically on the historical context surrounding the Emmett Till murder in 1955 and addressing preceding social, political, and economic resistance to racism in the 20th century. The unit requires students to "do" history, i.e., to gather evidence from primary documents and use that evidence to make claims about the past. Students demonstrate their mastery of the content and historical thinking skills by writing an argumentative essay in response to the question: To what extent was this event a pivotal moment in the history of the civil rights movement?

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