“We Shall Over Come”-MLK

The Civil Rights Movement is a significant part of history that shaped the way we live today. I think out of all the units we have covered, the Civil Rights Movement was the most interesting to me. I think mainly because it was a time period that involved so many brave individuals, such as Martin Luther King, the Freedom Riders, Mamie Till, and more. We followed the timeline of the 1950’s and 60’s. Like always we had a driving question to keep us on track. 

“How can the actions of an individual change a system?”

Now for this project I worked with Isobel. Our video had to connect to historical, modern and a Canadian individual. In our video we used the idea of how an individual can impact a society, and even have a contribution to the Civil Rights Movement. In our video we use the term

, we believe that for a system to be changed, the un sugarcoated truth needs to be revealed.

If individuals had sugar coated these groundbreaking moments, would the Civil Rights Movement have still advanced?

Let’s find out…



To rewind a little, I will talk about the learning that I did to get to my final understanding of the question. In our last until we discovered the 1950’s and in this unit, we kept following the timeline.

Through out this unit, we have covered a lot of the ground breaking moments. We didn’t just learn about these events, to really push our learning we had to connect these events together. We started off by learning about the Rosa Parks bus boycott. 

Rosa Parks 1955
Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to white man on a Montgomery city bus. Rosa sparked the bus boycott. By not giving up her seat, it helped end segregation on public buses.

Rosa Parks was one of the first sparks of the civil rights movement. By not giving up her seat sparked the sparked the movement. We also looked into Cauldette Colvin, another bus boycott. We looked into the similarities and the differences between the two events. Something that surprised me was the fact that Cauldette  had refused too give up her seat before Rosa Parks. The reason Rosa Parks Boycott became popular is because she was a good symbol for the civil rights movement. Rosa was educated and wealthy. The difference for Cauldette Colvin was that she was only 15 years old and also pregnant. Implying that she wouldn’t be a good “role model”. The movement leaders thought that people would focus more on the pregnancy than what she actually did. It showed me that the Civil Rights Movement was more planned out than I thought it was.

Claudette Colvin
Claudette Colvin was known as a pioneer of the civil rights movement. Claudette refused to give up her seat on a public bus to a white women, nine months before Rosa Parks did the same thing.Claudette argued that it was her "constitutional right".

This was pretty much the first topic that we had looked into that really changed a type of system, the bus system. After the boycott, African Americans refused to take the bus until they were granted equal seating rights. 

From the bus boycott I realized that that was only the beginning of the civil rights movement and there were many more events that took place, such as Little Rock Nine and the desegregation of schools. 



As I mentioned earlier in the video we had to connect the topic to a contemporary event. I think it was important to look at modern events because it is important to not be in a little bubble, but to be oblivious that racism still exists today. 

We started off by reading a novel called Dear Martin by Nic Stone. This novel took place in America. Before I read the book, I didn’t quite realize that racism is still a big problem today. The novel made me think about what I can do to educate others about the issues that are still happening today. 

To really get as much out of the book and get an understanding of it, we had to participate in a seminar every week. Not going to lie but I wasn’t too excited to start off with since we would have someone marking how much we participated. I’m not the type of person who loves saying my ideas in front of everyone. The first seminar was a little nerve racking, however I realized how chill they were. By the end of the seminars I enjoyed them! From the seminar we challenged each other’s thinking. The first seminar was ok. I think it took the class a while to be able to dissect the novel and really challenge each other. In our seminars we also talked about movies and documentaries that we had watched along the way. Something that I took away from the seminar was that by connecting all of the events we had covered, was the most effective way to learn. Each event were building blocks that followed one after another. We discussed how each event falls into one another by making historical connections and contemporary connections. I also learned from doing these seminars, how to formulate my own opinions using a resource, and to have evidence to back it up. 

I missed one of the seminars so for a make up assignment I partnered up with Hannah, and we discussed basically all the events we had encountered. A point that Hannah and I discussed was how other countries viewed America during the civil rights movement. I had never really thought about the perspectives of other countries on America. America was always known as this perfect country, “the American dream”. But my question is what do they mean? America had so many issues to do with racism that have still been carried out today, like we saw in Dear Martin. 

Similar the murdering of Manny in the novel, an event that happened in the year 2000, was a 10 year old African American, Damilola Taylor was also murdered for racial hate. I had knew about this event for a while, although I had never really looked into the case until I started to learn about the civil rights movement. 

I looked into Damilola Taylor when we were introduced to a reflection portfolio post to connect historical and contemporary events. This is where I thought that I could talk about Damilola Taylor. I then just had to find a historical event. 


Emmett Till 1955
Emmett Till lived in Mississippi when we was murdered by two white men for wold whistling at a white woman. Mamie Till, his mother decided to display the body of Emmett at his funeral. By showing the body, made African Americans realize what the white people were capable of. Mamie encouraged people to be more vocal. Emmett Till's death was the opening to the civil rights movement.

Just like Damilola, Emmett Till was murdered for racial hate. Something that I found really interesting about both events is they wouldn’t have been as popular if the parents for the kids hadn’t said anything. Before Emmett was murdered, there had been so many other horrible murders that didn’t make the media, because they had been altered or pushed under the covers. This is where the idea sparked that if people don’t unsugar coat these events, people will realize change needs to happen. The mother of Emmett Till, Mamie had spoken out about Emmetts death and at the funeral she had even shown the body of Emmett for everyone to look at. I never thought that by showing people the body we have that much of an influence on people to want to change society. Connecting to Mamie Till, Richard and Gloria Taylor had advocated for their son also. I think the fact that I was able to find the connection to those events, has made me more aware and I am able to make connections to even more recent events.

Recently I watched a short documentary about an African American called “Black Sheep”. The documentary conveyed the message that racism is still a huge problem today.

To fit in he bleached his face and put in blue eye contacts just so he wouldn’t get beaten up. This was a true story and I think like we discussed in the seminars and from researching Damilola, I can conclude that racism is still a huge problem today. 



Now you are probably wondering about the video Isobel and I made, and how it connects to everything we have covered. For the video as I said earlier, we could make our own thesis to answer the overall driving question. We also had to connect a modern individual to a historical and Canadian individual. Isobel and I did some brain storming and then we realized that we both did a similar topic for our reflection post. We decided to go the idea of by un sugarcoating events, it can reveal the imperfections in society. We ended up using Damilola Taylor, Emmett Till and Carrie Best (the Canadian).  I had never quite realized that the reason Emmett Till’s death was so significant was because it was publicized. I think that was my take away from this unit, for something to change, people need to be vocal. I can take this message away with me and use it in my life. This unit has made me open my eyes and made me be more alert to the problems in my community. 

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