Lesson Plan: Civil Rights - 1966 James Meredith March Against Fear

Civil Rights: Significance of the James Meredith March Against Fear

Author Aram Goudsouzian explains the significance of this Civil Rights movement event.


On June 5, 1966, James Meredith began his March Against Fear, the final march of the civil rights movement of the 1960s. The march began in Memphis, TN and his goal was to walk over 200 miles and end in Jackson, MS. His vision was to encourage African Americans to register and vote. As he journeyed along his path, people in communities joined him while others protested his march. Many Civil Rights organizations became involved as well. In this lesson, students will hear how the march impacted the country at that time and its significance today.


  • Step 1:

    Students may use the accompanying handout to take notes as they view the videos in this lesson and participate in class discussion.

    Handout: 1966 James Meredith March Against Fear (Google Doc)

    As a class, view the following two video clips and engage in class discussion to provide students with background information on the significance of the James Meredith March Against Fear and the Civil Rights movement, and the political progress that African Americans were experiencing in 1966.

    Video Clip 1: Civil Rights: Significance of the James Meredith March Against Fear (1:00)

    Video Clip 2: 1966 Civil Rights Activism (1:27)

  • Step 2:

    View these videos and have students respond to the accompanying questions to learn about the march, the evolution of black power and the reactions among people around the country.

    Video Clip 3: Civil Rights: March Against Fear (5:22)

    Aram Goudsouzian explains the events that unfolded during the march and how people around the country reacted.

    1. Describe James Meredith's background and accomplishments.

    2. Explain Meredith's ambitions for his March Against Fear.

    3. Describe what happened along the march.

    4. How did people around the country react?

    Video Clip 4: 1966: Civil Rights Groups and Black Power (8:20)

    Aram Goudsouzian explains how the march was shaped among Civil Rights groups in 1966 and how events unfolded.

    1. Explain the significance of the meeting that occurred among Civil Rights groups at the Lorraine Hotel in 1966.

    2. Why did the march divert from its initial route through MS?

    3. Describe the rally that took place in Greenwood.

    4. Explain the frustrations and aspirations that were part of the Black Power movement.

    5. Describe the tensions that occurred regarding the march and the Black Power movement.

    6. Explain what occurred at the elementary school where the marchers had set up camp.

    7. Describe the rally that occurred in Jackson, MS, the final stop in the march.
  • Step 3:

    View the video clip below as a class and discuss the impact the March Against Fear had on the Civil Rights movement and its relevance today. Students should generate connections to current issues affecting the country and how people coalesce to respond to them in different ways.

    Video Clip 5: Legacy of the 1966 March Against Fear (2:17)

  • Step 4:

    Culminating Activity:

    Have students select an activity below to demonstrate their understanding of the March Against Fear and its legacy.

    1. Select an event that occurred during the march and as a journalist, write a newspaper article detailing what happened.

    2. Use Snapchat to create an image with text that illustrates an event from the march.

    3. Select a current issue for which you would like to advocate change. Explain your reasoning and develop your own plan on how you will grow awareness to make an impact.

Additional Resources


  • Alliance
  • Aspiration
  • Civil Rights Act
  • Freedom Summer
  • Jim Crow
  • Lobby
  • Lyndon Johnson
  • Mobilization
  • National Association For The Advancement Of Colored People
  • Reconstruction
  • Segregation
  • Slogan
  • Southern Christian Leadership Conference
  • Stokely Carmichael
  • Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee
  • Urban League
  • Voting Rights Act


Civil Rights & Civil LibertiesState HistoryU.S. History


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