Lesson Plan: Overview

With All Deliberate Speed

The Fight for CiviI Rights in South Carolina
Grade Level: 8th

Academic Standards

Standard 8-7: The student will demonstrate an understanding of South Carolina’s economic revitalization during World War II and the latter twentieth century.

8-7.4 Explain the factors that influenced the economic opportunities of African American South Carolinians during the latter twentieth century, including racial discrimination, the Briggs v. Elliott case, the integration of public facilities and the civil rights movement, agricultural decline, and statewide educational improvement.

Social Studies Literacy Elements

A. Distinguish between past, present, and future time.

E. Explain change and continuity over time.

K. Use texts, photographs, and documents to observe and interpret social studies trends and relationships.

L. Interpret calendars, time lines, maps, charts, tables, graphs, flow charts, diagrams, photographs, paintings, cartoons, architectural drawings, documents, letters, censuses, and other artifacts.

P. Locate, gather, and process information from a variety of primary and secondary sources including maps.

S. Interpret and synthesize information obtained from a variety of sources—graphs, charts, tables, diagrams, texts, photographs, documents, and interviews.

Essential Questions

1. Why did desegregation take such a long time in the south?

2. What struggles did African Americans face during the desegregation of schools in South Carolina?

3. How did the community of Lamar react to the attempts at desegregation and, why did many people in both the white and black communities resist desegregation?

Historical Background Notes

From the moment the first slave was brought to the Americas, African Americans have been struggling for their freedoms and their civil rights.  Although their situation today has greatly improved, there is still a legacy of frustration, struggle, disappointment and even some triumph.  The improvements that have been made have been hard fought by the generations who came before ours and continue today as we move toward a society that is more tolerant of people who are of a different race or nationality than we may be. 

When we look at the struggle for freedom of African Americans, many people consider the Emancipation Proclamation to be the event that guaranteed freedom for the slaves.  However, considering the fact that Lincoln was not the President of the Confederate States of America and he had not freed the slaves in the Border States, the Emancipation Proclamation was simply a foreshadowing of what would come when the war was over.  The guarantee of freedom for all people came in 1865 with the passage of the 13th amendment which protects all people from forced servitude.  (Stewart, 110)  The 14th amendment was then passed in 1868 which guarantees equal rights for all American citizens.  The 14th amendment is the basis of much of the Civil Rights movement.  (Stewart, 111)      

Clearly when the 14th amendment was passed, the country was still in turmoil after the Civil War, and many southerners were very angry that their lifestyle and livelihood had been completely overturned.  The law now told them that they had to not only free their slaves, but also treat them equally, something many of the slave owners could not imagine.  It is easy to pass the law, but to change the southerners’ hearts and minds would take much longer.  After Reconstruction, when the south once again gained control over their governments, there was a backlash of attitudes, and the idea of white supremacy became the norm.  The white population fought equality among the races in any way they could and began to find loopholes to limit the rights of African Americans.   These laws were known as Jim Crow laws.   Jim Crow laws began to create the separation of the white and black communities; limited the freedoms of the Freedmen; and attempted to keep them from exercising their right to vote.  (McKissack Patricia and Fredrick, 105-106)

One of the common Jim Crow laws in the south was that of segregation.  In many public places, there were sections, seating areas, or facilities that were only to be used by African Americans and other facilities for the white population.  Typically the facilities reserved for the African Americans were not as nice as those for the white customers.  In 1896, the Plessy v. Ferguson case made it to the Supreme Court.  Homer Plessy was an African American who sat in a train car for whites only and was arrested. (McKissack Patricia and Fredrick, 83)  He fought his arrest, and his case made it all the way to the United States Supreme Court.   In that case, it was ruled that the state may allow separate seating facilities for blacks and whites as long as they were “equal”. (McKissack Patricia and Fredrick, 83)  Justice Brown stated that “Laws requiring the separation of the races simply reflected the culture of the people and as long as facilities were equal they were not prejudicial”. (Wolf)  The reality of the situation is that they rarely were equal.  Seven of the justices ruled against Plessy, but Justice Harlan dissented.  In his statement he said that justice should be “color blind” and the idea of “separate but equal” was inherently taking away one's personal freedom because it forced separation. (McKissack Patricia and Fredrick, 84-85)  Unfortunately his beliefs were in the minority at that time.

