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Civil Rights

Mapping to MN State Standards


The resources on this page have been selected by eLibraryMN and Minnesota Digital Library librarians and curators to support the MN English Language Arts and the Social Studies standards, both current and pending, specifically related to Civil Rights activism that are relevant to younger students. Resources in eLibraryMN and EbooksMN have unlimited simultaneous user access and are freely available to anyone geolocated in Minnesota. The primary source resources detailed are available to all, regardless of location.

Please reach out with questions or suggestions about linking to, using, or sharing these resources.  

Academic Research

Below is a collection of available topic overviews that link to many related articles and resources within ELM.

Brittanica's Civil Rights Overview 

When using this resource, remember that you can adjust reading levels as students need by clicking the 'Reading Level' numbers. This is a great way to differentiate the reading level while retaining the same themes for all students.

Pebble Go: Biographies of Civil Rights leaders, before 1945

Pebble Go: Biographies of Civil Rights leaders, after 1945

Use PebbleGo to provide a student friendly experience for reading the biographies of famous civil rights leaders (for your youngest learners).


Ebsco Explora Kids Topic under ‘Social Studies- American History- Civil Rights'
Ebsco Explora Middle- Topic under ‘History- Events and Movements- Civil Rights'

Resources in Ebsco about Civil Rights Issues can be found under the Social Studies/Sciences Topic Headings.  Click into the 'Civil Rights' topic heading to find resources specific to this idea.

Gale Middle

Make sure to check out all types of resources available in Gale- biographies, magazines, video, audio primary sources, and more. Scroll to the bottom to view related topics.


This is a curated group of fiction and nonfiction ebooks, Grade Interest Level K-8. All titles are available to students geolocated in MN without login. Linking directly to chapters is also possible. To link directly to the titles and share in your LMS or libguides, copy the link to the title(s) you want from our persistent link spreadsheet (if you are not accessing through the MackinVia app). Reach out to us with questions about linking. 
Nonviolent resistance in the civil rights movement

Highlights major nonviolent protests such as sit-ins and marches waged against racial inequality during the 1950s and 1960s. Includes a glossary, resources for further information, and photographs.
Medgar Evers and the NAACP

Presents a graphic novel describing the life, accomplishments, and murder of Medgar Evers, a NAACP fighter for African-American civil rights.

Martin Luther King Jr. : marching for equality

Depicts the life of King, describes his childhood and the events that set his ministry on the course of attaining civil rights, illustrates his dedication to overcoming prejudice, and discusses his eventual assassination. Includes photos, a timeline, a glossary, and an index.

Civil rights sit-ins

Examines the powerful history of civil rights sit-in protests beginning with the Greensboro Four and their peaceful protest against racial inequality that sparked a movement. Includes text-related questions, a glossary, resources for further information, and archival photographs.

Voices of the civil rights movement : a primary source exploration of the struggle for racial equality

This book presents an overview of the African American civil rights movement of the mid-twentieth century, and a variety of related quotations, primary source documents, and black-and-white photographs. Includes a glossary, a list of critical thinking using the Common Core questions, and a bibliography.

Primary Sources

Resources below are recommended by MDL curators from partners in primary source history.

Minnesota Equal Rights Law brochure

Equal Rights brochureBrochure from the Governor's Interracial Commission discussing Minnesota's Equal Rights Law of 1943, which prohibits exclusion on the basis of race, color, national origin or religion.

Roy Wilkins

Roy WilkinsRoy Wilkins was a leader of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and a civil rights advocate who grew up in Minnesota.

March on Washington button

March on Washington buttonThe button was used during the "March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom," organized by the NAACP in 1963.

Roy Wilkins marching for civil rights

Poster of March on WashingtonThis University of Minnesota poster shows Roy Wilkins walking with a crowd of civil rights activists during the March on Washington.

Honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.

Marching peoplePeople in Minnesota marched to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. after his assassination on April 6, 1968.


Radio program about Nellie Stone Johnson

MPR audio iconRemembrance of Minnesota's civil rights and labor leader, Nellie Stone Johnson, after her death in 2002.

Collection: Rondo Center

Zachary Family in bookMaterials commemorating the Rondo neighborhood of St. Paul, destroyed by the construction of Interstate Highway 94 in the 1960s. Many community members were involved in civil rights efforts during the mid-20th century.

Interlibrary Loan/Resource Sharing

For in depth research into these topics, sometimes you need to request materials from other libraries. These can be digital or they can sometimes be printed books. There are two main options for requesting these materials. One, MNLINK, allows you to search all Minnesota libraries for the requires the use of a public library card and PIN. While many educators use their own library card to help students, it is recommended that students use their own. However, this is not always possible, so there is a second option: Minitex Resource sharing for schools. This allows one staff member per school to request items on behalf of students and have the items sent directly to the school building. If you have questions about which option is better for you and your students, reach out to us and we can help.