Students will discover that there are far more lesser known civil rights activists than the leaders normally associated with the movement.

Students will learn that only a small percentage of Georgetown University students took part in the Civil Rights Movement.

 Students will learn about a small group of GU students who staged a sit-in across the Key Bridge in Arlington and its aftermath.

 Students will brainstorm reasons why GU tends to be more active now than during the Civil Rights era. 


[Applicable DCPS content and skills standards as well as Common Core standards should be listed by number and include the actual text of the standard.]


[Here, you should include a list of primary and secondary sources as well as other materials you will be using in the class. Attach all handouts and readings you will use for this lesson to the curricular unit.]

See 2. below for citation

see 1. below for citation

How to Start a Movement


1. Daniel Mendelsohn, “Dr. Kearns Termination Cause of Controversy,” The Hoya, December 17, 1964, 1.

2. Rachel Lesser, "Casual Indifference to Racial Justice: Georgetown and the Civil Rights Movement,"  The Georgetown Independent, March 22, 2013, accessed on July 23, 2013, http://thegeorgetownindependent.tumblr.com/post/45971460451/casual-indifference-to-racial-injustice-georgetown.

Warm Up

Students will watch Derek Sivers at TED.  Sivers explains that a leader may start a movement, but then the first followers play a crucial role in creating and maintaining momentum.  Students will learn that its not just about the leader or the originator of a movement, but about the followers as well.

New Material

Students will be introduced to a TED Talk and to information about Georgetown University's "timid" participation in the early Civil Rights era.


Students will break into small groups of 3 and discuss how movements start and their reactions to the evidence that most students at faculty at Georgetown Unversity were not involved with the early civil rights era.  Furthers, students will talk about consequences for speaking up for what a person thinks is right, with the case of Dr. Kearns serving as a catalyst for discussion.


Students will be given the following brief constructed response questions:

1. Have you ever started a movement or been a first follower?  Can you describe that experience with as many details as possible?

2. Have you ever gotten in trouble for speaking up for what you think is right?  Can you describe that experience?

3. Should people who speak up for what they think is right be protected by law from being fired, harassed, or thrown in jail?  Why or why not? 

Closure and Reflection

Students will share their answers to the constructed response prompts in a whole group setting.