Home and Agents of Social Change - Constance Baker Motley

Motley Lesson Plan

Lesson Topic: Children's Organization for Civil Rights (C.O.C.R.)
Grade: Middle School
Class: American History
Approx. Class Time: one week

Lesson Objective: The students will analyze a speech from Constance Baker Motley, look at C.O.C.R. documents, and then create their own plan of action for what the C.O.C.R. might be like if it existed today.

Materials: Speech by Constance Baker Motley, PS 125, c1965; C.O.C.R. documents, 1965; easel paper and markers.


  • Have students outline the three important strategies for helping the Civil Rights Movement as outlined by Motley.

  • Have students compare her views to those of Eric Mertin from Student Non-Violence Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and Mr. Early from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1965.

  • Break students up into groups. Have each group create its own organization to help civil rights. They should create a pledge, a logo, and decide what activities they will do to help increase equal rights in today's society. They should then compare their organization's agenda to the agenda of 35 years ago. Who would speak at their meetings? How would they involve the community?

  • Then have each group give a speech about their organization and how it would help increase civil rights awareness.

Selected Suggested Readings:
Ellen Levine, Freedom's Children: Young Civil Rights Activists Tell Their Own Stories
          (New York: Putnam Press, 1993).

Robert Weisbrot, Freedom Bound: A History of America's Civil Rights Movement
          (New York: Norton Press, 1989).

Back to Motley Main Page

KenyonO'ConnorKaufmanMotleyPivenSteinemNCNWWAAExhibitSSC Home

SSC Home

color bar
Contact us | Search our site | Site map | Terms of use Smith College Libraries  |  Smith College Home Page
 © 2005 Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, MA 01063 Page last updated on Friday, 11 August 2006