Making Change: Revolutionary Tactics of the Civil Rights Movement

The film American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs introduces viewers to the differing philosophies of and strategies employed by 1960s civil rights leaders such as Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. and the debate over using violence or non-violence as a tactic. Boggs discusses her move from Marxist to Black Power Activist and from violent resister to non-violent revolutionary, and provides much food for thought.

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CCSS: Designed
Instructional Ideas

  • Have groups research the Black Panther Party, including their Free Breakfast Program for Children and health clinics, as well as their interactions with the FBI
  • Rather than showing only the clips listed in the plan, show the entire film, stopping where indicated for discussion
Classroom Considerations

  • The video is available for free for educators who register with the POV site
  • The lesson assumes that class members are familiar with the philosophies of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Black Nationalism, Marxism, Civil Rights, and the use of violence in protest
  • Instructors are expected to provide background information about George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and dialectical thinking
Pros

  • The seven-page packet includes a detailed plan, activities, an assessment, extensions, and links to additional resources
  • A powerful lesson, especially appropriate in the current political climate
Cons

  • None