In the early 1900’s, more and more Jim Crow laws were added to the books in most southern states, and it was common to see signs for “Whites only” or “Colored Only” in many public places.  One of the areas where separation became common was in the public schools.  In all southern states, there were schools for white children and schools for “colored” children, and there was almost always a noticeable difference between the conditions of the two schools.  The schools for white children were often large enough so that they had adequate facilities to accommodate the students at the school; they had busses to pick the children up and take them to and from school; and they had the materials they needed to learn.  The schools built for African Americans were a different story.  They were often small and built of inferior materials; the students were usually expected to walk long distances since there was no bus service for the “colored” schools; teachers were poorly trained and paid; and the materials were usually old and ragged by the time they received them.  Most improvements that were made to the African American schools were accomplished by the hard work and determination of the black communities themselves.  With limited resources, these communities could only make minor changes to improve conditions for their children.  As time passed the inferior quality of public schools became too much for the African American community to bear, and they began to fight for their children’s rights to receive an equitable education.

In 1954, the most well known case challenging racial segregation in schools and other public places made it to the United States Supreme Court.  It was called Oliver L. Brown et. Al.  v. the Board of Education or Topeka Kansas.  It is more commonly called Brown v. Board, and although this case focused on the education of children, it also tried to show how prejudice and discrimination lead to social problems within society.  This law suit was actually 5 law suits from many different states and Washington, DC combined into one.  The first case originated in Virginia and involved a lawsuit that argued that the facilities at Robert Moton High School were inadequate.  The NAACP became involved with the law suit and would help with the other cases as well.   In 1947 the fight came to Clarendon County, South Carolina, and the case was Briggs v. Elliot.  This case involved a group of parents who sued the county with the help of the NAACP due to the inadequate school buildings and funding for African American schools compared to white schools.   They argued that in this case, separate was not equal as required in Plessy v. Ferguson.  (McWhorter, 29-32)  In 1950, the namesake of the Supreme Court case, Brown v. Board of Education, originated when the NAACP assembled a group of 13 parents who filed suit against Topeka Kansas when they attempted to enroll their children in segregated white schools and were denied entry.  (Fireside and Fuller, 5-9)  In the Delaware case of Belton v. Gebhart, the case challenged the inferior conditions of two African American schools.  Not only did the students have to ride a bus for hours to attend the black school, but it was also poorly funded, had higher teacher-student ratios, inferior facilities and extracurricular activities.  The final case was Bolling v. C. Melvin Sharpe which was brought against Washington DC.  Eleven African American students applied to attend the new John Phillip Sousa School and were denied entry because they were African Americans.  (Fireside and Fuller, 14-17) 

Although Brown v. Board of Education was successful and school districts across the nation were ordered to desegregate the schools “with all deliberate speed”, the fight was not over.    (McKissack Patricia and Fredrick, 187)  The ruling in Brown v. Board of Education is considered the moment the Civil Rights Movement began in earnest, but the African American communities did not see immediate results.  The law had been changed, but the hearts and minds of the American people would take longer.  Brown v. Board overturned Plessy v. Ferguson and determined that separate but equal was often not equal and should not be allowed.  (Aaseng, 40-45)   However, as before, American society resisted these changes, and even as late as the 1960’s there were many areas that had seen almost no change in their legal policies in regards to African Americans and equality.  (McWhorter, 33-35)  The NAACP and other support groups tried to convince black parents to enroll their children in the “white” schools, but many parents were afraid to do so because they were fearful of retaliation and harassment from groups of whites who were resistant to change. 

