Legal Strategies

  • Simple Justice 4: Arguing the Fourteenth Amendment

    In 1896, the Supreme Court ruled that segregated public facilities did not violate the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection clause. Forty-eight years later, the Court reconsidered that argument in Brown v. Board of Education. This video segment from American Experience: "Simple Justice" captures the complexity of the issues before the Court.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Simple Justice 5: Marshall's Closing Statement

    In this video segment, NAACP attorney Thurgood Marshall summarizes the reasons why the Supreme Court should outlaw segregation in public education. Brown v. Board of Education would become the most important civil rights case of the twentieth century.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Simple Justice 6: Justice Warren Reads the Decision

    When Brown v. Board of Education was first heard in 1952, the Supreme Court was so divided that the justices rescheduled the case. Two years later, on May 17, 1954, the Court ruled unanimously that segregated schools were unconstitutional. This video segment from American Experience: "Simple Justice" examines the individual justices, key events and issues for the Court, and how the jurists arrived at their final decision.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Strategies for an Equal Education: Lesson Plan | Percy Julian

    Examine inequality in education for African Americans in the 20th century, review the Fourteenth Amendment, and identify and examine strategies used to overcome discrimination—from the NOVA program Percy Julian: Forgotten Genius.

    Grades: 6-13+
  • Freedom Riders: The Student Leader

    In this video segment from the American Experience: "Freedom Riders" Web site, watch interviews and newsreel footage and see archival photos to learn about the early efforts of a prominent student leader of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Diane Nash, a young Chicago native, was attending Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, when she was introduced to nonviolent direct action. She quickly became an influential student activist through her leadership of sit-ins in Nashville, her participation in the Freedom Rides, and her role in founding the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Selma Campaign. This resource is part of the American Experience: Freedom Riders collection

    This video includes language that is considered offensive. However, it provides authentic documentation of the bigotry of the era.

    Grades: 6-12