by President Barack Obama
We've identified these texts as great options for text pairings based on similar themes, literary devices, topic, or writing style. Supplement your lesson with one or more of these options and challenge students to compare and contrast the texts. To assign a paired text, click on the text to go to its page and click the "Assign Text" button there.
We Shall Overcome Speech
- President Lyndon B. Johnson
This rousing speech by President Lyndon B. Johnson was delivered right after civil rights protesters were brutally beaten on “Bloody Sunday.” This speech is considered one of the best presidential speeches in history, and eventually led to The Voting Rights Act of 1965.Pair "President Obama's Remarks on the Trayvon Martin Ruling" with Lyndon Johnson's "We Shall Overcome Speech" and ask students to compare the tone and rhetorical devices of each speech.
For King's Adviser, Fulfilling The Dream 'Cannot Wait'
- Michele Norris
On August 28, 1963, approximately 250,000 people participated in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. It was at this event where Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous, “I Have a Dream” speech. In this special series from NPR’s Morning Edition, reporter Michelle Norris looks back on this important moment in Civil Rights history.Pair "President Obama's Remarks on the Trayvon Martin Ruling" with "For King's Advisor, Fulfilling The Dream 'Cannot Wait'" to spark a discussion about civil rights today.
Stop and Frisk: Right or Wrong?
- Mike Kubic
This article examines the rationale behind “Stop and Frisk,” a controversial law enforcement tactic, and the impact of its decline.Pair “President Obama’s Remarks on Trayvon Martin Ruling” with “Stop and Frisk: Right or Wrong?” and prompt students with this discussion question: “What connections do you see between ‘stop and frisk’ and ‘stand your ground’?” In the context of these texts, which is more important: freedom or security?
RFK’s Speech Following the Death of MLK
- Senator Robert F. Kennedy
“RFK’s Speech Following the Death of MLK” is a speech that encourages the nation to unite and heal following Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination using strong rhetorical techniques.Pair “RFK’s Speech Following the Death of MLK” with “President Obama Remarks Upon Trayvon Martin Ruling” and ask students to discuss how far America has come in regards to racism and violent discrimination, as well as what can still be done to improve racial equality for all.
- Jessica McBirney
This informational text explains how the murder of Emmett Till helped spark the Civil Rights Movement.Pair “President Obama’s Remarks on Trayvon Martin Ruling” with “Emmett Till” and ask students to discuss the national reaction to these high-profile deaths of black teenagers. How are their cases similar, and how have American responses to such tragedies changed in the half century separating them?
Excerpt from Southern Horrors: Lynch Laws in All Its Phases
- Ida B. Wells
In “Excerpt from Southern Horrors: Lynch Laws in All Its Phases,” historical activist Ida B. Wells discusses the injustice and horrors of Southern lynch laws, focusing especially on the violence enacted against African Americans following the Civil War and Reconstruction Era.Pair “President Obama’s Remarks on Trayvon Martin Ruling” with “Excerpt from Southern Horrors: Lynch Laws in All Its Phases” and ask students to discuss President Obama’s remarks, as well as the case, in light of Wells’ text. How does the “stand your ground” policy compare to the lynch laws of the post-Civil War South? Should citizens be allowed to take the law into their own hands?
The Scottsboro Boys
- Jessica McBirney
In “The Scottsboro Boys,” Jessica McBirney discusses the historic event in which nine black boys were wrongfully accused and convicted of assault.Pair “President Obama’s Remarks on Trayvon Martin Ruling” with “The Scottsboro Boys” and ask students to compare the events and trial that followed Martin’s shooting with the Scottsboro Boys. How does race continue to be a factor in the criminal justice system? How much has this changed since the Scottsboro Boys? What would students like to see change in the future?
Poem Resisting Arrest
- Kyle Dargan
In Kyle Dargan’s poem “Poem Resisting Arrest,” a speaker describes a poem that questions its arrest.Pair “President Obama’s Remarks on Trayvon Martin Ruling” with “Poem Resisting Arrest” and ask students to discuss how both texts explore the effects of prejudice. How does Barack Obama describe the experiences of African Americans in America? How does he describe how their experiences have shaped their view on law enforcement? How does the poem experience similar prejudiced treatment in “Poem Resisting Arrest”?
The American Criminal Justice System
- Rachel Slivnick
In the informational text “The American Criminal Justice System,” Rachel Slivnick describes different aspects of the criminal justice system and its overall effectiveness in providing justice for all.Pair “President Obama’s Remarks on Trayvon Martin Ruling” with “The American Criminal Justice System” to provide students with Barack Obama’s perspective on the state of the criminal justice system in America. Ask students to discuss how Obama describes African Americans’ experiences with the criminal justice system. How do both texts emphasize the criminal justice system’s unfair treatment of certain groups of people?