MY HERO Curated Resources for Middle School Students - Civil Rights

Use these resources to inspire compassion and activism in your students, and ask them to identify a civil rights issue they can learn more about.


Civil Rights Middle School
Credit: MY HERO

Learn About Civil Rights Hero John Lewis: watch the films, read the story and analyze his portrait. Then consider the Questions and Activities.


Produced by:Anson Schloat and John G. Young

A film about John Lewis on citizenship and character: "To be a good citizen is to obey the rules...the laws. Unless those laws conflict with your conscience.

Congressman John Lewis Showcase

By: MY HERO Staff

John Lewis was involved in the Civil Rights Movement as a young man and later became a member the House of Representatives for the state of Georgia.

Get in the Way [Trailer]

Produced by:Dir. Kathleen Dowdey

In 1965, the historic Selma March was a turning point in the Civil Rights Movement. John Lewis—now a revered U.S. Congressman, then a young student—co-led hundreds of peaceful marchers seeking voting rights for African Americans. 

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

By: John Lewis

Congressman John Lewis writes about how Martin Luther King Jr. inspired him as a young man during the Civil Rights Movement.

Congressman John Lewis Discussion Questions

1. In the film Citizenship, Congressman John Lewis states when the laws conflict with our conscience, we have an obligation to disobey the laws. Do you agree or disagree with Lewis?

2. Were the civil rights activists of the 1960s successful in changing the laws by breaking the laws? 

3. What character traits do you think a good citizen possesses?

4. As a student, what tools do you have in your power to affect laws in your country?

5. How does this story by John Lewis communicate to others the influence that Martin Luther King Jr. had on the United States of America?

6. How does Martin Luther King's humanity and compassion for others inspire each of us to learn more about how we can make a difference in our own communities?


Read the Following Stories about Civil Rights Heroes and Consider the Discussion Questions

Bayard Rustin

By: Jasmine from Chapel Hill

Bayard Rustin organized one of the largest nonviolent protests ever held in the United States: the 1963 March on Washington. 

Thurgood Marshall

By: Vijay

Vijay, a middle school student, wrote about his hero Thurgood Marshall, who was appointed as the first African American Supreme Court Justice and advanced desegregation in the United States.

Fannie Lou Hamer

By: Nina Mariotti
Fannie Lou Hamer was a civil rights leader and voting rights advocate.

Bryan Stevenson

By: Arthur (Trey) Carlisle
Bryan Stevenson has been recognized across the globe for the work that he has done to address poverty and racial inequality.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

By: Russell Kang

Story with Text and Audio so Students can Listen & as they Read Along

Ruby Nell Bridges

By: Madison
One of the most important heroes in the fight against segregation in America was a six-year-old girl, Ruby Nell Bridges.

Discussion Questions and Activities

1. What common character traits do each of these civil rights heroes share?

2. What impact did the 1963 March on Washington have on Civil Rights in the United States? 

3. How were Thurgood Marshall and Ruby Bridges vital to desegregation of the schools in the United States? What other people worked towards desegregation? Who impressed you? 

4. Fannie Lou Hamer was a voting rights activist. Research the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the activists who worked for equal access to the right to vote.

5.  Bryan Stevenson works to address racial inequality. What still needs to be done to ensure that all people have the same rights? What can you do?

6. Who is your civil rights hero? Share his or her story with MY HERO through the create program.

Analyze the Following Artwork about Civil Rights Heroes


How do each of these artists portray the strength of their Civil Rights hero?

Consider creating a portrait of your hero, or a poster honoring someone working for Civil Rigths to submit to MY HERO through the Create Program.


Ben Heine pays homage to great African-American civil rights heroes Martin Luther King and Barack Obama.

Barack Obama and Martin Luther King Jr.
Credit: Ben Heine from Belgium

Martin Luther King Jr.

By: Marilyn Huerta

Marilyn Huerta paints a vivid portrait of Martin Luther King Jr., the civil rights leader and non-violent activist.

Ms. Rosa Parks

By: Gail G. Slockett

Rosa Parks led the Montgomery Bus Boycott in Alabama.


The March on Washington in 1963 was a pivotal moment in the history of civil rights.

What changes were made after this peaceful protest?

What still needs to be done today to ensure equal rights for all?

Who is working towards that goal in your community, country or globally?

What can you do? 


The March for Freedom 1963

Davon Johnson

Nonviolent civil disobedience based on Christian beliefs started long before the 1963 peaceful protest, March for Freedom on Washington D.C. PASSWORD: 2march4freedom1963

Students can share their Hero Essays, Films and Art through our Create Program

How to use MY HERO's Create Program to Publish Stories, Art, Film and Audio for Students

By: Laura Nietzer

Tutorial for students

Outstanding essays submitted to MY HERO will be considered for a certificate/t-shirt prize or be featured on the Story Homepage.

Submit your artwork to be entered in the MY HERO art contest or to be exhibited on our Gallery Homepage.

Students can submit their films for free with a waiver to the MY HERO International Film Festival.

Learn about a New Hero Every Day of the Year: Use the MY HERO Calendar in the Classroom

Organizer created on 3/18/2020 2:02:18 PM by Laura Nietzer

Last edited 7/29/2022 12:22:24 PM by Laura Nietzer