These fears were played out in many towns and communities in the United States.  One of the most famous were the Little Rock Nine.  Nine African American students enrolled in Central High in Little Rock, Arkansas, and the resistance was so bad that the students had to be escorted into the school and the National Guard brought in to control the crowds of angry white community members. (McKissack Patricia and Fredrick, 192-195)   Although not as well known, South Carolina also experienced violence during the segregation of schools.  In March of 1970, quite a while after the initial ruling that schools be desegregated, violence broke out in Lamar, SC.  A group of angry white community members in Darlington County were protesting the attempted desegregation of schools in Lamar.  Several bus loads of African American students were being brought into Lamar to attend a school that had been historically white.   The protestors turned violent and overturned two of those school busses.  Although the school children were not on the bus at the time of the incident, it was still an act of intimidation by the white community to keep their schools segregated.   Following the event, the National Guard and Patrolmen were brought in to ensure the safety of the school children.  After the incident, the community was highlighted in the news, nationwide, and the protests continued.  Some of the children, both white and black, chose not to return to school immediately, due to the protests and potential for violence.  This event upset the community and the school system, but along with the violence came victory for the Civil Rights movement and African Americans. (all information from this paragraph came from newspaper articles cited on Bibliography)

Although school segregation is no longer the norm in the United States and race relations have improved a great deal, the integration of schools has yet to solve the legacy left by years of struggle and turmoil. Our local schools today continue to struggle with improved achievement for African American students, the bussing of students from predominately segregated neighborhoods, and racism in general. I feel most American people have a goal of working and living in communities where there is true equality and respect for people who are of a different race, religion, or nationality.  However, the attitude of some who are trying to hold on to the attitudes of racism and prejudice are keeping this struggle alive.  As each generation passes, I believe we will see increased understanding and tolerance of one another, and with that, hopefully, we will see many of society’s problems improve.

Cultural Institution Partner

Darlington County Historical Commission


Primary Sources

Prosser, Leverne M.; “Guardsmen Seal Off Schools At Lamar.”  The News and Courier (Charleston, South Carolina). 4 March, 1970.

Violence-Attendance is Light.” Florence Morning News (Florence, South Carolina). 11 March, 1970.

Sympathizers Defend Arrested Men.” Florence Morning News (Florence, South Carolina). 8 March, 1970.

Lamar Schools Re-Open Without Violence but Little Attendance.”   Darlington News and Press (Darlington, South Carolina). 12 March, 1970.

More Arrests Are Planned In Lamar School Violence.” No information on newspaper, it came from folder # MSS 1970. 7 March, 1970.

Watson Speech Being Criticized.” No information on newspaper, it came from folder # MSS. 12 March, 1970.

Palmer, Ben S.; “McNair’s Handling of Lamar Violence Criticized.” No information on newspaper, it came from folder # MSS. 12 March, 1970. 

Warr, O.L.;  “Background on Handling on Lamar Incident.” The News and Courier (Charleston, South Carolina). 12 March, 1970.

More About Lamar.” The News and Courier (Charleston, South Carolina). 11 March, 1970.

GOP Raps McNair for Being Critical of U.S. Marshalls.” No information on newspaper, it came from folder # MSS. 6 March, 1970.

Secondary Sources

Aaseng, Nathan. You Are the Supreme Court Justice. Minneapolis, MN: The Oliver Press, Inc., 1994.

Fireside, Harvey, and Sarah Betsey Fuller. Brown v. Board of Education. Berkley Heights, NJ: Enslow Publishers, Inc., 1994.

McKissack, Patricia and Fredrick, The Civil Rights Movement in America, 2nd Edition. Chicago, Illinois: Childrens Press, 1944.

McWhorter, Diane. A Dream of Freedom: The Civil Rights Movement From 1954 to 1968. Broadway, NY: Scholastic Inc., 2004.

