Teaching Civil Rights to Elementary Students

With the recent death of Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, and the arrival of Black History month in February, this January is a great month to teach Civil Rights in your homeschool. Civil Rights are constantly discussed in some form on the news, and many times a day we see something fly by about them on our Facebook feed. Whether it is remembering great strides in freedom, or exposing civil oppression, there is always something happening around the world to catch our eye and get our hearts pumping about Civil Rights.

Teaching Civil Rights

Why do people become so emotional about Civil Rights? What is a civil right anyway?

These are great questions to use when teaching Civil Rights to your elementary student. And as you freely discuss the answers, more questions will develop. As you speak about laws, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Civil War, why people immigrate to the United States, and how people can be oppressed today, you will be helping your child to begin thinking critically about our political process and social circles.

What does the Bible say about Civil Rights?

Throughout scripture God’s people are encouraged to give to the poor and help those who are oppressed. {Psalm 82:3, Isaiah 1:17, James 2:1-4} We are to love justice and walk humbly before our God. But there are times when we believers forget that when we accept the gift of salvation we are placing ourselves under the Headship of Jesus. He is to be our Perfect Master and we are His slaves. In a sense we “give up” our rights so that we might surrender ourselves to the Lord Jesus. We are then to walk in the Spirit with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.

The scriptures are a great beginning point for learning about Civil Rights. The Ten Commandments reflect a godly way to relate to others. The entire history of Israel exemplifies how people groups can be oppressed and then turn around and oppress others. The stories of Jesus shine light on unspeakable prejudice among neighbors. If anything, Christians should be experts on how to treat people justly.

Yet throughout history we do not see that justice magnified on a regular basis.

And that is why our kids need to know about the history of Civil Rights. We do not want the ugliness of history to repeat itself. Studying great examples of change and awful examples of prejudice through honest dialogue is a good way to help our children be aware of underlying feelings and motivations of others.

Below are some free resources to help you begin your look at Civil Rights. May your family find amazing ways to love those around you, and brake the walls of race and prejudice that may exist in your town.


Anne Marie has a passion for Bible study and teaching the Word to adults and children. She blogs at futureflyingsaucers.com