Music of the Civil Rights Era arose from several different styles of music, most notably gospel, folk, blues, and jazz. What did these different styles offer? How did they combine to form music that was completely new?
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A Monumental History

A Monumental History

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Monuments designed to honor places, events, or people stand in public places across the United States. Some, such as the Lincoln Memorial and the Statue of Liberty, are classic icons. Others, such as the 2,000-pound African Killer Bee located in Hidalgo, Texas, are less than traditional. Monuments are often controversial. What is honorable to one person may be offensive to another. Also, the meanings of monuments change as the culture around them evolves. What do...

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It can sometimes be hard to recognize racial inequality when it doesn’t directly affect you. Take a look at the statistics relating to your own school and see if anything surprised you.

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Planning a Boycott

From Boycotts, Strikes, and Marches

Segregated buses and trains were only one of the ways whites discriminated against African Americans in the Jim Crow South. A boycott is the act of refusing to buy, use, or participate in something as a form of protest. Why didn’t the African American community use boycotts more often in their fight against segregation?

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For as long as there has been a United States, there have been debates about civil rights. What civil rights issues are people concerned about today? Let’s find out!



Skipping Stones Honor Award 2022

Skipping Stones Award Seal

Booklist Continuing Series Nonfiction Showcase
"The Civil Rights Era series seeks to introduce middle school students to influential individuals who figured prominently in the struggle for civil rights. Engaging biographies, usually five per volume, provide detailed looks at subjects’ lives, motivations, contributions, and legacies. Each book’s unique introduction sets the political and social scene with pages filled with graphics (time lines, fact boxes, photos, reproductions, posters, album covers) and short paragraphs highlighted in blocks of color and set off by different fonts. Insets offer quotes, open-ended questions (what’s the big idea, how would this make you feel, what might you have done), and QR codes that link to news stories, speeches, music, and other primary sources. Important vocabulary words are defined in a comprehensive glossary, and additional back matter includes a list of resources and a selected bibliography. Singing for Equality profiles such musicians as Bob Dylan, Mavis Staples and the Staple Singers, Sam Cooke, James Brown, and Nina Simone. Sitting In, Standing Up spotlights leaders, including Thurgood Marshall, Fannie Lou Hamer, Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X (who are covered in one chapter), John Lewis, and Ella Baker. There is necessarily some overlap in coverage, but the revisited material comes across as reinforcement as opposed to repetition. Overall, these volumes provide accessible entries into a complex period."

School Library Journal
Gr 6-9–"This collective biography spotlights five iconic musicians whose careers influenced the Civil Rights Movement. Each chapter discusses the highlights of the artist’s career, how their music impacted the quest for equal rights, and how the era affected their careers. Bob Dylan, Mavis Staples and the Staple Singers, Sam Cooke, James Brown, and Nina Simone were prominent figures in the time period and galvanized change in small and large measures. The chapters are easy to read and provide an accessible narrative. The text includes bright colors and many photographs. QR codes link to YouTube videos that feature songs of each singer and offer questions to keep readers thinking. Activities and projects listed at the end of each chapter help to extend classroom discussion. A table of contents, a glossary, an index, and further reading are included. The layout and design features are almost like a textbook. VERDICT This title will appeal to young readers who want to further their interest in music or the civil rights era. A worthwhile purchase."

Children’s Literature
“The writing is breezy and conversational and encourage active participation through research activities, QR codes linking to YouTube videos, and “Wonder Why” questions that allow readers to make connections to their own lives and experiences. Although the narrative is engaging enough for pleasure reading, the format lends itself well to browsing, with quote pullouts, textboxes, timelines, primary source photos, and lists.

Praise for other titles by Diane C. Taylor

The Renaissance Artists: With History Projects for Kids
Booklist STARRED Review
"This is a wonderfully enticing introduction to the Renaissance via the lives of five artists: Michelangelo, da Vinci, Titian, Botticelli, and Raphael. An accessible introduction offers a concise overview of just what exactly the Renaissance was, establishing social and historical context, and then five chapters explore the contributions and lasting impact of each painter. The heavily illustrated text covers basic biographical information—family background, training, relationships (including sexual orientation), even personal appearance and grooming.  This appealing package will attract browsers and be a boon to student researchers and their teachers."

Gutsy Girls Go For Science: Engineers With Stem Projects for Kids
School Library Journal Series Made Simple
"These sprightly biography anthologies spotlight five women whose curiosity and determination led them to break barriers and change perceptions. QR codes support information relayed in time lines, archive photos, reflective questions, sidebars, and pull quotes. The codes are used to their very best effect, sending readers to news reports, archival video, websites, TEDx talks, and even a webcomic. Each link is listed in the backmatter. The five or six activities per book range from simple observation to rather involved projects and forgo detailed instructions, instead encouraging readers to make choices and assemble materials and create their own challenges. Engineers is a standout for showcasing little-known stories like water safety pioneer Ellen Swallow Richards, while Programmers has the best activities and uses real programming tools. VERDICT: A holistic approach incorporating personal stories, history, and STEM content."

Detailed Book Description

Singing for Equality: Musicians of the Civil Rights Era introduces middle graders to the history of the Civil Rights Movement and explores the vital role that music played in the tumultuous period of American history during the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s.

The heart of the Civil Rights Movement beats in the music and musicians of the times, whose work was both an inspiration and a reflection of the changes happening in America and to its people. Bob Dylan, Mavis Staples and the Staple Singers, Nina Simone, Sam Cooke, and James Brown all epitomized the passion and commitment shown by those involved in the movement, and portrayed the struggles encountered by an entire race of people with gritty beauty and moving calls to action and thought.

Hands-on projects about social justice issues alongside essential questions, links to online resources, and text-to-world connections promote a profound understanding of history and offer opportunities for social-emotional learning.

Try these critical and creative thinking projects!

  • Compare music now to music then
  • Write your own lyrics
  • Deconstruct songs
Available In:
Paperback, $15.95
Hardcover, $22.95
Includes: Table of Contents | Timeline | Glossary | Resources | Index
Specs: 8 x 10 size | 4-color interior | 112 pages
Subject: Social Studies
Content Focus: U.S. History


Feel the Beat

Chapter One
Bob Dylan
The Times They Are A-Changin’

Chapter Two
Mavis Staples and the Staple Singers
The Gospel of the Civil Rights Movement

Chapter Three
Nina Simone
How Would It Feel to Be Free?

Chapter Four
Sam Cooke
Change Gonna’ Come

Chapter Five
James Brown
Black and Proud

Selected Bibliography