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The Language of Protest

Often called the "voice of the unheard", political protest is a fundamental right in free society. This collection explores the language of protest and its impact with a particular focus on music, slogans, speeches, and the printed word.  These resources contextualize peaceful and violent protest across the world and through history.  Add to this collection with the key word PROTEST.

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The 2018 National School Walkouts & the Rhetoric of Student Protests
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In this lesson, students will analyze and compare the rhetorical choices used to achieve a variety of purposes in two speeches written and delivered by high school students following the February, 14, 2018, school shooting in Parkland, Florida. This lesson asks you to consider the rhetorical strategies used Lily Lehman from Durham, NC, and Emma Gonzalez from Parkland, Florida, to persuade their audience to push for meaningful gun reform. Student speakers expertly used rhetoric to craft speeches for a variety of occasions, audiences, and purposes. Students will also explore the importance of speech delivery and how a speech’s “performance” can affect its audience and purpose. Finally, students will discuss how social media can encourage and enable young people to organize, protest, and contribute to real world meaningful change. 

Subject:
Composition and Rhetoric
U.S. History
Material Type:
Homework/Assignment
Lecture Notes
Lesson Plan
Primary Source
Reading
Author:
NHC Education
Savannah Windham
Date Added:
04/18/2020
African American Protest Poetry
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Given the secondary position of persons of African descent throughout their history in America, it could reasonably be argued that all efforts of creative writers from that group are forms of protest. The intention of protest literature was—and remains—to show inequalities among races and socio-economic groups in America and to encourage a transformation in the society that engenders such inequalities. For African Americans, that inequality began with slavery. How, in a country that professed belief in an ideal democracy, could one group of persons enslave another? What forms of moral persuasion could be used to get them to see the error of their ways? How could white Americans justify Jim Crow, inequalities in education, housing, jobs, accommodation, transportation, and a host of other things? In response to these “hows,” another “how” emerged. How could writers use their imaginations and pens to bring about change in the society? Protest literature, therefore, focused on such issues and worked to rectify them. Poetry is but one of the media through which writers address such issues, as there are forms of protest fiction, drama, essays, and anything else that African Americans wrote—and write.

Subject:
American Literature
English Language Arts
History
U.S. History
Material Type:
Lesson
Reading
Provider:
National Humanities Center
Provider Set:
TeacherServe
Author:
Trudier Harris
Date Added:
04/29/2010
"Alright:" Using allusions to interpret and compose protest songs
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Students analyze "Alright" alongside documents about the Black Lives Matter movement to consider why it might have been adopted by some protesters as an anthem. Although the song uses many rhetorical and lyrical strategies to accomplish its effects, we will focus on the way allusions operate. In the second part of the lesson, students compose their own protest lyrics (part of a larger project) and strategically use allusions to affect listeners in specific ways (educate them, call them to action, document the writer's experience, and/or galvanize protesters). The lesson is constructed as a reader's and writer's workshop.

Subject:
Composition and Rhetoric
Reading Literature
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Homework/Assignment
Lesson
Lesson Plan
Primary Source
Reading
Author:
Laura Jones
Date Added:
07/13/2021
American Abolitionism and Religion
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The cause of immediate emancipation, as the abolitionists came to define it, had a different germ of inspiration from those Enlightenment ideals that Jefferson had articulated: the rise of a fervent religious reawakening just as the new Republic was being created. That impulse sprang from two main sources: the theology and practice of Quakerism and the emergence of an aggressive, interdenominational evangelicalism. Both movements arose in England and America during the Age of Enlightenment—the eighteenth century. The pietism of the Quakers, a radically egalitarian Protestant sect, asserted the love of God for every human being, regardless of color, sex, or station in life.

Subject:
Arts and Humanities
History
Religious Studies
U.S. History
Material Type:
Lesson
Reading
Provider:
National Humanities Center
Provider Set:
TeacherServe
Author:
Bertram Wyatt-Brown
Date Added:
04/29/2008
Apocalypticism in American Culture
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Americans have long evinced a fascination with the end of time and the role that they would play in such an apocalypse. More often, apocalyptic ideas have issued in the expectation that human history might screech to a halt at any moment and dissolve into some kind of apocalyptic judgment. Protestant Christians have been especially susceptible to these schemes, especially the more conservative Protestants known as evangelicals, because of their inclination to read the Bible literally. They have tended to focus on the New Testament book of Revelation as well as the book of Daniel in the Hebrew Bible. Both texts are replete with imagery and allegory that would strike most casual readers as downright bizarre, but many Christians throughout American history have expended untold energies trying to fit these writings into an interpretive framework for understanding the end of time.

