Living the Legacy


Jews and the Civil Rights Movement - Lessons

Civil Rights - Unit 1 - Personal Identity and Action

  • Jacob
    Unit 1, Lesson 1 - Exploring My Identity

    Explore the complexities of our own identities, and how these identities shape the way we view and act in the world.

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  • Group with "Thou Shalt Love Thy Neighbor" sign
    Unit 1, Lesson 2 - How Does My Identity Inform My Actions?

    Consider how Jewish experiences and values – in both conscious and unconscious ways – informed the actions of Jews in the Civil Rights Movement, and inform our own allegiances and behaviors.

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  • Neo-Nazi demonstration
    Unit 1, Lesson 3 - Jews and the Civil Rights Movement: the Whys and Why Nots

    Assume the roles of Southern Jews participating in a Temple board meeting on whether or not to support Northern Jewish activists staging a protest in town.

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  • Bombing of The Temple, Atlanta, Georgia
    Unit 1, Lesson 4 - Power, Privilege, and Responsibility

    Analyze how power and privilege shape our relationships and involvement in social justice and activism, using sources including clips from the film Driving Miss Daisy.

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Civil Rights - Unit 2 - Defining Activism and the Civil Rights Movement

  • Sign for Colored Waiting Room
    Unit 2, Lesson 1 - Moments of Personal Resistance

    Examine how individuals take stands against racism and injustice using an essay by Grace Paley and three other short vignettes of individual protest.

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  • Justine Wise Polier as a Young Judge
    Unit 2, Lesson 2 - De facto segregation in the North: Skipwith vs. NYC Board of Education

    Investigate the dynamics of segregation in northern schools through a New York City court case ruled on by Judge and Jewish activist Justine Wise Polier.

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  • Judith Frieze Intake Image
    Unit 2, Lesson 3 - Civil Disobedience: Freedom Rides

    Discover the story of one young Jewish Freedom Rider and Gandhi's principles of civil disobedience, and prepare your own civil disobedience training video.

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  • Image of Heather Booth and Fannie Lou Hamer
    Unit 2, Lesson 4 - Community Organizing I: Freedom Summer

    Explore the role of community organizing, Jewish values, and moral conviction in the lives of young civil rights activists as you imagine yourself a participant in Mississippi Freedom Summer.

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  • cowan_mtg.jpg - still image [media]
    Unit 2, Lesson 5 - Community Organizing II: Wednesdays in Mississippi

    Encounter a little known story of women collaborating across geographic, racial, and religious boundaries through documentary clips of Wednesdays in Mississippi activists.

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  • Central Conference of American Rabbis at the March on Washington
    Unit 2, Lesson 6 - Jewish clergy in the Civil Rights Movement

    Unpack the roles, motivations, and challenges of Southern and Northern rabbis during the Civil Rights Movement.

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  • National Federation of Temple Youth at the March on Washington
    Unit 2, Lesson 7 - The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

    Use images, artifacts, and audio clips to develop a more nuanced understanding of the March on Washington.

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Civil Rights - Unit 3 - Changes and Challenges

  • Unit 3, Lesson 1 - Jews and African Americans: Siblings in Oppression?

    Explore and interrogate the identification between Jews and African-Americans against the backdrop of the Passover seder.

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  • Unit 3, Lesson 2 - Growing tensions I: Black-Jewish Relations

    Analyze how underlying rifts in the relationship between African Americans and Jews brought these groups into more overt conflict in the late 1960s, with a focus on the Ocean Hill-Brownsville school crisis and a poetry slam activity.

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  • Unit 3, Lesson 3 - Growing tensions II: Affirmative Action

    Assess Jewish attitudes towards Affirmative Action as an example of how individuals and communities try to manage competing priorities.

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  • Sukkot in Connecticut
    Unit 3, Lesson 4 - Moving Inward: bringing liberation movements into the Jewish community

    Act out, through tableaux vivants, the ways Jews took what they had learned from the Civil Rights Movement and other liberation movements and used these insights to change the Jewish community.

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  • Marriage Equality
    Unit 3, Lesson 5 - Civil Rights and Social Justice Today

    Consider what contemporary civil rights and social justice issues matter to us today, and how Jews and African Americans determine their priorities and responsibilities to effect social change.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Jews and the Civil Rights Movement - Lessons." (Viewed on April 21, 2014) <>.