Please fill in the following form to contact the author, Russel Tarr (@russeltarr)
ActiveHistory provides entertaining, educational award-winning interactive simulations, decision-making games, self-marking quizzes, high-quality worksheets and detailed lesson plans for teachers and students.
View the top 50 activities here.
You can also request a free trial.
An overview of the syllabus and scheme of work
This prescribed subject focuses on struggles for rights and freedoms in the mid-20th century. The first case study explores the civil rights movement in the US between 1954 and the passing of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. This worksheet provides students with an overview and encourages them to develop their own timeline and list of key terms.
The Big Picture: A multimedia presentation of race in American history since the Declaration of Independence
This online presentation gives a big sweep of history and is designed to accompany the worksheet provided above.
Jim Crow and the Ku Klux Klan
Even though the Civil War brought an end to slavery, it did not bring political and social equality for black Americans. In the South, where most African Americans lived, African Americans were then forced into a position of second-class status by local "Black Codes" embodied in the Jim Crow laws. This discrimination was supplemented by the use of terror and intimidation such as the Ku Klux Klan.
Extension: Analysing a range of Jim Crow Laws
"Use the following Jim Crow laws to construct a diary account outlining the ways in which you, as a black American, have broken several of these laws in the space of just a day or two. Describe how it made you feel and how (or if) you decided to resist, and why. Alternatively, produce a classroom display resource designed to highlight a range of these laws (categorised as appropriate and including images), prioritise a selection of them in a 'Diamond 9' diagram, or even design a board game to educate players about the injustices of Jim Crow".
Sourcework: Which organisation produced this document?
Students are provided with a series of extracts by and about a particular organisation associated with civil rights. Can they guess its provenance?
World War Two and the Presidency of Truman
Some essential points of information regarding a number of mid-term and short-term factors which cover the period of World War Two and its aftermath, with suggested research tasks.
Emmett Till | Online presentation
A series of questions about the shocking murder of a black teenager which helped galvanise the civil rights movement.
The Montgomery Bus Boycott
Students learn about this famous event, sparked off by the protest of Rosa Parks, and use it to consider such questions as "What is the difference between law and justice? Under what circumstances do we have the right, or even the duty, to stand up against unjust laws and regulations? What forms can our resistance take? What are the advantages and drawbacks of each?"
Sourcework: A memo from Bayard Rustin to Martin Luther King
Students are asked read a memo by Bayard Rustin about the success of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, then list at least six of the reasons that he gives to explain why it worked.
The school desegregation campaign: overview
This worksheet breaks into three key sections:  The Supreme Court and Chief Justice Earl Warren;  Autherine Lucy and the University of Alabama;  What was the South so afraid of (a picture-based sourcework investigation).
Case studies: Elizabeth Eckford, Dorothy Counts and Ruby Bridges
As well as a focus on the Little Rock Nine, this activity also encourages students to consider the case of Dorothy Counts (1957) and Ruby Bridges (1960)
The university desegregation campaign
This worksheet considers the campaign of James Meredith to join the "Ole Miss".
Sit-Ins and the Freedom Rides
This activity is based around the episode from the "Eyes on the Prize" entitled "Ain't Scared of Your Jails". You can obtain the documentary on DVD from Amazon.com here.
Albany, Birmingham and the Washington March | Teacher notes
Each student will produce a short presentation for the rest of the class on one particular theme.
Each presentation must:
Mid-unit factual test
25 factual questions and a further 5 picture questions, complete with teacher answers.
Campaign 1964: Freedom Summer | Teacher notes
"The 1964 Freedom Summer was a 10-week campaign in Mississippi designed to increase the amount of black people registered to vote...Listen to (or read) Fanie Lou Hamer’s “I Question America” speech and make notes on the sorts of injustices she and her people have suffered already and which she uses as compelling evidence to justify the MFDP being fully and properly recognised and respected...Produce a diagram/infographic designed to summarise the essential features of the Freedom Summer as reflected in the information shared here. Imagine this as an end-of-chapter revision summary aid. Focus particularly on presenting the statistics in an interesting way"
Legislation 1964: The Civil Rights Act
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is significant because it made the protection of civil rights the responsibility of the federal government, and removed the rights of individual states to make their own exceptions to these...Watch the video clip and make detailed notes on the main provisions of the Civil Rights Act (www.activehistory.co.uk/l/civilrightsact). Afterwards, convert your notes into an answer of no more than 100 words to answer "What were the main provisions of the Civil Rights Act?"
Sourcework Assignment with model answers: The Civil Rights Act of 1964 [Teacher password required]
A complete sourcework paper in the style of the new IB Syllabus, complete with model answers by the author of this website.
Campaign 1965: Selma - The Simulation [interactive]
"In this simulation you will learn about key figures involved in the struggle as events unfold step-by-step. For each character you will be invited to step inside their shoes and consider how you should react to the situation you face if your objective is to attract favourable media attention that will help get a Voting Rights Bill through Congress. In this way you will form a judgement about how each character helped or hindered the success of the campaign (deliberately or inadvertently!) and which people were most significant in the struggle"
Legislation 1965: The Voting Rights Act
"The Voting Rights Act has recently been undermined by the case of Shelby County v. Holder (2013). Conduct some research into this case (including the article from The Guardian entitled ‘Selma leaders lament voting rights losses at congressional award ceremony’) to answer the question “To what extent has the long-term impact of the Voting Rights Act been undermined by recent events?"
Events (100 years ago today): 1917 - The United States pays Denmark $25 million for the Virgin Islands.
Births (150 years ago today): 1867 - Carl Laemmle, German-born American film producer, co-founded Universal Studios (d. 1939)
Births (100 years ago today): 1917 - M. G. Ramachandran, Indian actor, director, and politician, 5th Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu (d. 1987)
Births (50 years ago today): 1967 - Richard Hawley, English singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer
Deaths (400 years ago today): 1617 - Fausto Veranzio, Croatian bishop and lexicographer (b. 1551)
RSS Feed | Full week | Get Widget
What is Politics? Why are so many people not interested in it and why is this worrying?
Communism and Fascism: Whats the difference?
Design your ideal state
LBJ and the Great Society
Hexagons Activity: Impact of the Industrial Revolution
Sourcework Exercise: The Sharpeville Massacre Teacher model answers
50 Essential Songs for the History Classroom
Sourcework Exercise: The Sharpeville Massacre
Model answers for sourcework exercise on rise of Apartheid
Slave Trade Simulation: Updated and improved
Model Essay Compare and contrast the role of ideology in causing two 20th-century wars, each chosen from a different region
Model Essay What were the most frequent causes of 20th-century wars?
Vietnam veteran John Kerrys statement at the Senate hearings of 1971
Why, and with what degree of justification, did Nixon refuse to immediately withdraw from Vietnam?
Compare and contrast the policy of Johnson and Nixon with regard to Vietnam