Leaders B (50%)
Groups F (0%)
Events B (50%)
History F (0%)
Opposition D (25%)
Tactics F (71%)
Content C (37%)
Grade levels F (0%)
Current events F (0%)
Civics F (0%)
Other movements F (0%)
Context F (0%)
Items the State Requires
Leaders: Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm X, Thurgood Marshall, James Meredith. Events: 24th Amendment, 1964 Civil Rights Act, 1965 Voting Rights Act, 1968 Civil Rights Act, Brown, Little Rock. Opposition: White resistance. Tactics: Black Power, civil disobedience, sit-ins, tactics, voter registration.
GRADE C means Maryland includes at least 30% of the recommended content and has considerable work to do to ensure its students have a satisfactory understanding of the movement.
In Maryland, the Voluntary State Curriculum (Revised 2006) requires study of the civil rights movement only in high school.
Elementary and Middle School
U.S. History: Civil rights is covered in the expectation that “Students will demonstrate understanding of the cultural, economic, political, social and technological developments from 1946-1968.” One of the four indicators for this expectation deals directly with the civil rights movement: “Analyze the major developments, controversies and consequences of the civil rights movement between 1946-1968.” The standards specify these learning objectives for the civil rights movement:
• Examine the battle for school desegregation, including Brown v. Board of Education and the roles of the NAACP and Thurgood Marshall.
• Describe the efforts to enforce school desegregation and local reactions to these efforts, including crisis at Little Rock and the University of Mississippi.
• Describe various activities that civil rights activists used to protest segregation, including boycotts, sit-ins, marches and voter registration campaigns.
• Compare the philosophies of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X and the Black Power movement.
• Describe the impact of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s and Malcolm X’s leadership and assassinations on the civil rights movement.
• Describe the goals of civil rights legislation, including the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1968, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the 24th Amendment.
• Describe why urban violence and race riots escalated during the 1960s in reaction to ongoing discrimination and the slow pace of civil rights advances.
• Analyze the opposition to the civil rights movement, such as the Dixiecrats, white citizens councils, white supremacist movements.
Maryland’s civil rights movement requirements cover several major areas but are weak overall. Two of the state’s eight learning objectives focus on the struggle to integrate schools and universities but the objectives omit other triggers for the civil rights movement such as specific ways voters were disenfranchised, Jim Crow laws and racism. Another two learning objectives focus on Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X but omit other figures and key groups, perpetuating a personality-driven narrative about the movement. The state does an admirable job of covering diverse tactics, and is one of only a handful of states to include the urban uprisings of the 1960s in its required curriculum.
Slight modifications to these standards could yield substantial impact. They could be improved by making explicit linkages to current events and civic engagement. Integrating learning across grade levels will allow the state to add more required content in appropriate sequences while increasing awareness of this essential period in American history.