Standing Up Against Oppression for Black History Month

February is Black History Month. This year’s theme is “Black Resistance”. Each February, we celebrate the achievements of African Americans and recognize their central role in this nation’s history. Throughout history, African Americans have been faced with many forms of oppression. And throughout history, African Americans have found ways to resist this oppression, whether it’s with sit-ins, boycotts, walk outs, and strikes. You can learn more about this year’s theme for Black History Month at the Association for the Study of African American Life and History’s website.

There are many novels that depict times throughout the Civil Rights Movement when African Americans stood up against oppression. One such novel is The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963. This story follows the Watson family and their trip down to Birmingham, Alabama to visit with family. While there, the family from Flint, Michigan confronts fear, violence and racism. The novel concludes with the tragic true events of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing that took place on Sunday, September 15th in 1963.

Research this bombing and how it affected the Civil Rights Movement and racial segregation. Write a paragraph of 250 words that contain the information you learn through your research. How many people were injured in this attack? Include the names of the four victims whose lives were lost. What was the reaction at the time? Was there justice in 1963, and were the bombers punished? After you have done your research, imagine what a newspaper might print after the bombing of the church that was fueled by racism. Write a headline, include a quote, and illustrate the cover of your fictional newspaper.

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