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16 October 2014
Free At Last?

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Curriculum Match

This site has been written with the needs of students of Intermediate 2 in mind, although it will also prove useful to candidates at Higher level.

Intermediate 2

European and World Unit

11. Free at Last? Race Relations in the USA 1918 - 68
Curriculum match

Attitudes in the 20s

The social, political and economic status of different ethnic groups in the USA; the ‘Jim Crow’ laws; changing attitudes towards immigrants during the 1920s; the attitudes and activities of the Ku Klux Klan.

Desegregation of Schools

Growing demand for civil rights after 1945: reasons for this growth.

Montgomery Bus Boycott

Growing demand for civil rights after 1945: reasons for this growth.
Peaceful and violent activities of civil rights and black radical protest movements during the 1950s.

Freedom Summer

Peaceful and violent activities of civil rights and black radical protest movements during the 1960s.

Black Power

Peaceful and violent activities of civil rights and black radical protest movements during the 1960s - the roles of Martin Luther King, Stokely Carmichael and Malcolm X.


Option C (later modern history) - European and World Unit

2. The Large-scale state: The USA
Curriculum match

Attitudes in the 20s

Changing attitudes and measures with regard to immigration during the 1920s; the attitudes and activities of the Ku Klux Klan.

Desegregation of Schools

The nature of the civil rights movements of the 1950s; the effects of the civil rights movement.

Montgomery Bus Boycott

Reasons for growing pressure for civil rights after 1945; the nature of the civil rights movements of the 1950s.

Freedom Summer

The nature of the civil rights movements of the 1960s; the effects of the civil rights movement.

Black Power

Black radical protest movements.

Aims and outcomes of the site

The site helps students examine, interpret and evaluate sources from the period 1920 to 1968. We hope that use of the site will give students confidence handling sources and help them improve their exam performance.

Working through the site should give students a deeper understanding of some of the key events of the time, and allows them to view these events in context. We hope that the variety of sources builds a compelling and illuminating view of our modern history while allowing students to see how the information from these sources fits into their understanding of the topic.

Using the site


The timeline will help students to see the history of the period 1920 to 1968 in context. Decade by Decade they can see how each event leads on to the next and how it might have influenced the way people were feeling at the time. The students should use their notes or recall to think about how and where other incidents might fit in.
All the decades and events can be found on the complete timeline.

Study Topics

There are five study topics which we explore in depth:

  • Attitudes in the 20s
  • Desegregation of Schools
  • The Montgomery Bus Boycott
  • Freedom Summer
  • Black Power

Within each study topic, students are presented with a variety of types of source – photographs, legal documents, personal recollections and speeches – each given the context of an exam-style question. In the source, important areas are highlighted and explained, while an additional ‘From Recall/Extra Information’ section fills in the information students would be expected to provide from recall.

There is also one extra source per topic for the student to practise their skills and consolidate their knowledge. The student can write an exam answer on-screen, before checking it against a list of points they could have included. They then have the opportunity to improve their answer before printing it out for revision or assessment purposes.

Other resources

The site is accompanied by two television programmes where face-to-face interviews with people from both sides of the civil rights struggle bring the topic alive. Together, the television and web resources form a thorough investigation of the period.

Transmission times can be found on the BBC Education Scotland homepage. You can also order these programmes, and other BBC Education Scotland resources, from:

BBC Education Scotland (Information)
Room 230
Broadcasting House
Queen Margaret Drive
G12 8DG


Academic Consultant:
Tom Monaghan, Principle Teacher of History, Stirling High School, Stirling

BBC Education Scotland Production Team:
Tanya Carmichael, Bronwen Livingstone, Elaine Maclean, David Meikle, Nick Simons

Web Architecture and Functionality:, Edinburgh

Web design:
Gecko New Media, Edinburgh


We’d appreciate knowing what you think of the site and welcome all comments and suggestions. If there's something you've found really useful, or a part of the site you found difficult to use, please let us know by emailing us at


Please note that all images and text on this site are protected by copyright. For more information on what that means, have a look at the BBC Copyright information page.

Sources credits



Civil Rights Marchers with "I am a man" signs © Bettmann/CORBIS


KKK- Wikipedia/Public Domain
Franklin D Roosevelt © Time Life Pictures/Getty Images
Plane - Wikipedia/Public Domain
Dr Martin Luther King © BBC
Malcolm X © BBC


A segregation sign in the USA © Associated Press
Black-only store © CORBIS
Come to America poster © Library of Congress/Getty Images


Black American students integrate Little Rock's Central High School © Bettmann/CORBIS
Minnijean Brown at Central High School © Time Life Pictures/Getty Images
African American children marching with signs near segregated school © Bettmann/CORBIS
Mother and child walking past protestors © Bettmann/CORBIS

Montgomery Bus Boycott

Rosa Parks’ police report – courtesy of The National Archives and Records Administration, Southeast Region (Atlanta)
Car pooling during the bus boycott © Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
African American students wave at empty bus during the boycott © Bettmann/CORBIS

Freedom Summer

Black American students sitting-in at Woolworth's © Bettmann/CORBIS
Freedom Rides map © Associated Press
CORE demonstrators outside Harlem Woolworth’s store © Bettmann/CORBIS

Black Power

African Americans give Black Power salute © Bettmann/CORBIS
Black Panthers marching with signs in Manhattan © Bettmann/CORBIS



Jim Crow laws – Public Domain

2 newspaper articles -
Former Colored Soldier is Lynched for Having a White Sweetheart
Here's a striking example of Southern 'Crackers' chivalry?
© The Ohio Historical Society


Extract from an interview sourced from the Little Rock Central High School Civil Rights Memory Project © Daisha Booth / courtesy of Little Rock Central High School

Montgomery Bus Boycott

Extract from the Bus Boycott flyer © Montgomery Improvement Association / courtesy of Alabama Department of Archives and History

Freedom Summer

Extract from an article by a Freedom Summer volunteer
© Terri Charlotte Shaw / courtesy of Anna Library catalogue of the University of Southern Mississippi

Black Power

Extract from the Black Panther Party's Ten Point Program
Extract from the Free Breakfast Program
both © the Huey P. Newton Foundation Inc


Artist: Pete Seeger
Track: If you miss me at the back of the bus
Album: We Shall Overcome CL 2101 © Columbia


All excerpts from interviews/ speeches © BBC


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