Stewert, Jeffrey. 1001 Things Everyone Should Know About African American History. Broadway, NY: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc., 1996.

Wolff, Karen. "From Plessy v. Ferguson to Brown v. Board of Education: The Supreme Court Rules on School Desegregation." 1997. Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, 21 December 2009.   


Copies of pictures—one set without captions and one set with captions
• Copies of newspaper articles (see Primary Sources section above) —enough for each group to have one or two
• Copies of Analyzing Historical Photos
• Copies of Analyzing a Newspaper Article sheet
• Copies of Character Analysis Sheet
• Copies of “What Have you Learned?” sheet
• LCD projector
• File with pictures to use during class discussion

Lesson Plans

Before teaching this lesson, it would be imperative that you had already taught the Reconstruction and Redemption periods; the Civil Rights Amendment; Jim Crow laws; Plessy v. Ferguson; and Brown v. Board of Education. These give the background necessary for the students to understand the topic of Civil Rights and desegregation.

1. Begin the lesson by giving the students photographs of the Lamar riot without captions or a topic heading and in groups to complete Handout 1. I personally gave some groups the page with 4 pictures on it and other groups the other two pages that each have two pictures. I felt the page with 4 pictures may lead the students to believe there had been a wreck which led to a discussion that it is important to make sure you have all of the information when reading or watching something related to history. The other 4 pictures show protesters, and there is clear emotion with some of the faces and body language.

2. After the students have completed the activity above, review with them what they have previously learned about the Civil Rights movement. The following questions can be considered to lead the discussion.

  • What was the experience like for a white student in the segregated school system?
  • How was the experience different for an African American student?
  • Do you think schools in South Carolina were segregated during this time period? Why or why not?
  • The court required that schools desegregate “with all deliberate speed”—what problems do you think may have stood in the way of actually accomplishing that goal?
  • What geographic region of the country do you think most of these problems occurred in and why?
  • Even though the African American students had the courts’ support after Brown v. Board of Education, why do you think some African American parents continued to send their students to segregated schools?
  • What other places in society did individuals fight for desegregation?

3. Provide the students with copies of the pictures that include the captions and ask the groups to read the captions and see if they help them understand the event better. The group should then complete the chart. As a class, discuss the difference the captions make.

4. Give each group one or two of the newspaper articles (see Primary Sources section above) and have them read the article and complete Activity 2—5 W’s and an H. I would determine whether or not I would give one article or two based on the length of the article and the grade level and ability of the students. Have each group or a selected number of groups come and share their article with the class. This activity is on the file named “Analyzing a Newspaper Article”.

5. Discuss the event with the class and answer questions they may have. After one group highlights the “How” of the event, see if there is a group that had a “different” story. This could lead into a discussion on bias or unfairness in the media. Obviously, at this point in American history, the stories were not always reported accurately or fairly, and this could lead into a discussion about why that was the case. I found several other articles that I chose not to use here because of the blatant use of racial slurs. I felt these would not have been appropriate for my class.

6. Watch United Streaming Video which discusses the desegregation of schools and discuss as a class.

7. Complete the “What have you learned activity”. I used this as a class discussion, but if you have a more advanced group, they could use it as an assessment.

Teacher Reflections

When registering for this course, my main goal was to learn more about the time period we studied. As a teacher of US History and SC History for almost 15 years, it always seemed that in a year, I easily made it to Reconstruction, but seldom any further. One of the reasons I struggled with getting further in the year was the fact that I was more unfamiliar with 20th century history. By taking this class, I was hoping to gain more knowledge and a better comfort level with the material so that I could better teach my students. I was also intrigued with the opportunity to visit the different locations and learn what resources were available to me in my local area. At the beginning of the class, I was not aware of what role the Master Teacher would have in the class, but Wardie had a lot of great ideas. I have been able to use some of those with my classes and have seen that some of the simplest ideas make the most impact on the student’s ability to learn the material.

