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Newseum Digital Classroom

Newseum is an interactive museum located in Washington, D. C. that features galleries of artifacts related to news stories around the world. A preview of must-see features of the museum includes exhibits related to 9/11, the fall of the Berlin Wall, Watergate, the Unabomber’s cabin, and more. The Newseum presents a collection of newspaper front pages from around the world. Each front page thumbnail links to the website for the featured newspaper.

Another feature of the Newseum is the Digital Classroom which showcases a collection of video lessons related to social studies, civics, English, government, history, technology, and journalism. Each lesson includes a lesson plan, a viewing guide, and related links to additional instructional resources. Plans are designed to be used to prepare students for a Newseum field trip, but can be implemented as standalone lessons.

One informative lesson explores the Civil Rights Movement. The video lesson presents historic video footage and explores the role of the press in civil rights. The video presents the Civil Rights era from the perspectives of people who experienced it, including Congressional representatives; news editors and reporters; and civil rights activists.

The video guide features warm-up discussion questions, questions to consider while watching the video, and quotations featured in the presentation. The guide also includes questions for group discussion and activities for exploring civil rights, the First Amendment, and the role of a free press in American society.

The lesson plan includes an instructional activity in which students research answers to questions related to key events, court cases and people involved in the civil rights movement. It also features Dr. M. L. King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” The letter was written in response to a Birmingham newspaper article entitled, “A Call for Unity.” The article was written by African-American clergy and urged African-Americans to withdraw from public demonstrations and seek justice through the courts when their rights were denied. The lesson also features newspaper articles published in the 1950’s and 1960’s as well as modern-day articles related to historical coverage of the Civil Rights Movement.

Image: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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