The Rhode Island Historical Society, in partnership with the Rhode Island Black Heritage Society and the Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission, was awarded a grant from the National Park Service* for a multi-phase project on African Americans’ Struggle for Civil Rights in Rhode Island: The 20th Century.  The project consisted of conducting archival research, collecting oral histories, and documenting places of significance to civil rights in Rhode Island over the course of three years, 2017-2020.  Public exhibits and school unit plans were also created thanks to this grant.

The following lessons reference many types of primary sources from local Rhode Island collections and are meant to serve as a supplement to the Civil Rights history already being taught in classrooms with a focus on local events and people. Many lessons reference time periods earlier than the 1960s, while also drawing connections from those events up to today.

Two additional unit plans for the high school will be available fall 2019!  Electronic versions of the exhibits created for this project will be added to this page.

In addition, we have included below a report from the Public Archaeology Laboratory, Inc. done for this project as it contains tremendous scholarly background information for teachers to provide context for Rhode Island and national civil rights events. The context statement begins on page 3 of the report.

*This material was produced with assistance from the Historic Preservation Fund, administered by the National Park Service, Department of the Interior. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of the Interior.

This webpage is part of the National Park Service’s African American Civil Rights Network

Context Statement Report from The Public Archaeology Laboratory, Inc.
Elementary Level Unit Plan (Grades 3-5)
Middle Level Unit Plan (Grades 6-8)