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EXPLORE:

Use the following activities to investigate related topics on the web.
Alternative 1: Deepening the Inquiry—What role did the doctrine of nonviolence play in the Montgomery Bus Boycott?
  1. Go to http://www.stanford.edu/group/King/ and click on “King Papers Project” on the top menu. Then, click on “King Encyclopedia” in the bottom right-hand box called King Resources.
  2. Click on “Nonviolent Resistance” and read the text.
  3. Choose one of the following people, and search the internet for a piece of their writing that deals with nonviolent protest. (Suggested links are provided, but feel free to search other links. Be sure to cite the link you decide to use).
  4. Skim through the documents and find one paragraph that deals with nonviolent protest or civil disobedience. Answer the following question:
      Evaluate the Source
    • What sort of document have you found? (Is it a letter? Book? Speech?) When was it written? How might that information matter?
    • How well do you think the document represents the views of the person you’re investigating? Why might you need to consult other documents in order to get a clearer picture?
      Examining Nonviolence
    • How does the author justify nonviolence in the paragraph you’ve chosen?
    • How might this writing have influenced Martin Luther King, Jr. and the organizers of the Montgomery Bus Boycott?
    • What additional information did you learn about the ideas and philosophy of nonviolence?
Alternative 2: Broadening the Inquiry— Who was involved in the Civil Rights Movement?
  1. The sites below contain dozens of oral histories of Civil Rights activists. Choose one oral history, skim through it, and pick one or two topics to focus on and read carefully. Answer the questions below.
  2. Examining the Civil Rights Movement
    • Who is the person interviewed? How did the person first become involved in the movement? What role did they play in the movement?
    • When was the interview conducted? Did the person seem to remember events with detail? Which stories seemed most important to the person? How could you tell?
    • What new information about the Civil Rights Movement did you gain from reading this oral history? What background knowledge do you need to have to understand the oral history?
    • How did this person’s story fit with other accounts you have read about these events? Include examples in your answer.
  3. Examining Oral Histories
      Skim through it, pick one or two topics to focus on, and answer the following questions.
    • How does the second person’s involvement in the Civil Right’s Movement compare to the first person’s?
    • Compare the pacing of the two interviews: did each person speak in long paragraphs or in short sentences? Did the interviewer have to ask many questions in one of the interviews but not the other? Did one person remember more details than the other?
    • What are the benefits of using oral histories to learn about a period of history? What are some of the drawbacks?