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Who Wants to Go to Birmingham--1963?

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Erin Beaver


Opelika Middle School, Opelika City Schools


Intended to be used as an introductory activity with the novel The Watsons Go to Birmingham--1963, by Christopher Paul Curtis, this five-and-a-half minute video provides a brief overview of the climate and significant events that occurred in Birmingham and across the South in 1963.  The question in the title is to provoke students to think about why the Watson family would choose to make the trek from the relatively calm Flint, Michigan, to the turmoil-filled Birmingham, Alabama.  Other than the allusion in the title and mention in the end credits, this podcast does not make any specific reference's to Curtis' book, and can therefore be used as a stand-alone tool in the study of the Civil Rights Movement.  

Length: 05:30

Content Areas: English/Language Arts, Social Studies

Alabama Course of Study Alignments and/or Professional Development Standard Alignments:

ELA2015 (7)
8. Compare and contrast a fictional portrayal of a time, place, or character and a historical account of the same period as a means of understanding how authors of fiction use or alter history. [RL.7.9]
SS2010 (6) United States Studies: The Industrial Revolution to the Present
9. Critique major social and cultural changes in the United States since World War II.
  • Identifying key persons and events of the modern Civil Rights Movement
  • Examples: persons—Martin Luther King Jr.; Rosa Parks; Fred Shuttlesworth; John Lewis (Alabama)
    events—Brown versus Board of Education, Montgomery Bus Boycott, student protests, Freedom Rides, Selma-to-Montgomery Voting Rights March, political assassinations (Alabama)
  • Describing the changing role of women in United States' society and how it affected the family unit
  • Examples: women in the workplace, latchkey children
  • Recognizing the impact of music genres and artists on United States' culture since World War II
  • Examples: genres—protest songs; Motown, rock and roll, rap, folk, and country music
    artists—Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Hank Williams (Alabama)
  • Identifying the impact of media, including newspapers, AM and FM radio, television, twenty-four hour sports and news programming, talk radio, and Internet social networking, on United States' culture since World War II


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