Watsons Go to Birmingham

The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963 is the story of an ordinary family caught in a very important moment in American history. Complete the tasks below to learn more about this time.

Task 1: Summarize history by creating a timeline of major events in the struggle for Civil Rights.

Task 2: Learn more about events that occured during the middle of the last century, and demonstrate your knowledge by completing this short answer webquest.

Task 3: Put what you’ve learned together to write an essay describing about how far you feel the United States has come in the last few decades, and how far we still have to go.

Watsons Task 1: Create a Timeline

For African-Americans, life in 1963 was very different from life today, especially in the South. The 60’s were very turbulent, but led to many positive changes for all Americans. Gather information about the events in the South from 1950 to 1965 and then use MS PowerPoint to create a timeline of at least 6 events that led to social change during this period.

Make sure that :

  • The timeline span is 1950-1965.
  • All events happened between these years.
  • You include at least 2 pictures of events or important people.
  • Each event is described with at least two sentences.
  • You include 6 or more events.
  • Your sources for facts and pictures are listed on a separate slide.

Try these sites:

Watsons Task 2: Background/Short Answer

Use MS Word to type your answers to the questions below. Answers must be in complete sentences!

Civil Rights
You can find the answers to questions 1-5 at http://www.cr.nps.gov/nr/travel/civilrights/index.htm.

Click on INTRODUCTION, then answer the following question:

  • What were the 13th,14th and 15th amendments to the US constitution?

At the bottom of the INTRODUCTION page, click on THE NEED FOR CHANGE, then answer the following questions:

  • List some of the ways African Americans were subjected to discrimination.
  • What tactics were used to discourage black voters from registering?

At the bottom of the page, click on THE PRIZE, then answer the following questions:

  • Describe the impact of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Non-violent social change

Watsons Task 3: Essay

For African-Americans, life in 1963 was very different from life today, especially in the South. While there have been great strides towards racial equality in America in the last century, there is still work to be done. Write a short essay (3-5 paragraphs) describing ways that race relations improved since the Watson’s trip to Birmingham. What were the main factors that led to these improvements? What improvements do you think are still needed?

Here are some sites you can search for facts and inspiration: