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Teaching About the Selma to Montgomery Marches, Grades 6-12

Lessons, Activities & Other Curriculum Resources for Teaching About the 1965 Selma to Montgomery Marches, Nonviolent Activism, the Voting Rights Movement, and More

Found In: arts, language arts, social studies, 6-8, 9-12

March marks the anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery Marches. The following lessons and resources will help students celebrate the sacrifices and achievements of the men and women involved. 

Lesson Plans

In The Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights March: Shaking the Conscience of the Nation, students in grades 5-12 examine events that led to the Selma to Montgomery marches and their influence on voting rights legislation. The lesson is aligned to history and social studies standards.

Picturing Freedom: Selma-to-Montgomery March, 1965, students in grades 6-8 learn about the Selma-to-Montgomery voting rights march. The lesson includes worksheets.

The Voting Rights Act, 1965 And Beyond, reading and language arts and social studies students in grades 6-8 and 9-12 examine the 1965 law that aimed to ensure African Americans the vote.

March 7, 1965 | Civil Rights Marchers Attacked In Selma features New York Times reporting on the first attempted Selma to Montgomery March and suggests discussion activities for students in grades 6-12 to connect the events of 1965 to those of the present.

Congress Protects the Right to Vote: The Voting Rights Act of 1965, students in grades 7-12 analyze ten primary documents to evaluate Congress's actions and argue whether the Federal Government should have taken from the states the power to qualify and register voters.

Lyndon Baines Johnson, “We Shall Overcome,” 15 March 1965, students in grades 8-10 investigate the complexities of Civil Rights. This lesson is aligned to Common Core State Standards for English/Language Arts.

Voting Rights Act of 1965, Then & Now, provides two readings for students in grades 9-12 that trace the origins of the Voting Rights Act and the recent Supreme Court decision limiting the Act's scope when it comes to drawing voter district lines. Discussion questions are included.

Background Resources

Teaching Eyes on the Prize
Supplies lessons, websites, and articles and recommends books.

Under its history tab the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute provides text and video on the Selma Movement and Voting Rights Act.

The Civil Rights Movement Veterans website features a section titled: March to Montgomery with a detailed chronology (March 7- March 25) of the Marches.

Securing the Right to Vote: The Selma-to-Montgomery Story asks students to examine the conditions that created a need for a protest march from Selma to Montgomery and what it achieved. The site includes text, activities in document and photo analysis, and extension activities.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 provides a history of voting rights laws.

The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute houses MLK papers and offers lesson plans on aspects of the Civil Rights Movement

A Witness To The Truth ( PDF, 239 KB, 4 pgs.)
Text of MLK’s eulogy for Rev. James Reeb, a Unitarian minister attacked and beaten by segregationists in Selma on March 9, 1965.

Congress Protects the Right to Vote: The Voting Rights Act of 1965 Text of President Johnson’s speech to the full Congress made on Monday, March 15, 1965, a week after Bloody Sunday.


Mississippi Freedom Summer and the Selma March  [00:39:39 - 00:52:19]
The section that specifically deals with the Selma to Montgomery March starts at approximately minute 46:00 in this two-hour interview. A Transcript is included.

Oral History Interview with John Lewis  (2:00:42)
The complete audio and transcript of the interview with John Lewis.

The Man Who Shot Jimmie Lee Jackson, In His Own Words
The original article that identified Alabama State Trooper James Bonard Fowler as the officer who shot Jimmie Lee Jackson.

Selma & the March To Montgomery: A Discussion
A transcript of a discussion among participants involved in events in Selma.

Joseph Echols Lowery Oral History Interview  (1:03:08)
Includes recollections of the Selma Movement (at approximately 45 minutes).

Interviews: Selma to Montgomery
A Library of Congress collection of text and video interviews.

John Lewis - March from Selma to Montgomery, "Bloody Sunday," 1965
Presents John Lewis’s testimony from a hearing resulting from the March 7, 1965, from the Selma to Montgomery march in support of voting rights.



Last updated: January 27, 2020


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