As I said, when I originally signed up for this class, my main goal was to improve my knowledge base so that I could bring that information to my students. Growing up as a military brat, I feel that my education as a young person was adequate, but changing schools as often as I did left a lot of gaps. As an elementary school major in college, I never had the opportunity to study history in depth. Most of the courses I took were either basic history courses or courses related to education. When I was hired to teach SC History 15 years ago, I truly had a cursory knowledge base to teach from. Of course, the best way to learn is to teach, and it did not take me long to learn the information I needed to know to be successful as a social studies teacher. Because of time restraints and the expectation for us to teach so much in one year, it has been very difficult for me to make it to the 20th century. However, I feel another reason I have shied away from this time period is that I am not as familiar with it as I am with others. Dr. Witherspoon’s lessons were very informative, and although he was not able to go into great detail because of time, it helped me understand the events that shaped modern America. It also helped me tie events together better and understand how they effected one another. In my classes, one of the skills that I stress with my students is that even though the times are different, the dreams and desires of the human race have generally been the same throughout history. If a student can put themselves in the shoes of an historical figure and use their understanding of human nature, they can often understand many of the problems and decisions that have been made in history. Although I have not yet reached this time period in my classes yet, I have found that I have gotten farther in the class, and I have been able to tie history together better. For example, when discussing the struggle of the Up-State of South Carolina for equality following the Revolutionary War, I was able to tie it in with the struggle for African American and women’s rights of modern history. I was also able to assist the Language Arts teacher on our team when she was preparing lessons about a story written about the Vietnam War.

Having the opportunity to visit the different institutions was also beneficial. I learned a good bit of information, but also had the pleasure to see the availability of wonderful resources in the Pee Dee area. Attending Francis Marion as a college student, I passed the Hewn-Timber cabins daily, but never had the opportunity to learn about the family that lived there. Being able to go into the cabins and to be told the story about the family that lived there helped me to visualize the life of a slave living in our area. The Sumter County Museum was one of my favorite places we visited. So many of the 8th grade South Carolina History Standards are related to the contrast of life between the Low Country and the Back Country, it was great to see a museum that actually has a “Back Country homestead” built. I am hoping in the future to use that as a resource. The Hartsville Museum was also very enjoyable, and it would be good for an overview of our local community. The Florence Museum I have been to many times, but it was nice to be guided through the museum. I felt, except for the one room on the upper floor, the Florence Museum would be the least helpful to me as a teacher of SC History. So much of the museum was devoted to other countries and cultures; I would have a hard time tying that into my curriculum which is a shame considering the fact that it is the closest to my school. The opposite is true about the Cotton Museum. Just about everything there fits right into the 8th grade SC History Curriculum. I have visited the Cotton Museum many times with my students and plan to continue to do so. The students all seem to learn a lot when we go there and have a good time. It is also great because it is small enough to keep up with everyone and be able to instruct the students effectively. Just having my student have the opportunity to put their hands on cotton and handpick the seeds makes them see how much time the slaves spent processing cotton. That is the ultimate primary source and one the students remember when we return from the museum. The SC Department of Archives was fascinating and overwhelming at the same time. It was awesome seeing the charter for Carolina with the signatures and seals of the Proprietors. I felt a little overwhelmed here, and I think I would have benefited if we had the opportunity to spend a little more time there and become more familiar with the facility and research. I was amazed at the Tobacco Museum in Mullins because there was so much information packed into such a small town and small facility. It was a great museum to explore, and I learned a lot of interesting information there. The Darlington County Historical Commission was great, and it is where I found the information that I have used in my lesson. I enjoyed exploring and looking through the information they had there. Again, it is amazing that such a small place has devoted so much time and energy to preserve history. The Florence County library was interesting as well, and I found a lot of information to help me with my background information and the Civil Rights Movement. Overall, I believe this part of the Institute made each day a mini adventure and gave us a change of scenery.

The Master Teacher portion of the Institute taught me some great activities to use with my students. Sometimes as a teacher, I feel that so much of my time is taken up with the paperwork and routine of lesson plans, meetings, tests, grading papers, etc. that we don’t think about some of the simple ideas that can have a huge impact on student learning. Wardie Sanders taught me some great activities that I have taken back to my classroom. Some I have used only once or twice, but others have become a regular part of my weekly lessons. Probably the three things I now use that my students respond to the best and seem to benefit the most from are the “I have, what do you have?” activity, the matching game, and acting out the photographs or pictures. The "I have, what do you have?" is great because it gives every student an opportunity to participate and does not leave any student out. I have used it as Chapter Review and to help the students retain what they have learned. It also gives me the ability to easily incorporate differentiated instruction. The Social Studies classes at my school are not leveled, so in one class, I may have many different levels of students. With this activity, I can make sure I give the student who struggles a question that I feel he/she can answer which makes the activity a safe opportunity for the student to participate and feel successful. It is also very easy for the students to understand, and once you do it the first time, it takes very little class time to complete the activity. With some of my longer chapters, I have had the students play the game for more than one day. To keep them engaged and challenge them, I have timed the class to see if they could beat their previous time to get through the set of questions. The boys, especially, enjoy the competition, and it is fun to watch them race to get the right answer. The matching game was actually an activity that Wardie taught at our mid-year meeting. She had slips of paper in a bag and we raced in our group to try to put the slips in order. I have used this idea as a matching game. In those chapters that the students have a lot of factual information to remember, I will often use this activity. For example in the Revolutionary War, I had the name of the battles on one card and a brief description of the battle on the other. The students were in groups of 2 or 3, and they raced to match them up. They love this activity, and I have no trouble getting the students up to play, even those who tend to want to disappear. The other activity that my students really enjoy and it is a great way to see how well they understand a subject is the Tableau activity. After discussing a topic, I may find a painting or a photograph that illustrates the event and ask a group of students to position themselves as if they are the characters in the picture. I have had groups come up with a story behind the picture and present it to the class, but the one that I enjoyed the most was when I placed the students and then “interviewed” them. I did this with some pictures of people being taken captive as slaves, and it was wonderful to hear the students give real emotions to the characters, and it helped put them in the place of the character and understand the feelings involved from both sides of the issue. I have used other activities learned as well, but these by far have been the most beneficial in my class, and I enjoyed learning these simple and effective ways to engage my students and help them learn the information better.

Overall, I feel this year has been a very successful year for me, and much of that is because of the Institute. I have seen an increase in my students’ attention spans, and they really love coming in to the class never knowing what we will do that day. They like the opportunity to get up and move and to look at things on their own. Of course, I still have to rely on traditional instruction because of time restraints, but this class has helped me see that an activity doesn't have to take days to be effective, and sometimes when you give the students a chance to explore a document on their own, they can often reason better than we expect and learn a lot from the picture, article, or document. One example that I used in class that really showed me the ability of my students was when we were studying the road to the American Revolution. I put the students in groups and gave each group three excerpts from Thomas Paine’s Common Sense. In their groups, they read their three quotes, discussed them, analyzed their meaning and drew a picture to illustrate one of the quotes. They then presented their drawing to the class and explained what Thomas Paine was trying to say. Although there were a few groups during the day that struggled with this, I was amazed at how insightful most of the students were, and it was nice to see them come up with their own ideas. I am very glad I had the chance to take this class and hope that in the future I may be able to take another one.

Student Assessment

Have students complete the Character Analysis Activity. This activity will show that the students understood the feelings and actions of both groups involved in the violence surrounding desegregation. I use these in my class a good bit, so my students are very familiar with how to complete them. You may need to give more instruction if the students are not familiar with them.

Examples of Students Work

Student Work
Student Work 2
Student Work 3
Student Work 4


Dawn Gray
Southside Middle School
Florence, South Carolina