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Part One: Parent-Child Negotiations


  1. Watch Children’s March from Teaching Tolerance.
  2. Tell students that they are going to be learning about the role that young people played in the African American Freedom Struggle, specifically in the Birmingham campaign. Write Malcolm X’s statement, “Real men don’t put their children on the firing line,” on the board.
  3. Begin with the following discussion or quick-write prompts: Would you be willing go to jail to challenge an unjust law? Would you let your child go to jail in an effort to overturn an unjust law? Would your parents allow you to go to jail in an effort to secure justice for your community?
  4. Split the class in half and ask students to line up facing each other. One group of students will play the role of parents and one group the role of sons/daughters. Explain that they live in Birmingham in the 1960s. The daughters/sons should try to convince their parents to let them participate in the march. The parents do not want their children to risk arrest or worse. Allow the students to role-play the discussion for three to four minutes.