Subject:
Arts and Humanities
History
Religious Studies
U.S. History
Material Type:
Lesson
Reading
Provider:
National Humanities Center
Provider Set:
TeacherServe
Author:
Randall Balmer
Date Added:
04/29/2008
The Arab Spring Investigative Report 10 Years Later: Opportunities for teens and young adults?
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The Arab Spring Investigative Report; What are the opportunities for teens and young adults 10 years later?You are an investigative reporter gathering important information on the Arab Spring. The article you are writing tells your readers about its success or failure over the past decade. What will you share with others about its impact on teens and young adults in today’s Middle East? 

Subject:
Economics
Political Science
World History
Material Type:
Assessment
Diagram/Illustration
Primary Source
Simulation
Author:
Thomas Steinfeld
Date Added:
11/17/2021
Art and Vaccine Equity
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Students will read about global vaccine equity and explore the difference between equity and equality. They will examine various examples of social justice art to gain an understanding of what makes an effective visual statement.  Students will conduct a community needs assessment related to mental health accessibility and create artwork to raise awareness or create change related to their research.

Subject:
Visual Arts
Material Type:
Unit of Study
Author:
Diane Gallo
Date Added:
08/31/2021
The Art of Revolution: Tunisia, Egypt, and Syria
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This seminar explores the historical contexts leading to the eruption of the uprisings known as the Arab Spring in early 2011. After a brief introduction to politics in Tunisia, Egypt, and Syria, we turn to the flowering of music, art, graffiti, poetry, film, and digital media that gave expression to the revolutionary unrest. This seminar looks at how this cultural production functioned as a catalyst for political change, as art flourished as the authoritarian state’s censorship on political and artistic expression broke down. The second part of the seminar turns to the aftermath of the revolutions and the democratic processes and movements that emerged out of the Arab Spring. We focus on the influence of religion, religious parties, and religious movements in Tunisia, Egypt, and Syria—in the post-uprising elections, governments, and constitutions. Although the 2011 uprisings initially seemed to be lit by the same spark, they had very different outcomes in these different cases.

Subject:
Art History
Arts and Humanities
Ethnic Studies
History
Performing Arts
Social Science
Visual Arts
World History
Material Type:
Lecture
Provider:
National Humanities Center
Provider Set:
Humanities in Class: Webinar Series
Author:
Ellen Anne McLarney
Date Added:
10/12/2017
Beyond Civil Rights: Dr. Martin Luther King’s Activism in the 1960s Clip #1—King's Radical Citizenship
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Clip 1/4. The work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is largely taught in the context of the Civil Rights Movement. Students are familiar with the iconic events of in Washington D.C., Selma, and Birmingham. However, we focus less on his dedication to other causes, including the anti-Vietnam War activism and the Poor People’s Campaign. Historian Peniel Joseph provides insights in Dr. King’s work in addition to his leadership in the fight for Civil Rights.

Subject:
Ethnic Studies
History
Social Science
U.S. History
Material Type:
Lecture
Provider:
National Humanities Center
Provider Set:
Humanities in Class: Webinar Series
Author:
Peniel Joseph
Date Added:
11/16/2021
Beyond Civil Rights: Dr. Martin Luther King’s Activism in the 1960s Clip #2—Radical and Revolutionary King
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Clip 2/4. The work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is largely taught in the context of the Civil Rights Movement. Students are familiar with the iconic events of in Washington D.C., Selma, and Birmingham. However, we focus less on his dedication to other causes, including the anti-Vietnam War activism and the Poor People’s Campaign. Historian Peniel Joseph provides insights in Dr. King’s work in addition to his leadership in the fight for Civil Rights.

Subject:
Ethnic Studies
History
Social Science
U.S. History
Material Type:
Lecture
Provider:
National Humanities Center
Provider Set:
Humanities in Class: Webinar Series
Author:
Peniel Joseph
Date Added:
11/16/2021
Beyond Civil Rights: Dr. Martin Luther King’s Activism in the 1960s Clip #3—Q&A
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Clip 3/4. The work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is largely taught in the context of the Civil Rights Movement. Students are familiar with the iconic events of in Washington D.C., Selma, and Birmingham. However, we focus less on his dedication to other causes, including the anti-Vietnam War activism and the Poor People’s Campaign. Historian Peniel Joseph provides insights in Dr. King’s work in addition to his leadership in the fight for Civil Rights.

