Other Civil Rights Movements

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The Basics

Subject Area and/or Course Title:

 United States History Since 1877


Targeted Grade Level:



Time Required:

 One 45 minute and one 100 minute class period during the second semester


Related Standards:

Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS)



Dawn Kotecki (2015)


Introductory Narrative to Lesson:

The two lessons will be taught during the unit on Civil Rights. These lessons will be taught in part 3 of this unit—Other Civil Rights Movements. Prior to these two lessons, students will have covered the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., non-violent protests, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, KS (1954), the March on Washington, Selma, etc. They will also have learned about the Black Panthers and other more militant leaders. These lessons will be part of the third part of this unit, which looks at the expanding civil rights movements for other groups, such as Hispanics, Women, etc. These two lessons focus on Hispanics, specifically the Chavez Ravine incident. Students will have been exposed to the integration of music into their lessons from the beginning of the school year. Integrating music into these lessons will once again, personalize the lessons, showing students what happened to the Hispanic, primarily Mexican American, families at the hands of the city of Los Angeles. The song, “3rd Base Dodger Stadium” will illustrate the plight of the residents forced out of their homes, showing how political events can inspire artists to take a stand on the issues. The other song, “It’s Just Work For Me,” will show how it was really nothing personal between the men hired to drive the bulldozers to plow down the homes in Chavez Ravine and the residents.

Lessons in Context.

The Civil Rights unit, a four-part unit, examines the issues of emerging rights for minorities and the leaders and critical events of the modern 20th century civil rights movement. Part 1 explores the beginning of the Civil Rights movement; Part 2 examines the changing Civil Rights movement; Part 3 looks at other movements for expanding civil rights; and in Part 4 students study the influence of LBJ and the Great Society. The two Civil Rights lessons will be taught in Part 3.


Instructional Goals or Objectives:

Essential Questions and Understandings

  • Civil Rights
    Generally, the individual rights of minorities are often limited when compared with majority populations and one role of government is to balance the protection of the rights of minorities with the will of the majority.
    • How do discrimination and prejudice impact rights and freedoms experienced by minority groups? Cite specific examples to support your thinking.
    • What is the government’s role in expanding opportunities for equality for minorities [including racial/ethnic groups and women]?
    • The struggle for civil rights affects numerous different groups.
      How has the fight for civil rights been both similar and different in various minority groups?
    • At what point does a minority group begin protesting for civil rights?
    • What are the cause and effects of protesting for civil rights?
  • Student-Friendly Objectives—Civil Rights
    • I can describe how organizations like the United Farm Workers, the National Organization for Women [NOW], and the American Indian Movement [AIM] contributed to expanded civil rights for Hispanics, women and [American] Indians.
    • I can tell how Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta, Hector P. Garcia, Betty Friedan and others were significant leaders and brought about change in legal and civil rights for minorities.


Procedures/Lesson Activities:

Chavez Ravine Day One (45 minutes)
Review and discuss civil rights movements.

Lesson Overview:
Over the first six decades of the 20th century, federal, state, and city policies changed the lives of the predominantly Mexican-American residents of the peaceful and unified Chavez Ravine communities of Los Angeles. In this lesson students learn how new housing laws, racial tensions, fears of communism, and economic realities combined to drive long-time residents out of the area, which became the home of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1962.

Introduction: (10 minutes)
As a whole class or in small groups, have students brainstorm all the possible meanings and synonyms for the word home, and for related concepts, such as homesick. Encourage students to think not only of meanings such as “a residence,” but also to think more broadly, such as “an individual’s city or country.” This can be completed as a simple list or in a cluster format. Ask students to specify what qualities make a place a home. Introducing New Learning: (25 minutes)

  • Students will use the “Story Behind the Song” to listen to and analyze “3rd Base Dodger Stadium” by Ry Cooder.
  • Students will discuss the song with their table mates, then we will discuss as a class.
  • Students will next watch a short video, “Chavez Ravine” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hd7YJ1FVZK0 to get a better understanding of what happened to the residents of Chavez Ravine. After listening to and analyzing the song, the video should help to clear up any confusion they might have had. Review and get student responses after the video.
  • Display the Set 1 photographs from the Daily News and Los Angeles Times in 1950 and 1951. Display the “Lil Town” photograph last. In a whole-class discussion, ask students to review the primary source documents and review the following:
    • What type of documents are these?
    • When were they created?
    • What could the purpose of the photographs have been?
    • What questions do the photographs raise?
    • Why might the residents want to stay?
    • What concerns would they have about having to sell their property?


When these questions have been answered and recorded on a chart or chalkboard, tell students that many residents accepted the buyout offer from the city housing authority, but 20 families refused to sell.


Chavez Ravine Day 2 (100 minutes)
Introduction (15 minutes)

Ask students to review the last phrase of the Fifth Amendment in the Bill of Rights: “nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.” Tell students that eminent domain is the power of government to take private property away if it is to be used for a public purpose. People whose property is taken using eminent domain should be paid or compensated a fair price. Ask students if they know what is in Chavez Ravine today. If they don’t know, tell them that Dodger Stadium stands where public housing was planned in 1950. Ask students to think about how the plans for the area were changed over time.

Students should be reminded of the song they listened to yesterday, “3rd Base Dodger Stadium”. Using the song comparison strategy, students will listen to another song from Ry Cooder’s album, “Chavez Ravine,” entitled “It’s Just Work for Me” and compare the two songs in terms of content, message, tone, and mood. Which song, do they think, best conveys the message of what happened to the residents of Chavez Ravine and why?

