Changing Laws: Politics of the Civil Rights Era (Paperback)
A deep dive into the politics of the Civil Rights Era, including the passing of new laws and the presidential responses to protest. A terrific way for kids ages 12 to 15 to learn about the Civil Rights Movement, especially as the Black Lives Matter movement grows across the United States. "We shall overcome" was the refrain of the Civil Rights Movement, but overcoming centuries of discrimination was not easy. When the activism of civil rights protestors exposed the rampant racism embedded in America's politics for the world to see, political leaders in the federal government were forced to act. In Changing Laws: Politics of the Civil Rights Era, students ages 12 to 15 explore the key legislative and judicial victories of the era that spanned from 1954 to the early 1970s. The successes of Brown v. the Board of Education, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Fair Housing Act of 1968 were the results of African American activism and a growing awareness of social justice and injustice. Marches, demonstrations, boycotts, and lawsuits prodded local and state governments to reveal the bigotry of their laws and the brutality of their oppression of black citizens. As racial tensions ripped the country apart, presidents from Eisenhower through Nixon worked to uphold the U.S. Constitution, sometimes willingly and sometimes reluctantly. As members of Congress debated and negotiated, change came slowly. Schools, restaurants, and polling stations all opened their doors to African Americans. But victory was incomplete and came at a price. And today, we're seeing that the job is still unfinished, as protestors take to the streets and make their voices heard in a call for anti-racism at all levels of society. In this book, hands-on projects and research activities alongside essential questions, links to online resources, and text-to-world connections promote a profound understanding of history and offer opportunities for social-emotional learning. Changing Laws: Politics of the Civil Rights Era is part of a new series from Nomad Press, The Civil Rights Era, that captures the passion and conviction of the 1950s and '60s. Other titles in this set include Boycotts, Strikes, and Marches: Protests of the Civil Rights Era; Sitting In, Standing Up: Leaders of the Civil Rights Era; and Singing for Equality: Musicians of the Civil Rights Era.
Judy Dodge Cummings has taught American history for 25 years. She has a BA in Broadfield Social Studies and an MFA in Creative Writing for Children and Teens. She is the author of Immigration Nation: The American Identity in the Twenty-First Century; The Underground Railroad: Navigate the Journey from Slavery to Freedom with 20 Projects; and The Civil War: The Struggle that Divided America from Nomad Press. Judy lives in Reedsburg, Wisconsin.