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Dr. Utgaard

Modern American History

The March trilogy is a key part of our course.We will use it for two of our weekly discussions and you will also write a paper on the book.The paper assignment appears at the end of this document.For each book, you will find it helpful to answer the questions on the handout as read.

March: Book One

By John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell

Identify the following people and terms and answer the questions listed below:

What was John Lewis’ economic and religious background growing up in rural Alabama?

In 1951 John Lewis made his first trip north with his uncle. What challenges did they face in their drive north and what impact did the visit have on Lewis?

Who was Emmitt Till?

Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) and the Montgomery Bus Boycott

What was the social gospel Lewis learned at Baptist seminary in Nashville, Tennessee?

What happened with Lewis’ plan to integrate Troy State University?

What did Lewis learn from Jim Lawson? Describe the training of the young activists as they prepared for action.

Why did the activists target the lunch counters in Nashville?

What kind of response did the lunch counter sit-ins receive in Nashville?

What kind of attention did the sit-ins generate?

What were some of the generational differences within the movement?

What was SNCC?

How did the mayor of Nashville’s stance change towards segregation?

March: Book Two

By John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell

Identify the following people and terms and answer the questions listed below:

Describe the efforts of Lewis and the activists to integrate fast-food restaurants and movie theaters in Nashville.

What were the freedom rides and why were they more dangerous than the Nashville sit-ins?

What was CORE?

Why did John Lewis leave the freedom ride?

Who was Bull Connor?

To what degree did the Kennedy administration support the freedom rides?Who was John Seigenthaler?

Martin Luther King in Montgomery

Jackson, Mississippi

Describe the interaction between John Lewis and Attorney General, Robert Kennedy

Mississippi compared to Alabama

Describe life and the resistance of the activists in the Mississippi State Prison

Voting Rights and SNCC’s split

Conditions in Mississippi in 1961

How were both the tactics and stance of SNCC changing in 1962?

Who was James Meredith?

Who was George Wallace?

How did civil rights activists turn Bull Connor’s brutality to their advantage in 1963?

Who was Medgar Evers?

Limitations of Kennedy’s proposed Civil Rights Bill

Planning for the March on Washington and the role of Philip Randolph and Bayard Rustin

How and why did John Lewis change his speech at the March on Washington on 28 August 1963?

How was John Lewis’ speech different from the famous Martin Luther King “I Have a Dream” speech on that day?

What happened at the 16


Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama on 15 September 1963?

March: Book Three

By John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell

Identify the following people and terms and answer the questions listed below:

What happened in Birmingham after the bombing of the 16


Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama on 15 September 1963?

Where is Selma? Who is Jim Clark?

What was SNCC’s goal in Selma?

How specifically was the right to vote denied to African Americans in the Jim Crow South?

What happened on Freedom Day, 7 October 1963?

What protest did Bob Moses and Al Lowenstein plan for Mississippi?

Who was Fannie Lou Hamer?

What happened on November 22, 1963

What was President Lyndon B. Johnson’s (LBJ) stance on Kennedy’s proposed civil rights bill? How did young activists like John Lewis view LBJ?

What was the SNCC plan for the election year of 1964?

How did the state officials in Mississippi respond to SNCC’s plans for Freedom Summer in 1964?

What happened to Mickey Schwerner, Andy Goodman, and James Chaney? How did Mississippi authorities respond? What was the national response?

Why was the Civil Rights Act of 1964 a milestone, but also seen as insufficient by Lewis?

What was the difference between the Rockefeller and Goldwater wings of the Republican Party? Who won the nomination in 1964?

What happened at the 1964 Democratic National Convention? Why does Lewis view the 64 convention as a turning point for the movement?

What impact did his extensive trip to African countries have on John Lewis? What challenges did SNCC face in late 1964?

Why did Selma become the focal point for action in 1965? Why did MLK’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) take the lead there?

How was Malcom X different than most civil rights activists? What happened to him in 1965?

Why did SNCC have reservations about MLK and the SCLC’s decision to march from Selma to Montgomery? Why did Lewis join the march on Selma?

What was so important about Bloody Sunday, 7 March 1965?

What was so important about Lyndon Johnson’s speech after Bloody Sunday?

6 August 1965, Voting Rights Act

Why do the authors repeatedly make reference to the inauguration of Barack Obama in January 2009?

Paper Assignment (100 points)

Write a 2.5- to 3-page paper on


of the prompts below. Your paper must include at least six examples. You must include examples from books 1, 2, and 3. You may choose to include visual analysis in your examples. Use parenthetical citations indicating the book and page number. For example:

When the sheriff in Selma was released from the hospital, he wore a button that said “Never.” (Book 3/171-172)

Option 1: What strategies were used by activists in the Civil Rights Movement? Describe how a combination of moral and physical courage was so important to the successes of the Civil Rights Movement.

Option 2; As revealed in the March trilogy, describe the tools of oppression used to deny African Americans their civil and political rights. You may wish to consider the role of political leaders, law enforcement, the courts, businesses, every-day racists, etc.

Option 3: Graphic histories have recently become more common. Some critics fear that graphic (comic) histories sacrifice too much nuance and detail with their emphasis on the visual. After reading the March trilogy, what were the strengths and/or weaknesses of learning history in this form? What images were the most powerful?

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