Subject:
Ethnic Studies
History
Social Science
U.S. History
Material Type:
Lecture
Provider:
National Humanities Center
Provider Set:
Humanities in Class: Webinar Series
Author:
Peniel Joseph
Date Added:
11/16/2021
Beyond Civil Rights: Dr. Martin Luther King’s Activism in the 1960s Clip #4—On Critical Race Theory
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Clip 4/4. The work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is largely taught in the context of the Civil Rights Movement. Students are familiar with the iconic events of in Washington D.C., Selma, and Birmingham. However, we focus less on his dedication to other causes, including the anti-Vietnam War activism and the Poor People’s Campaign. Historian Peniel Joseph provides insights in Dr. King’s work in addition to his leadership in the fight for Civil Rights.

Subject:
Ethnic Studies
History
Social Science
U.S. History
Material Type:
Lecture
Provider:
National Humanities Center
Provider Set:
Humanities in Class: Webinar Series
Author:
Peniel Joseph
Date Added:
11/16/2021
Beyond Civil Rights: Dr. Martin Luther King’s Activism in the 1960s (webinar resources)
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The work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is largely taught in the context of the Civil Rights Movement. Students are familiar with the iconic events of in Washington D.C., Selma, and Birmingham. However, we focus less on his dedication to other causes, including the anti-Vietnam War activism and the Poor People’s Campaign. Historian Peniel Joseph provides insights in Dr. King’s work in addition to his leadership in the fight for Civil Rights.

Subject:
Ethnic Studies
U.S. History
Material Type:
Primary Source
Reading
Author:
Andy Mink
NHC Education
Date Added:
11/16/2021
Beyond the Legend: Cesar Chavez and the Farm Workers Movement
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In September 1962, the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA) convened its first convention in Fresno, California, initiating a movement that would result in the creation of United Farm Workers and the first contracts for farm workers in the state of California in 1970. Led by Cesar Chavez, the union contributed a number of innovations to the art of social protest, including the most successful consumer boycott in the history of the United States. By the mid-1970s, the United Farm Workers pursued justice within the boundaries of a state law, the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act in 1975, and the implementation of state-monitored union elections on California farms in 1976. In spite of these triumphs, Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers lost their way by the late 1970s, never to regain the strength they enjoyed during the late 1960s and early 1970s.
In his presentation, Matt Garcia, author of From the Jaws of Victory: The Triumph and Tragedy of Cesar Chavez and the Farm Worker Movement (University of California Press, 2012), discusses the lessons from the movement and why it is important to hold Cesar Chavez accountable for its failure to achieve its primary goal: the establishment of a national farm worker union. Garcia avoids presenting Chavez as an apotheosized saint prevalent in most other renditions of this history. Rather, Garcia reveals him to be a man subject to emotions and impulses that shape all of us. His presentation explores the consequences of more than forty years of Chavez hagiography and why we need to begin exploring the complexities of his character and the union he lead. Ultimately Garcia argues for a new look at this history that contributes to a stronger, more accountable food justice movement today.

Subject:
History
U.S. History
Material Type:
Lecture
Provider:
National Humanities Center
Provider Set:
Humanities in Class: Webinar Series
Date Added:
02/24/2022
Black Lives Matter: An Introduction for Young People
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This lesson includes 8 introductory videos, and a few supporting materials. It was developed during the emergency learning period and in the days following the uprising in response to the police murder of George Floyd.

Subject:
History
U.S. History
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Provider:
UC Berkeley History-Social Science Project
Author:
Brianna Padilla
Date Added:
01/05/2020
The Black Panther Party - Survival for Revolution
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The Black Panther Party survival programs, namely the free breakfast program, were instrumental in furthering the organization’s objectives. The survival programs served as a powerful recruiting tool and helped to meet the basic needs of community members so that they could focus on the larger goals of peace, justice, freedom, and self-determination.

Subject:
Civics
Ethnic Studies
History
Social Science
U.S. History
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Provider:
UC Berkeley History-Social Science Project
Author:
Meg Honey
Date Added:
01/05/2016
Book 3, Transformation. Chapter 6, Lesson 1: Artists Protest Mccarthyism
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This lesson focuses on McCarthyism, the Red Scare, and how artists were targeted by HUAC during the Cold War. Students will view several government-produced "educational" films and television interviews from the 1950s, and will participate in a group reading of HUAC's interrogations of Seeger and Hays, discussing how activist artists championed the civil liberties of American citizens.

Subject:
Arts and Humanities
Performing Arts
Material Type:
Full Course
Provider:
TeachRock
Date Added:
04/15/2020