SWBAT identify at least three specific details that made the 1963 March on Washington unique among civil rights nonviolent protests by learning about its goals, and primary organizers.

Students have many chances to use evidence-based thinking, make connections, identify multiple perspectives, and contextualize.  Evaluating several sources and using those sources to draw conclusions and complex texts is rigorous work for fifth graders. 


Economic Growth and Reform in Contemporary America (1945-Present)

5.14. Students describe the key events and accomplishments of the Civil Rights movement in the United States.

Historical Research, Evidence and Point of View 

3. Students pose relevant questions about events they encounter in historical documents, eyewitness accounts, oral histories, letters, diaries, artifacts, photographs, maps, artworks, and architecture.

4. Students use nontext primary and secondary sources, such as maps, charts, graphs, photographs, works of art, and technical charts. 


Source Pack:

  • March on Washington Poster
  • Excerpt from "I Have a Dream" speech
  • Excerpts from other speeches given that day
  • British Embassy comment on Dr. King's Speech
  • President Kenney's comments on March on Washington
  • photograph
  • tool kit 

Warm Up

Following students think, pair, share what they know about the 1963 March on Washington, we make a KWL chart that will allow us to track what we want to learn, ensuring students' questions are answered

New Material

So today we're going to take a closer look at the 1963 March on Washington.  Each table has documents that you will evaluate using some very specific interrogating devices.

Let's look at them together and figure out if these questions actually help us achieve our objective today or if we need to change some of them.

We then examine the interrogating devices for each source and change, add or delete questions for the following sources in the students' source pack. 

Interrogating device - mow photo

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Interrogating device - I have a dream speech

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Interrogating device - other speeches

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Students will have a chance to evaluate the sources using the interrogating device we have just worked with in an effort to successfully complete the assessment.

Interrogation Device - March Poster

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British Embassy's Response to Dr. King's "I have a Dream" speech.

Excerpts of speeches by other leaders.

Dr. King's "I Have a Dream Speech"

Excerpt begins on page 4

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Creator: John F. Kennedy, U.S. President
Source: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/education/heroesvillains/g6/cs3/g6cs3s6a.htm
Date: August 30, 1963

Creator: John F. Kennedy, U.S. President
Source: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/education/heroesvillains/g6/cs3/g6cs3s6a.htm
Date: August 30, 1963

Interrogating device - Kennedy's comments

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Students will write a newspaper article that recounts the 1963 March on Washington as if they had just returned from the march a few days ago.  They will need to contextualize to some degree as they will not have the benefit of our present-day experiences.

Questions to consider in writing their article are:

Who were the organizers and what was the purpose?

What was the atmosphere at the march?

What impact did the speakers have on the crowd?

How large was the crowd and what kind of people attended?

What was the impact on the Civil Rights Movement?

What was unique about this protest? 

Closure and Reflection

Students share the drafts of their newspaper articles and reflect on whether we achieved the objective.

Homework: Students continue to finalize newspaper articles and summarize the information they have been collecting in several paragraphs, or create a timeline for use in the next day's lesson.