Shoulders of the Ancestors

February 2014

The reason I appear to be standing so tall is because my feet are firmly planted on the shoulders of my ancestors

50 Years of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

According to the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) when its founder Carter G. Woodson established Negro History week in 1926, he realized the importance of providing a theme to focus the attention of the public. The intention has never been to dictate or limit the exploration of the Black experience, but to bring to the public's attention important developments that merit emphasis.


ASALH has selected the 2014 theme to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and they invite all Americans and the global community to join them in exploring the history of equal rights for all.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed major forms of discrimination against racial, ethnic, national and religious minorities, and women. Signed into law on July 2, 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson the act was not a gift from the government but a governmental response to the hard fought struggles of millions of Americans.

The website for the MARTIN LUTHER KIN JR. CENTER at Stanford University provides a brief overview of he background and issues surrounding the Civil Rights Act of 1964.


The NATIONAL PARKS SERVICE website page on the Civil Rights Act of 1964 offers numerous links for the study of the historic legislation well as  additional links for the Civil Rights Movement.


The HISTORY CHANNEL provides text and several short videos on the Civil Rights Act along with related topics. Consider assigning these short videos as Warm Ups or as lesson extensions.

Useful Websites Featuring the Civil Rights Act of 1964

The website TEACHING WITH DOCUMENTS from the NATIONAL ARCHIVES provides several primary source documents on the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  The site contains lesson plans as well as a tool for primary source document analysis. A copy of the original legislation includes the signature of President Lyndon Johnson along with the leaders of the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives.


Through primary source images and with text students will learn about President Lincoln's initial reluctance to recruit African Americans, the contributions of runaway slaves, and how African Americans contributed to the Union's victory over the Confederacy.


Located in downtown Greensboro, North Carolina, the INTERNATIONAL CIVIL RIGHTS CENTER & MUSEUM is devoted to the international struggle for civil and human rights. The museum celebrates the nonviolent protests of the 1960 Greensboro sit-ins that served as a catalyst in the civil rights movement. The link featured above includes a Civil Rights Timeline featuring civil rights milestones as far back as the 1857 Dred Scott Case.


CHANGING AMERICA an exhibit from the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. features one hundred years of African American struggles for rights from the Emancipation Proclamation, 1863 to  the March on Washington, 1963.


The BIRMINGHAM CIVIL RIGHTS INSTITUTE sits across the street from the 16th Street Baptist Church which served as a meeting place for civil rights leaders. Statues in the adjacent park commemorate the violent clashes between protesters and police that helped draw national attention to the hard-fought, often dangerous struggle for civil rights for African Americans.

A Time For Justice

In A TIME FOR JUSTICE, four-time Academy Award-winning filmmaker Charles Guggenheim captured the spirit of the civil rights movement through historical footage and the voices of those who participated in the struggle.


Teachers can order this kit for free.


The Kit includes:

38-minute film with closed-captioning on DVD

Teacher’s Guide with five lesson plans on CD

Classroom Poster, “Civil Rights Movement Timeline,”

Narrated by Julian Bond and featuring John Lewis, the 38-minute film allows today’s generation of students to witness firsthand the movement’s most dramatic moments—the bus boycott in Montgomery, the school crisis in Little Rock, the violence in Birmingham and the triumphant 1965 march for voting rights.

SHOULDERS OF THE ANCESTORS is a division of AFRICAN AMERICAN POSTERS & PRESENTATIONS (AAPP) . AAPP provides classroom tested educational posters and learning charts that utilize the new scholarship in African and African American history and culture. The graphics on our learning charts are selected to engage students. Visit us today at www.aahistoryposters.com.


This educational kit contains four full color posters and a CD with a Powerpoint presentation.