By the end of this lesson students will be able to:

  • Analyze sermons of prominent African American leaders
  • Evaluate the ways in which the local church has supported civil rights efforts of African American Washingtonians



Dr. Martin Luther King Speeches in The Eyes on the Prize: Civil Rights Reader (Documents, Speeches, and Firsthand Accounts from the Black Freedom Struggle (1954-1990), eds. Clayborne Carson, David J. Garrow, Gerald Gill, Vincent Hardibng, Darlene Clark Hine. 1991

Nannie Helen Burroughs Papers:"Educator, religious leader, and advocate for African American rights. Correspondence, financial records, memoranda, notebooks, speeches and writings, subscription and literature orders, student records, and other papers relating primarily to Burroughs's founding and management of the National Training School for Women and Girls in Washington, D.C., and to her activities with the Woman's Auxiliary of the National Baptist Convention of the United States of America." Library of Congress http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.mss/eadmss.ms003010


A Knock at Midnight: Inspiration from the Great Sermons of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

Clayborne Carson and Peter Holloran, eds.
(New York:Warner Books, 1998)

City of Washington Statistical Map of Public Schools
Creator: compiled by Lieut. F.V. Greene
Source: Historical Society of Washington, DC

Washington, DC Street Railways
Creator: DC Street Railways
Source: Historial Society of Washington, DC

From Whence We Came (A Pictorial Journal)- First Baptist Church, Deanwood
Creator: Dr. William H. Bennett II, Senior Pastor
Source: Historical Society of Washington, DC
Date: May 25, 1997

Warm Up

National Trade and Professional School for Women and Girls
Source: Historical Society of Washington DC

MLK Video


1. What do you think was happening in America when this speech was delivered?

2. Who was the audience?

3. What does this tell us about the following:

    A. Discrimination

    B. Role of the African- American church

    C. Unity

National Trade and Professional School for Women and Girls 1948
Creator: JOhn P. Wymer Collection
Source: Historical Society of Washington, DC
Date: March 1948

New Material

Distribute maps, street railways, old photos,

NHB- National Trade School (school without license) / National Baptist Convention

First Baptist Church- builders resisted discrimination buy building own church w/out license


Students will perform document analysis (on sourcing handout) to uncover the ways in which Nannie Helen Burroughs, local Deanwood craftsman, and Martin Luther King confronted discrimination in the 20th century. Students will gain practice examining maps and 1948 photos of the Deanwood neighborhood where the Nannie Helen Burroughs School stands just blocks from their own school (IDEA PCS) in Northeast DC.


“…The First Baptist Church of Deanwood’s 1929 church is an excellent example…The men who designed and built the church had to overcome many obstacles..."
- Excerpt "From Whence We Came,' A Pictorial Journal in celebration of 95 Years of Service, May 25, 1997, First Baptist Church of Deanwood, 1008 45th Street NE, Washington, DC"

List five (5) obstacles African Americans like Nannie Helen Burroughs, Dr. Martin Luther King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) or the Deanwood craftsmen worked to overcome due to racial discrimination.

Closure and Reflection

African Americans have labored tirelessly for social and economic equality.

Discuss how whether or not racial disparities still exist and review advances in equality.

Summartive Assessment details are reviewed.

Homework is to select two modern events for final project.