The ACES NEH Summer Institute, The Long Civil Rights Movement, is a two-week Institute scheduled for June 17-June 30, 2018.

All sessions will be held at Yale University unless otherwise noted. The schedule may be subject to change prior to application deadline. Final schedule and syllabus will be available to NEH Summer Scholars upon acceptance.

9:00-12:00 PM

Morning Session

12:00-1:00 PM

Lunch Break

1:00-4:00 PM

Afternoon Session

4:00-5:00 PM

Collaborative Work Time/Office Hours

Curriculum workshops are facilitated by Dana Altshuler, who will guide NEH Summer Scholars in integrating daily session content into their own curriculum for students. These sessions are supported by the daily session facilitators and program faculty.


Afternoon arrival, check-in and orientation.


Life Under Jim Crow
Facilitator(s): Dana Altshuler, Thomas Thurston
The story of Jim Crow in the United States is a complicated one, involving national and local governments, the North and South, and all societal institutions. This session will consider the experiences of African Americans under Jim Crow, including segregation, violence, and a lack of Civil Rights.

Guiding Question: What was the enduring impact of Jim Crow laws on racial segregation in the South?

Dispatches from Jim Crow: Unpacking the Suitcases of the Last One Hundred Fifty Years
Summer Scholars will explore how specific groups of people interpret evidence differently to support a particular view of Jim Crow’s legacy, including how it created “unfinished business” in today’s America. They will reflect on ways to support students to ask their own questions. Summer Scholars will finalize their topic selection for their final project.

Guiding Question: How do specific groups of people interpret evidence differently to support a particular view of Jim Crow’s legacy, including how it created “unfinished business” in today’s America?


Civil Rights Activism: Local and National
Facilitator(s): Charles Cobb (former field secretary for the SNCC)
The story of the Civil Rights Movement is one of struggles, carried out in the halls of Congress, the Oval Office, and through national and local organizations, in which citizens from all walks of life experienced racial discrimination. This session will focus on the relationship between the leadership of the national movement and local activists through an examination of two prominent civil rights groups: the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).

Guiding Question: In what ways is the story of the Civil Rights Movement one of progress?

Peeling Away Legends and Unloading Truths
Summer Scholars will explore the various ways in which the story of the civil rights movement was told, and explore the causes of implicit and explicit bias in telling the story. They will generate questions to help students understand civil rights stories in 2018, comparing and contrasting today’s issues with those of the 50s and 60s.

Guiding Question: What factors influenced the different perspectives in the telling of the story of the Civil Rights Movement was told?


Other Voices: The Role of Women, the Elderly and the Young in the Civil Rights Movement
Facilitator(s): Yohuru Williams, PhD
This session will focus on the actions of the unsung heroes of the civil rights movements: local activists of an older generation who lent knowledge and experience to the movement, women whose contributions were often unacknowledged and young people, who risked their lives to participate in demonstrations against racial discrimination.

Guiding Question: How do Americans define freedom and equality, and how has that definition changed over time for different groups of people?

Analyzing Points of View
Summer Scholars will explore the perspectives of key figures in the movement, examine the role of the effectiveness of leadership in representing various constituencies and deconstruct critical arguments from different perspectives.

Guiding Question: What does it mean to have freedom and equality in America?


Facilitator(s): Dana Altshuler, Thomas Thurston, Yohuru Williams, PhD

Abyssinian Baptist Church
Summer Scholars will tour the Abyssinian Baptist Church and take part in a discussion on the role of the church and its leaders in the Civil Rights Movement.

Guiding Question: What was the role of the Black church in the Civil Rights Movement?

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
Summer Scholars will analyze landmark local events in the Northern Civil Rights Movement, gather resources for their final project, and explore the link between how stories are told and local culture.

Guiding Question: What were the cultural differences between the Movement in the North and the Movement in the South? Why are these differences important?


The Legal Battle for Civil Rights
Facilitator(s): Yohuru Williams, PhD
Legal forms of segregation and discrimination have been adjudicated in the US legal system and upheld by the Supreme Court. This session will examine court case primary source documents and legislation that framed the Civil Rights Movement. 

