5 Fantastic Learning Extensions For Our Civil Rights Play

On March 2, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, an African-American teenager refused to give up her seat on a bus—months before Rosa Parks famously did the same. The teenager's name is Claudette Colvin, and she is the hero of our play This Is What Courage Looks Like. Claudette's story captivated us, and we think it will inspire your students.


Here are five fantastic ideas to keep their learning going:


(Associated Press)


To Watch: a video interview with Claudette Colvin telling her story in her own words

To Do: Hold a class discussion about what it means to have courage, drawing on the play and the video interview.



(Grey Villet/Getty)


To Watch: a video about the Montgomery Bus Boycott

To Do: Have students write the story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott in the form of a graphic novel, poem, song, or short story.



Rosa Parks (center) waits to board a bus after the successful Montgomery bus boycott, December 26, 1956. (Don Cravens/Getty)


To Read: a primary document created by the leaders of the Montgomery Bus Boycott advising people how to behave on the newly desegregated buses

To Do: Discuss with students why leaders may have thought these types of suggestions were necessary. 




To Find: Have students find someone who has actively supported a civil rights issue, either by participating in a protest or rally or by creating a petition or campaign.

To Do: Have students conduct an interview with this person. Students should find out why the person chose to support that particular cause, what the person hoped to change through his or her activism, and how that person was effective. Students can present their findings to the class in the form of a video, slideshow, or speech.



(Associated Press)


To Watch: a video of President Obama giving a speech on the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act

To Do: Have students invent a dialogue between President Obama and Claudette Colvin (or other historical civil rights leader of students' choosing).


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