Civil Rights—Our Global Lineage
Curriculum Summary

Brief Description

Civil Rights—Our Global Lineage is a one semester course for High School students (9th grade emphasis) in the course coded area of Critical Thinking.
The goal of the course is to build empathy in students by inspiring them to think and talk about why and how to pursue the greater good of global civil rights, and illuminating how such a pursuit allows us all to enjoy the fruits of a more equal society. The course is
based on the nonviolent philosophy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and also introduces ideas and practices of other human rights activists around the globe from the 1800s to the present day. Students will examine these legacies over the course of five units, each of which is organized around a pillar of the natural law foundations of international human rights: freedom, perseverance, hope, justice, and conscience. The units will explore how people around the world have understood these terms in different time periods, leading us to think deeply about and discuss what we believe these words mean in the 21st century.
A key component of this course is to consider how recent developments in digital technology have afforded unprecedented opportunities for individuals to make a difference. We will learn how tools ranging from social media, to crowd sourcing and mapping have enabled ordinary people and charities to bring about change in their own neighborhoods and across the globe. These tools connect us with networks of people from around the world. Of course, digital tools can be instruments of tremendous good and terrible harm. In this class, we will consider and debate methods for maximizing their use for good.
In this course, timeless principles intermingle with revolutionary technologies, allowing for an intensely relevant discussion of modern ways to achieve change in our world. The course encourages students to follow in the footsteps of Dr. King and become promoters of human rights – at home and around the world.

Educational Standards

  • Satisfies all Common Core Standards for English Language Arts/Literacy in History
  • Satisfies all National Council of Social Studies Standards (NCCSS)
  • Satisfies all Tennessee Social Studies Practices (SSP)
  • Satisfies all relevant Tennessee African-American History (AAH) Standards
  • Features original interviews and commentary by Ambassador Andrew Young
  • Content supported by Georgia PBS documentary titled “A Higher Law”

Benefits for Instruction

  • Course can be implemented into any school scenario and taught by any instructor of any qualification.
  • Course can be “scripted” or teacher modified to fit specific classroom needs.
  • Course will educate students on the values of other cultures, diversity, and equality.
  • Course is digitally presented so the teacher can be a facilitator or an instructor.

Benefits for Schools

  • Will fulfill a graduation requirement in the area of Critical Thinking.
  • Schools can use it for Character Development as it contains a cornerstone assignment—Empathy Tree.
  • Course can be taught “as is” for critical thinking or used as supplemental material for specific classes.
  • If used as supplemental material, the course can be modified for Middle School students.
  • Adds a technology dimension to school curricula—SACS requirement.
  • Encourages young people to become better citizens.

Instructional Methods & Resources

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