Guiding Question: What role did the government play in supporting or hindering civil rights?

Exploring Civics through Landmark Court Case Analysis in the Classroom
Summer Scholars will contextualize landmark court cases from the long civil rights movement, examine points of agreement and disagreement, and draw conclusions about whether popular political is influenced by or influences judicial decisions.

Guiding Question: To what extent do the outcomes of landmark court cases reflect social and political progress? Do these decisions represent the popular opinion of the time and why does this matter?


The Civil Rights Movement in the North
Facilitator(s): Yohuru Williams, PhD
The Civil Rights movement was not confined to the American South, it is a national story. This session will examine the Civil Rights Movement and its effect in the Northern United States, including suburbanization, public welfare, housing and education. Summer Scholars will explore how policy reform contributed to a new form of Jim Crow.

Guiding Question: What is the modern legacy of the Civil Rights Movement in the North?

Civil Rights, Civic Life: Engagement, Education and Access in the 21st Century
Summer Scholars will explore civic life and engagement in urban and suburban communities in the North through primary sources, and will engage in the argument development process to use in their final project.

Guiding Question: How are our attitudes and beliefs reflected in the places we call home?


Summer Scholars will work on their final projects, and explore New Haven and Yale University. Program faculty will be available for support and feedback.


The Civil Rights Movement on the World Stage
Facilitator(s): John Tully,
In several ways, America's wars of the 20th century forwarded the cause of Civil Rights. This session will examine the push for greater rights for African Americans in the wartime 
labor force and in the military. We will also discuss the ways the treatment of African Americans influenced international relations between the United States and the countries of Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.

Guiding Question: What role did foreign policy and conflict play in the Civil Rights Movement?

The Sites of the Black Panther Trials-A Walking Tour of New Haven 1969
Facilitator(s): Thomas Thurston
This walking tour of New Haven will highlight the critical locations of the infamous 1969 Black Panther Trials.

Guiding Question: How does where you live affect your participation in civic life?


Art as Activism
Facilitator(s): Garnette Cadogan
From the New Negro Movement of the early twentieth century to the Harlem Renaissance to today’s artists, writers, and musicians, this session will consider the role that art and culture have played in documenting the Civil Rights Movement.

Guiding Question: In what ways did popular culture both reflect and propel the Civil Rights Movement?

Art, Music, and the Movement
Summer Scholars will explore collections of art, music, spoken word, poetry and other primary source documents to learn how artistic expression may reflect and influence movements. Collected documentation will be added to final projects.

Guiding Question: What is the role of artistic expression in movements for social change?


From Newsstands to Twitter: Media and the Civil Rights Movement
Facilitator(s): Charlton McIlwain,
From journals, newspapers, and magazines that reported on Jim Crow and anti-lynching campaigns in the first half of the twentieth century to the role of television and photography in the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s, to the role that social media has played in galvanizing today's Black Lives Matter movement, media has always been an important component of the Civil Rights Movement. This session will consider the influence of media in capturing, communicating, and defining major events in the struggle for civil rights.

Guiding Question: In what ways does media coverage influence and reflect historical events?

Representations of the Movement in the Media
Summer Scholars will explore the various perspectives of different media sources and deepen understanding of how to locate and analyze a variety of sources to promote student questioning. Afterwards, Summer Scholars will find balanced journalistic evidence from various perspectives for their final project.

Guiding Question: In what ways does media coverage reflect and influence historical events?


Unfinished Business
Facilitator(s): Karsonya Whitehead, PhD
This session will look at ongoing Civil Rights concerns for African Americans, including equitable education and housing, the relationship between the police and community, and prison system reform.

Guiding Question: What is a “just society” and who decides?

Enduring Legacies
Facilitator(s): Kimberly Dugan, PhD
This session will consider the influence of movement ideas and tactics on the formation of other movements such as the environmental movement, the lesbian and gay movement, and feminism. Summer Scholars will gather research and resources to incorporate the legacy of civil rights into their final projects.

Guiding Question: What challenges to equality exist today?


Collaboration and work time, feedback from faculty. 


Final project presentations, departure.

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at

*Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.