Civil Rights Movement Cut-and-Paste Timeline

Social Studies

Students will put into order the sequence of events that brought about voting rights and equal rights for African Americans.


The Civil Rights Movement took several decades to achieve its goal: equal rights for African Americans. Along the way, several key events helped to shape the outcome.

More information can be found at Civil Rights Timeline Background Information (PDF file).

What You Need

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What to Do

  1. Hold a brief class discussion on the definitions of “civil rights” and social “movements.” Explain that civil rights are written and unwritten rights provided to anyone who is a U.S. citizen or to anyone who belongs to a civil society. A movement includes activities undertaken by a group of people to achieve change.
  2. Ask students if they know of the major events of the Civil Rights Movement in this country during the 1950s and 1960s. Briefly describe several of these events (see Civil Rights Timeline Background Information for details). Explain to students that they will be completing a cut-and-paste timeline in which they will fill in dates and two or three details for nine major events during the Civil Rights Movement.
  3. Provide students with research materials, a copy of the two-page Major Events in the Civil Rights Movement, paper, pencils or pens, scissors, and glue, paste, or tape. Point out that nine events are identified on the timeline. You may wish to have students research additional events and add them to the blank sections provided.
  4. After students have completed their research, have them cut out each section. Then have students arrange the events in chronological order and glue, paste, or tape them onto a separate piece of paper.
  5. Have students share their findings with the class.

Teaching Option

Internet Resource

Civil Rights Timeline
This site, created by the Seattle Times Company, provides brief descriptions of nearly 30 events of the Civil Rights Movement.