Living the Story: The Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky
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This resource guide to using themes raised in the video documentary Living the Story: The Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky in the classroom was developed by the Kentucky Department of Education’s Division of Equity, with lesson plans contributed by three Kentucky teachers.

Introduction and Purpose

The lesson plans in this project are designed to be general and inclusive, and they can be implemented using a wide variety of sources and approaches. Each lesson plan includes the suggested grade level—although the topics certainly can be used for other grades—as well as connections to Kentucky Academic Expectations, the Program of Studies, and the Core Content to facilitate curriculum planning.

Considering the breadth of this project, the goal was to create a product that could be applicable from the following curriculum development perspectives:

  • Humanist—The humanist may approach the lesson plan with exercises and activities that will bring personal satisfaction to the learner.

  • Social Reconstructionist—The social reconstructionist may develop lesson plans and classroom activities based on building a better society or reforming social roles.

  • Technologist—The technologist may consider lesson plans dealing with laws, policies, and policy makers.

  • Academic—The academic may want to separate the Kentucky civil rights movement into subject-matter content areas and develop lesson plans from those topic areas.

Throughout the development of this project, particular emphasis was given to the three focal points of curriculum decisions:

  1. The first focal point is concerned with the nature of the subject. The primary focus here deals with how the Kentucky civil rights movement can help the student make sense of his or her own personal experience, then extrapolate that understanding to the outside world.

  2. The second focal point concerns the nature of society. Emphasis here is placed on using the Kentucky civil rights movement to provide students with opportunities to learn about cultures, politics, economics, and geography and to motivate them to participate in their society.

  3. The third focal point gives specific attention to the nature of the student. There are two guiding questions for this focal point:
    • Will studying the Kentucky civil rights movement increase students’ social interest and curiosity?
    • How can multiple-intelligence activities be stimulated?

This project is broad and diverse enough to accommodate all learning and teaching styles. Numerous exercises at all levels can be designed to be student-centered and developmentally appropriate. The variety of forms that projects could assume allows integration into virtually all social studies subject areas. Projects can be organized with purposeful activities that combine the interests of the students with contemporary cultural and social topics and issues. This approach can provide immediate, stimulating, and satisfying feedback.

Compiled by:
Don Offutt, Division of Equity, KDE

Written by:
Jean McComb, Office of Results Planning, KDE
Don Offutt
Bonita Pack
, Alexandria Elementary School, Campbell County
Yvette Thompson, Bryan Station High School, Fayette County
Kristi Wilkerson, Peaks Mill Elementary, Franklin County


Lesson Plans


Reconstruction in Kentucky
Blacks and the Civil War

Social and Cultural Issues
Desegregating the Public Schools
Integrating Public Accommodations

Race Relations in Your Town
Social and Cultural Issues
Issues in Public Education


The Kentucky Civil Rights Era

Living the Story > For Teachers