Bell Ringers
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By sunshinecavalluzzi
On January 4, 2019

Bell Ringer: Civil Rights

"That's Where We Began to Raise Our People Up" - Birmingham, Selma, and Giving President Johnson Some Power

Civil Rights Movement activist and political leader Andrew Young, speaking at a 50th Anniversary commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "Mountaintop" speech, recounts Dr. King's release from Birmingham jail and the Selma march.


The broad umbrella term "civil rights" refers to legal protections founded in a commitment to equality, or the right to be free from discriminatory treatment (as opposed to "civil liberties," which refers to personal freedoms, generally guaranteed by the Bill of Rights). The Thirteenth, Fourteenth, Fifteenth, and Twenty-Fourth Amendments all provide civil rights guarantees, as did notable legislation such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Civil Rights Act of 1968, and the Education Amendments Act of 1972 (which includes Title IX). While the term "Civil Rights Movement" typically refers specifically to the organized endeavors of African-Americans to achieve equal treatment, civil rights efforts have also notably been undertaken by women, members of minority ethnic and religious groups, the LGBTQ community, persons with disabilities, and senior citizens.

Bell Ringer Assignment

  • Why and how were African-American activists trying to "Give President Johnson power" via the Selma march, according to Andrew Young? What event(s) indicated their success or lack thereof?
  • How, according to Paul Chavez, was Cesar Chavez's activism influenced by Dr. King's philosophies?
  • What's a past civil rights movement that has influenced you personally? How has it done so?
  • AP Government- Questions to Consider: How are the main ideas of Letter from a Birmingham Jail reflected in the civil rights activism of groups other than African-Americans? What are the political implications of the passage of the Voting Rights Act? How did the Brown v. Board of Education decision reflect a civil rights struggle and influence subsequent civil rights activism?

Additional Resources



    • Activism
    • Cesar Chavez
    • Civil Rights
    • Civil Rights Act
    • Civil Rights Movement
    • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
    • Selma March
    • Supreme Court
    • Voting Rights Act
    • Women


    AP U.S. Government Key TermsCivil Rights & Civil LibertiesU.S. History


    Middle SchoolHigh School