Classroom Connections Civil Rights

Compelling Question: How do individuals change society?

Setting the Stage: 

Overview of Brown v. Board of Education, Topeka (1954)

Discuss segregation and inequality in education

Discuss the role of the individual in bringing about change

Supporting Question #1: What problem was identified by the citizens of Hillburn, New York in 1943 and what action did they take?

Featured Sources:

Legal Petition

Legal Brief

Legal Memorandum

Map of Hillburn

Supporting Question #2: How did the New York State Commissioner of Education respond to the citizens of Hillburn?

Featured Sources:

Newspaper Article: Hillburn Negroes Win Seats in White School

Newspaper Article: Negro School Closed

Supporting Question #3: How did the people of New York State respond to the Commissioner’s decision?

Featured Sources:


Letter from C.G.

Letter from Wilmer, October 2, 1943

Letter from Wilmer, October 8, 1943

Anonymous Letter

Summative Assessment: Write an essay or participate in a Socratic Seminar discussing the influence of individuals in the Hillburn Case. Use evidence from the documents to evaluate the impact individual citizens had on the decision of the Commissioner. 

Extension Activity: Compare the desegregation case in Hillburn, New York to the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954) Supreme Court case.

Taking Informed Action: Research inequality in education in New York State. What types of inequality exist in education today and how what could you do to help end that inequality?

Additional Resources