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Lesson Plans & Classroom Activities

Civil Rights Memorial Service Project

"Between 1955 and 1968 only forty people were murdered in the American South for reasons related to the civil rights movement. Hundreds had been slain in a comparable span of time, 1865-77, as former Confederates fought to restore white supremacy. In the 1890s, their sons and grandsons hanged, burned, or shot, sometimes all three plus mutilation for sport, more than 150 black southerners each year to enforce the new segregation codes" (Clark, 1995). Why did so few die in America's Civil Rights Struggle? Should the Civil Rights Victory be considered a miracle of Biblical proportions?

Requirements:

  • Choose a martyr
  • Research your martyr (books, newspaper, web sites)
  • Make an obituary
    • Please draft obituary in your own words and be sure to include the elements below:
      • Photograph of martyr
        • FIRST NAME, MIDDLE INITIAL, LAST NAME
        • AGE
        • CITY, STATE, ZIP
        • CAUSE OF DEATH
        • PLACE OF DEATH (may specify hospital or nursing home, or may simply say name of city)
        • DATE OF DEATH (not necessary to state time of death; use calendar date rather than day of week)
        • EULOGY COMMENTS (can be used throughout the obituaries, may include loving comments such as "beloved husband of" or "dedicated volunteer", or whatever description deemed appropriate)
        • OCCUPATION (list job title or function, name of company and number of years employed at that company. May list more than one occupation if applicable)
        • COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT
        • HOBBIES (list clubs, memberships, volunteer work, other noteworthy accomplishments, etc)
        • MILITARY SERVICE (dates and branch of service and years served)
        • MARRIAGE (list spouse's name, date of marriage. May also say the maiden name and state of origin. If spouse deceased, say s/he was preceded in death by)
        • OTHER SURVIVORS (list in order by the name and city: parents, children, grandchildren, step-children, brothers and sisters, cousins)
        • RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION
        • PLACE AND TIME OF SERVICE (name of funeral home, viewing hours, time of funeral)
        • PALLBEARERS AND HONORARY PALLBEARERS (verify spellings)
        • CONTRIBUTIONS AND OTHER MEMORIALS
  • Design a headstone with epitaph (poster)
    • Each headstone must include the following:
      • Martyr’s name, date of birth, date of death, picture of martyr and epitaph
  • Write a 1-3 minute Eulogy
    • Write in the voice of a loved one or close friend
    • Is there a humorous or touching event that represents the essence of the deceased?
    • What did people love and admire about the deceased?
    • Get the audience involved with what you are saying
    • Speak clearly to your audience.
    • Think positively when you write about the person.
    • Insert some humor into the eulogy (jokes, quotes, sayings.)
    • Make the eulogy memorable.
    • Read your eulogy as though you are talking to a friend

The Memorial Service will be held November 22, 2003. Each group is asked to do the following:

  • bring a covered dish and flower
  • wear dress clothes

 

 

 

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This project has been supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, an independent Federal Agency. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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