• For Educators
  • For Students


Bring the pivotal events of the civil rights movement in 1963 to life for your students through more than 230 primary sources ranging from film footage of the March on Washington and letters from youth advising the president to JFK’s landmark address to the American people and secret recordings of behind-the-scenes negotiations on civil rights legislation. 


About this site

1963: The Struggle for Civil Rights presents seven key "chapters" in one of the most tumultuous years in civil rights history.

About This Site guides you through the structure of this presentation, its application to classroom learning and connections to National Standards, and provides additional resource information.

About this site »

NARA 27-0328a

Multi-Topic Lesson Plans

The following lesson plans incorporate topics and primary sources relating to multiple events featured on this site.

Youth in Action »


To Right to Vote in Mississippi

Civil rights groups work to increase the number of blacks who are registered to vote in Mississippi, and face continuing harassment and violence.

Let Our Voices Be Heard »


Project C

In order to draw national attention to the treatment of African Americans in Birmingham, Alabama, Martin Luther King Jr., Fred Shuttlesworth and other civil rights activists launch a campaign of mass protests, known as Project C (for confrontation).

What if Laws Are Unjust? »


The Integration of the University of Alabama

Governor George Wallace upholds his promise to defend "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, and segregation forever" when he tries to block two black students from enrolling at the University of Alabama.

Whose Law?: State Sovereignty and the Integration of the University of Alabama »


Address to the American People on Civil Rights

President Kennedy addresses the nation, defining the civil rights crisis not only as a constitutional and legal issue, but as a moral one as well. He announces that major civil rights legislation will be submitted to the Congress.

Persuader in Chief »

The President Takes a Stand »


The Bill

President Kennedy sends a comprehensive civil rights bill to Congress and seeks support from congressional leaders and ordinary Americans.

Strategies for Support »


The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

More than 200,000 Americans of all races join the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

They Had a Dream »

A Montage of the Civil Rights Movement »

Marching for Equal Rights »


The Bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church

A bomb explodes in the basement of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, killing four young African-American girls. The nation is shocked at the news.

The Response From the White House »


Lesson plans by grade, Elementary school

They Had a Dream »

Youth in Action »

The President Takes a Stand »



Additional resources for educators on the civil rights movement throughout the 20th century, as well as books and materials appropriate for younger readers.

Elementary and Middle School - Bibliography

High School - Bibliography




Explore each of the seven event chapters day- by-day, with references to subchapters in the online presentation.

Full Chronology