Guided and Independent Practice (80 Minutes)
Review these terms: Cold War, socialism, communism, and McCarthyism.
Discuss the major points:
Perspectives on the project varied widely:

Divide the class into groups of eight. Break each group of eight into two groups of four. Give one of the two flyers to each group of four students to examine. The flyers from the Roybal papers describe arguments for and against the transfer of land to the Dodgers. Ask students to indicate what type of documents these are, what the purpose of the documents was, and who produced them. They should summarize important points their assigned flyer makes about the issues. Students, back in groups of eight, should use a graphic organizer, such as a Venn Diagram, to compare the arguments used by each side of the issue. Ask students to formulate questions they have about the land transfer after they’ve read through the flyers.

Conduct a brief discussion about the difficult task faced by governments in deciding when to employ eminent domain. Ask students to consider who should benefit when the government does have to take property in this way.


Assessment and Evaluation:

Day One: Closure (5 minutes)
Ask students to write a paragraph that synthesizes from the discussion and examines why the residents of Chavez Ravine didn’t want to leave their homes even when they had been promised new housing in Elysian Park Heights

Day Two: Closure/Assessment (10 Minutes):
Ask students to write an opinion paper explaining why they believe the city did or did not treat the citizens of Chavez Ravine fairly according to the Bill of Rights and the city’s agreement. Students may wish to speculate if there were other factors that contributed to the disagreement over Chavez Ravine that might have influenced the voters, city councilmen, and the Dodgers organization. Students can use the ACES strategy to organize their thoughts. A= Assertion/Thesis, C= Cite Evidence, E= Elaborate, S= Summary/So What/Why is this Important? Assertion: The city of Los Angeles did/did not treat the citizens of Chavez Ravine fairly according to the Bill of Rights and the city’s agreement.



Adding music to the course I teach will enhance it immensely. Students love music, it is a universal language. I am certain that as I integrate music into my daily lessons, I will have more students engaged in the daily lessons, thus increasing student achievement. I am anxious to get back to school to implement the Voices Across Time strategies and integrating music into my lessons.



  • Materials Used
  • Laptops
  • Primary Source Documents and Photographs noted in the lesson
  • Padlet app
  • The HUB—Houston ISD web platform, similar to Schoology
  • Large chart paper
  • Markers


“3rd Base Dodger Stadium”

"It's Just Work For Me"                       
BIBLIOGRAPHY Secondary Sources
Binford, Henry C. “Slums.” In Paul Boyer, ed. Oxford Companion to United States History. New York: Oxford University Press. 2001.

California Biographical Dictionary, 4th ed. Volume 2. St. Clair Shores, MI: Somerset Publishers, 1998.

Gugliotta, Guy. “Dole Urges Abolition of Public Housing: Voucher Proposal Echoes Ill-Fated HUD Plan.” Washington Post. Section A, p. A5. 30 April 1996.

Hartman, Chester. Between Eminence and Notoriety: Four Decades of Radical Urban Planning. New Brunswick, NJ: Center for Urban Policy Research, Rutgers, State University of New Jersey. 2002.

Hines, Thomas S. Field of Dreams: The Battle of Chavez Ravine. Los Angeles Times. Section M, p. 1. 20 April 1997.

Klein, Norman M. The History of Forgetting: Los Angeles and the Erasure of Memory. New York: Verso. 1997.

Lang, Robert E. and Rebecca R. Sohmer. Editor’s Introduction: Legacy of the Housing Act of 1949: The Past, Present and Future of Federal Housing and Urban Policy. Housing Policy Debate, 11(2). Available:
http://Www.Fanniemaefoundation.Org/Programs/Hpd/Pdf/Hpd_1102_Edintro.Pdf Accessed on July 20, 2015.

Martinez, Sylvia C. The Housing Act of 1949: Its Place in the Realization of the American Dream of Homeownership. Housing Policy Debate, 11(2). Available: http://www.fanniemaefoundation.org/programs/hpd/pdf/hpd_1102_martinez.pdf  Accessed July 21, 2015.

Normark, Don. Chavez Ravine, 1949: A Los Angeles Story. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1999.

Potter, Lee Ann. Teaching with documents: Letter from President Lyndon B. Johnson to John Steinbeck. Social Education, 67. 196−199. 2003.

Rampersad, Arnold. Jackie Robinson: A Biography. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1997.

Tawa, Renee. “Family Album/A Profile of a Community—Its History, Joys, Trials. Field of Uprooted Dreams.” Los Angeles Times. Section E, p. 1. 11 July 1999.

Related Web Sites

American Memory. By Popular Demand: Jackie Robinson and other Baseball Highlights, 1860s to 1960s. http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/robinson/ Library of Congress. 19 October 1998. Accessed 17 July 2015.

Berner, Martha. Views and Voices from Within: The Art and Writing of Estelle Ishigo, Heart Mountain Internment Camp, 1942−1945.
http://ipr.ues.gseis.ucla.edu/classroom/IshigoPlans/mblessson/mblesson.html   Accessed 22 July 2015.

Institute on Primary Resources, University of California, Los Angeles.
Dodgers, MLB.com. Dodger Stadium.
http://losangeles.dodgers.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/la/ballpark/la_ballpark_history.jsp   Accessed 16 July 2015
Hill, G. and Hill, K. The Real Life Dictionary of the Law. http://dictionary.law.com/

National Archives and Records Administration. “Teaching with Documents Lesson Plan: Beyond the Playing Field — Jackie Robinson, Civil Rights Advocate.” Teaching with Documents.
Accessed 27 July 2015.

PBS. Zoot Suit Riots: Los Angeles Erupts in Violence. 1999−2002. American Experience | Zoot Suit Riots. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/zoot/

Roybal, Edward Ross 1916−. Biographical Dictionary of the United States Congress,
1774−Present. http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=R000485 



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