Leaders F (13%)
Groups F (0%)
Events F (8%)
History F (0%)
Opposition D (25%)
Tactics F (0%)
Content F (7%)
Grade levels F (0%)
Current events A (100%)
Civics F (0%)
Other movements A (100%)
Context B (50%)
Items the State Requires
Leaders: Martin Luther King Jr. Events: March on Washington. Opposition: White resistance.
GRADE F means Michigan includes none or less than 20% of the recommended content and should significantly revise its standards.
Michigan has content standards and more detailed learning benchmarks and covers civil rights in high school only.
Elementary and Middle School
There are no specific requirements for teaching about the civil rights movement at this level.
U.S. History and Geography: The civil rights movement is the third of three major topics included in a unit that covers the post-World War II era until 1989. The specific standards are:
• Civil rights in the post-WWII Era: Examine and analyze the civil rights movement using key events, people and organizations.
• Civil rights movement: Analyze the key events, ideals, documents and organizations in the struggle for civil rights by African-Americans including: the impact of WWII and the Cold War (e.g., racial and gender integration of the military), Supreme Court decisions and governmental actions (e.g., Brown v. Board, Civil Rights Act of 1957, Little Rock school desegregation, Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965); protest movements, organizations, and civil actions (e.g., integration of baseball, Montgomery Bus Boycott, March on Washington, Freedom Rides, NAACP, SCLC, SNCC, Nation of Islam and Black Panthers; resistance to civil rights.
• Ideals of the civil rights movement: Compare and contrast the ideas in Martin Luther King’s March on Washington speech to the ideas expressed in the Declaration of Independence, the Seneca Falls Resolution and the Gettysburg Address.
• Civil rights expanded: Evaluate the major accomplishments and setbacks in civil rights and liberties for American minorities over the 20th century including American Indians, Latinos/Latinas, new immigrants, people with disabilities and gays and lesbians.
• Tensions and reactions to poverty and civil rights: Analyze the causes and consequences of the civil unrest that occurred in American cities by comparing the civil unrest in Detroit with at least one other American city (e.g., Los Angeles, Cleveland, Chicago, Atlanta or Newark).
Although Michigan does expect students to study several dimensions of the civil rights movement, by specifying little required content the state offers little direction to teachers. Even the suggested content falls far short of a comprehensive picture of one of American history’s most important events. Optional content (not reflected in the state’s grade) does include a variety of significant events and key groups. It does not provide the kind of historical context and study of opposition that students need to fully understand the movement.