by Jessica McBirney
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 “The Voting Rights Act of 1965” with former President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “‘We Shall Overcome’ Speech” and have students think about the way in which Johnson’s speech captures the essence of the struggle for civil rights in America. How does his tone reflect the urgency of the situation? Attend closely to his language and identify particular words and phrases that communicate the state of race relations in the United States at the time and the necessity of the civil rights legislation.
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 “The Voting Rights Act of 1965” with “For King’s Adviser, Fulfilling the Dream ‘Cannot Wait’” and ask students to consider the specific details about the roles of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Clarence B. Jones in the Civil Rights Movement provided by the latter text. How does this help provide insight into the political and cultural shift undergone in the United States in the 1960s? How does social activism become legislation? Consider the fifteenth paragraph of Norris’s text. Do you see parallels between the existing social ills Jones identifies and those described in McBirney’s text? How can we address the racism that remains in our society?
The Sit-In Movement
This informational text discusses the different forms of peaceful protests that civil rights activists employed during their struggle for equality.Pair “The Voting Rights Act of 1965” with “The Sit-In Movement” and ask students to discuss white citizens who didn’t approve of the Civil Rights Movement – how did they attempt to maintain the restrictions on African-Americans’ rights? What similarities are present between the two texts?
This informational text details the controversial policies of Reconstruction after the American Civil War.Pair “Reconstruction” with “Voting Rights Act of 1965” and ask students to discuss how Reconstruction impacted the rights of African-Americans living in the American South. Then, based on these two articles, what can readers infer about the conditions for African-Americans in the years between the end of Reconstruction and the passage of the Voting Rights Acts in 1965.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Changing America
- Barbara Radner
This informational text outlines Dr. King’s accomplishments and leadership in America.Pair “The Voting Rights Act of 1965” with “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Changing America” and ask students to discuss the impact Dr. King had on the law. What did the Voting Rights Act of 1965 guarantee or protect?
Martin Luther King, Jr.
The informational text “Martin Luther King, Jr.” explores the life of King and his contributions to fighting inequality through nonviolent means.Pair “The Voting Rights Act of 1965” with “Martin Luther King, Jr.” in order to have students more deeply explore King’s role in the passing of that legislation and the impact that the law has had on the United States.
Lyndon Baines Johnson and the Great Society
- Mike Kubic
In “Lyndon Baines Johnson and the Great Society,” Mike Kubic discusses Johnson’s presidency and how he worked to improve the lives of people in need with his “Great Society” program.Pair “The Voting Rights Act of 1965” with “Lyndon Baines Johnson and the Great Society” to provide students with additional information on one of the legislations that contributed to Johnson’s Great Society. Ask students to discuss in greater detail the effects that the Voting Rights Act had on America and Johnson’s presidency.