The Sit-Ins (video made for 5th grade class)





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Published on May 30, 2011

This is a video I put together for a class of 5th graders to show them the power of nonviolence in the Civil Rights movement.

It used footage from the excellent PBS documentary "Eyes on the Prize" (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/eyesonth...)

It uses some of the great DJ work of DJ Matt Werner. You can download the tracks for free here: http://mattswriting.com/music/ (The tracks used are titled "MLK Technology" and "I have a Dream mixed to Lose Yourself")

I also used a Sufjan Stevens track from his Illinoise album "They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back From The Dead!! Ahhhh!"

Lastly, the track from the film "Freedom Writers" by Common feat. Will.I.Am was used: "A Dream."

The ending fades away because at that point I stopped the video and read to them that speech mentioned. Below is the handout I gave them.

Please contact me if there's any problems with copywrites.


Stephen Pate (thr333ars)

Dr. King's statement at the founding of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)

Today the leaders of the sit-in movement are assembled here from ten states and some forty communities to evaluate these recent sit-ins and to chart future goals. They realize that they must now evolve a strategy for victory. Some elements which suggest themselves for discussion are: ...(1) The students must seriously consider training a group of volunteers who will willingly go to jail rather than pay bail or fines. This courageous willingness to go to jail may well be the thing to awaken the dozing conscience of many of our white brothers. We are in an era in which a prison term for a freedom struggle is a badge of honor. (2) The youth must take the freedom struggle into every community in the South without exception. Inevitably, this broadening of the struggle and the determination which it represents will arouse vocal and vigorous support and place pressure on the federal government that will compel its intervention. (3) The students will certainly want to delve deeper into the philosophy of nonviolence. It must be made palpably clear that resistance and nonviolence are not in themselves good. There is another element that must be present in our struggle that then makes our resistance and nonviolence truly meaningful. That element is reconciliation. Our ultimate end must be the creation of the beloved community.

Questions to consider

Why do you think Dr. King wanted the students to go to jail rather than pay the bail and get out of any jail time?

What does Dr. King mean when he talks about "arousing the consciences of our white brothers?" Why does nonviolence do this? And why does he call them "brothers?"

Why did Dr. King want them to expand the fight to every town in the South? What does he mean by pressuring the federal government? (Hint: how did the Montgomery Bus Boycott end?)

What is the other element Dr. King says needs to be added to nonviolence? What does it mean? What does he mean by the "beloved community?"

Pick one sentence or phrase in this speech that sticks out to you. What does it mean to you? Write in your journal and/or talk to one partner about it.

How does this struggle represent true leadership? With what weapons did the students fight?

Next Chapter: the Freedom Rides -- the nonviolent struggle for freedom and reconciliation faces mobs with lead pipes, fire bombs, and racist police.
(see picture)


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