The Nashville Sit-Ins
— Using a Film Clip from A Force More Powerful
Subject: U.S. History and Culture - Diversity - Civil Rights Movement & 1945 - 1991
Ages: 12+: Midlle and High School Levels;
Length: Film Clip: 30 minutes; Lesson: Two 45-55 minute class periods; can be reduced to one class period by eliminating most of the class discussion and the comprehension test.
Adaptation of the Complete Snippet Lesson Plan
Learner Outcomes/Objectives: Students will learn the history of the Nashville sit-ins of 1960 from the training the students received through the sit-ins themselves to the negotiations that led to the integration of restaurants in downtown Nashville. Students will also become acquainted with the concept of non-violent mass action through the example of the sit-ins. Students will retain strong mental images of the early Civil Rights Movement by watching it unfold on film.
Rationale: An understanding of modern history requires knowledge of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, the important role students played in the quest for equal rights, and the signifigance of nonviolent mass action as a force for political and social change. The Nashville sit-ins of 1960 were a pivotal event in the U.S. Civil Rights movement.
Description of the Film Clip: This is the first segment of the documentary, A Force More Powerful. The film describes six occasions in which nonviolent mass action changed governments or promoted social reform.
USING THE FILM CLIP IN THE CLASSROOM
1. Review the film clip and to make sure it is suitable for the class.
2. Review this Snippet Lesson Plan and decide how much of the extensive Supplemental Materials (available to TWM subscribers) to provide to the class. Also, determine which discussion questions suggested by TWM to pose to the class. Decide whether to present the Supplemental Materials through direct instruction or to give students TWM'S "Handout Relating to the Nashville Sit-ins" (provided to subscribers). Decide whether to give students TWM's comprehension test for this lesson plan. Modify the handout and the comprehension test, if necessary, for the particular needs of the class.
3. Cue the DVD to the beginning of the film clip and assemble all printed materials to be handed out to the class.
Step by Step
1. Tell students that the class will cover the Nashville sit-ins of 1960. Place the events in Nashville in the context with other historical events that the students have been studying or which were occurring in the early 1960s.
2. Play the movie A Force More Powerful from the beginning to the end of the segment entitled "We Were Warriors - Nashville, 1960." This will take about 30 minutes.
3. After the film clip, present the Supplemental Materials through direct instruction or have the class read the "Handout Relating to the Nashville Sit-ins" (available to subscribers).
4. Select the discussion questions provided in the Snippet Lesson Plan to review.
5. Give the comprehension test (available to subscribers). The test consists of the discussion questions slightly modified in some cases. The test is designed to be a learning experience itself. Allow 30 minutes for the test.
[The complete Snippet Lesson Plan provides extensive supplemental materials, background information and assignments. An example of a discussion question is set out below:]
Discussion Questions with Answers
Points that will be covered in a thorough class discussion are set out in the Suggested Response section. The questions on the comprehension test are identical in most cases to the discussion questions. Not all discussion questions are included in the test. The Suggested Responses are examples of excellent answers to the test questions.
1. Segregation can be defined as the separation of black and white Americans in social, political and economic spheres of life. Describe: (a) the ways in which blacks were harmed by segregation, (b) the ways in which segregation harmed whites, and (c) the way in which the failure to give equal rights to black Americans harmed the nation.
(a) Segregation, particularly in education and employment, denied black Americans the opportunity to realize their full potential, to be paid as they deserved for their work, and to live the American Dream. Segregation sent a message to blacks that they were inferior to other Americans; it was a mark of inferiority that was devastating to the self-esteem of many. It was a constant and irritating reminder that blacks were considered second class citizens by their white compatriots.
(b)For whites, segregation betrayed the political and cultural ideals of the nation. Relegating people to second-class citizenship because of their race undercut basic ethical lessons taught at home and in churches and temples. It is harmful to live in a way that takes unfair advantage of others. This harm may be more subtle than the harm from segregation suffered by blacks, but it is nonetheless real.
(c) For the United States as a community, segregation betrayed the principles of the Declaration of Independence. By denying African Americans an equal opportunity to better themselves and to make contributions to society, segregation denied the United States of the full benefits of the talents possessed by its black citizens.
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The film clip on the Nashville Sit-Ins provides archival footage of students being trained by James Lawson, the expert on nonviolent mass action selected by Dr. Martin Luther King to lead the sit-ins.
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