Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Time to Speak

Essential Questions
  • When is the right time to take action and/or speak up?
  • What can we learn from the past to help us be better citizens today?
  • What does it mean to be an ally? Can an individual really make a difference?
  • How has being an activist changed over time?

On Sunday, Sept. 15, 1963, four young girls—Addie Mae Collins (14), Denise McNair (11), Carole Robertson (14) and Cynthia Wesley (14)—were attending Sunday school at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala. They died—and several others were injured—when a bomb blast ripped through the church. The bomb had been placed there by four Ku Klux Klan members.

The next day, Charles Morgan, a young white lawyer and activist, gave a powerful speech at Birmingham’s Young Men's Business Club. “We are a mass of intolerance and bigotry, and stand indicted before our young,” he said. Morgan also said: “Every person in this community who has in any way contributed during the past several years to the popularity of hatred is at least as guilty as the demented fool who threw the bomb.”

Studuents will:
  • Assess when is the right time to take action or to speak up
  • Make connections between modern events and issues that are directly tied to past events
  • Understand the significance of the bombing at the 16th Street Baptist Church and of Morgan’s speech as part of the civil rights movement

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