Dates: June 17 - June 30, 2018 (2 weeks)
Location: Yale University, New Haven, CT, (
Application Deadline: March 1, 2018 (notification March 28, 2018)
Stipend for Participants: $2,100.00

The deadline for applicants has passed and we are no longer able to accept further applications.

The Long Civil Rights Movement: Unfinished Business and Enduring Legacies is a two-week Institute designed for teachers of social studies, humanities, English language arts, and related subjects. Through this opportunity, you will:

  • Learn from expert voices in the field and look beyond your current understanding of the Civil Rights Movement
  • Learn tools with which to teach the Civil Rights Movement as an ongoing narrative of change, and show students how the Movement’s legacies influence national life today
  • Grow your professional network of colleagues from around the nation while creating classroom-ready resources to bring to your students

In social studies classrooms and movie theaters alike, the Civil Rights Movement appears to fit neatly into a short timeframe, from “Montgomery to Memphis.” It begins with Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, followed by victories during the Montgomery Bus Boycotts in 1955 and the March on Washington in 1963, and ends decisively with the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968.

However, the Civil Rights Movement is much more than this concise narrative of heroes and holidays; a short story of African Americans fighting for their own liberty. We know the Civil Rights Movement to be a long, unfinished story of a people-centered, messy, conflicted and complex struggle for justice. The Movement’s origins reach back to the early 20th century and its legacy continues to this day. The Civil Rights Movement is the story of everyday people doing extraordinary things to secure liberty for themselves and for their neighbors. The Long Civil Rights Movement offers you, and in turn your students, opportunities to look beyond the common narratives, to connect past events to your own lives and times, and to see yourselves as makers of history and agents of change.

All sessions and activities in The Long Civil Rights Movement are designed to encourage discussion, stimulate the exchange of ideas and experiences, and help you build a lasting community of fellow educators committed to bringing the Civil Rights Movement to your students.

During the two-week Institute, you will select a compelling area of focus for your own learning, compile primary sources and create a classroom-ready plan and document portfolio to bring back to your school. This project aligns nicely with the College, Career and Civic Life (C3) Social Studies Framework, but is also relevant to teachers of English and other humanities who value an inquiry-based approach to teaching and learning. You will have the opportunity to share your inquiry plan and document portfolio with colleagues in the final days of the Institute, and these culminating projects will be available on this website for your future use.

Join fellow NEH Summer Scholars and Institute faculty as you learn about critical aspects of the Civil Rights Movement and those who inspired communities to action - and whose legacies endure in this political moment. Key topics of study will include:

  • The Civil Rights Movement in the North – including enduring effects on housing, education, police and community relationships, and prison inequities
  • Critical legal decisions and legislation
  • The role of the Civil Rights Movement on the world stage, and its impact on international relations
  • American popular culture during the Movement
  • The lasting legacies of political disenfranchisement of African Americans
  • How the Movement’s ideas and framework continue to shape today’s struggles for civil rights, among such groups as LGBTQ, environmentalists, immigrants and feminists

In addition to content sessions led by expert faculty, as an NEH Summer Scholar, you will also participate in workshops facilitated by practicing classroom teachers and explore ways of integrating the Civil Rights Movement – content and pedagogy – into your curriculum resources.

Because we believe that learning is multi-dimensional, you will also enjoy opportunities to socialize and network with other NEH Summer Scholars, and Institute faculty, explore New Haven, Yale University, and of course, weigh in on the perpetual debate about New Haven’s famous pizza. Scheduled excursions include:

Core readings include:

  • Chafe, William Henry, Raymond Gavins, and Robert Korstad, eds. Remembering Jim Crow: African Americans Tell About Life in the Segregated South. New York: New Press, 2001.     
  • Hall, Jacquelyn Dowd. “The Long Civil Rights Movement and the Political Uses of the Past” Journal of American History 91, 4 (2005): 1233-63.        
  • Selected oral history interviews from “The Long Civil Rights Movement Initiative,” a part of the University of North Carolina’s Southern  Oral History Program. See 
  • Menkart, Deborah, Alana D. Murray, and Jenice L. View, eds. Putting the Movement Back into Civil Rights Teaching. A Resource Guide for Classrooms and Communities. Washington, DC: Teaching for Change, 2004.

About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available here.

*Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.