FEATURE

Toolkit for 'Once Upon a Time in America'


The year 1963 marks the 50th anniversary of many milestones in the civil rights movement.  In the current issue of Teaching Tolerance, “Once Upon a Time in America” traces some of the movements’ toughest trials. The feature is accompanied by a chronological timeline of some of these events and the people—often unfamiliar to students—who were part of them. We’ve gathered some text, video and online resources that will guide you in your teaching.

Birmingham Public Library Digital Collection—16th Street Baptist Church Bombing

Powerful images, newspaper clippings and documents chronicle the KKK bombing of the city’s 16th Street Baptist Church, which killed four girls. 

Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin

During the 100th anniversary of Rustin’s birth, this website provides information on “Brother Outsider,” a film available on DVD about the life of the openly gay civil rights activist who—among other things—organized the March on Washington.

March on Washington—WGBH Open Vault

The public television station’s Media Library and Archives hosts an online collection of images and broadcast sound files from the 1963 March on Washington. For example, you can listen to Mahalia Jackson singing, “I’ve Been ‘Buked and I’ve Been Scorned” here.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Online

This public domain research site includes text and audio and video recordings of King’s speeches and writings, including “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”

Medgar Evers

From the Biography channel, a profile of activist Medgar Evers that includes audio and video on his early life, his fight against discrimination, his murder and the aftermath. 

Teaching Tolerance—“Mighty Times: The Children’s March

Produced by Teaching Tolerance in association with HBO, “The Children’s March” tells the story of the young people of Birmingham, Alabama, who braved fire hoses and police dogs in 1963 to bring segregation to its knees. Available free to educators, the film is part of a kit that includes a standards-based teacher’s guide.

The Sixth Floor Museum

The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza is housed in the former Texas Schoolbook Depository from where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. The Dallas museum includes documents and images related to Kennedy’s life and death, including the Abraham Zapruder film, and makes these materials available online.

U.S. Department of Justice—The Desegregation of the University of Alabama

Documents and newspaper articles related to the desegregation of the University of Alabama by National Guard troops.