Civil Rights Activity 2: Headline News

Target Audience for Activity: Grades 8-12


  • Students will learn about important dates in the Civil Rights struggle in Atlanta.
  • Students will learn about on historic figures, such as Ivan Allen Jr.
  • Students will learn to use primary sources for historical research.
  • Students will learn that people make history.


  • Microfilm access to national and local newspapers during the 1960s. (check with public library or local college/university)
  • Online access to historical New York Times and Washington Post. (check with public library or local college/university)

Events in the Civil Rights movement varied from city to city. Ivan Allen Jr.'s leadership as mayor was a major factor in limiting violence in Atlanta in the 1960s. Other cities experienced higher levels of violence and unrest. In 1963, he was the only Southern leader to testify before Congress in support of the Civil Rights Act that would eliminate discrimination in public accommodations.

Compare the activities during the 1960s Civil Rights movement between Atlanta, GA; Birmingham, AL; and Montgomery, AL. Research coverage in national newspapers (New York Times; Washington Post) and local newspapers (Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta Journal). Other possible sources include: The Birmingham News; Birmingham Times, and Montgomery Advertiser)

Historical Civil Rights Events

Choose a topic or event on the Civil Rights Timeline from CR Activity 1 and research coverage of the topic or event in the New York Times, Washington Post, Atlanta Constitution and/or Atlanta Journal. Present your results to the class or write a short essay. Include answers the following questions:

  • Describe the topic/event.
  • How was the topic/event reported in the newspaper?
  • Was the topic/event listed on the front page? If not, where did it appear?
  • If you looked at more than one newspaper, how did the coverage vary based on the newspaper?