Discrimination in America: Malcolm X or MLK - A Civil Rights Debate

Grade Levels
Common Core Standards
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Malcolm X or MLK? Which Civil Rights leader was better for the Movement?

The Civil Rights Movement was perhaps the most important development in recent American memory. To this day, however, much debate exists over its two most prominent figures: Malcolm X and MLK Jr. While MLK spearheaded nonviolent marches and demonstrations, Malcolm X told African Americans to acquire their rights "by any means necessary." In this lesson students will determine for themselves and partake in a class wide debate whether they think the fiery Malcolm X or the peaceful MLK was better suited for the CRM.

Throughout the lesson, students will:
1) Respond to a Bell Ringer in which they watch a video about the nonviolent "snackman" and determine why his nonviolent tactics worked in this peculiar situation.
2) Watch a video clip about the bloody desegregation campaign in Birmingham and answer questions pertaining to the campaign.
3) Listen to a recording about the role of guns in the Civil Rights Movement and answer questions pertaining to the recording.
4) Conduct an online scavenger hunt regarding the events and speeches surrounding the Birmingham Campaign, paying special attention to the competing beliefs and ideas of Malcolm X and MLK and how they fit in with the reality of the events in Birmingham.
5) Participate in a class wide debate in which one team defends why Malcolm X was better suited as a leader for the CRM and another team defends MLK Jr.
Total Pages
18
Answer Key
Included with Rubric
Teaching Duration
2 Days

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Discrimination in America: Malcolm X or MLK - A Civil Righ
Discrimination in America: Malcolm X or MLK - A Civil Righ
Discrimination in America: Malcolm X or MLK - A Civil Righ
Discrimination in America: Malcolm X or MLK - A Civil Righ