Lesson Plans

1950 to Present

No Retreat on Civil Rights
Author: Sherry M. Weiss
School: Rockville High
Grade Level: 9th
Time Estimated: 2 days

Enduring Understanding

Benjamin Hooks and the NAACP organized a silent march on Washington DC to protest what he called the "legal lynching" of civil rights in the US (referring to recent Supreme Court decisions. At this time, many were calling the NAACP "ineffective" or "outdated."


Students will be able to synthesize information and inferences gleaned from several primary source materials and evaluate the impact of Benjamin Hooks' leadership of the NAACP during a time of crisis.


Unit 9.6: "The Struggle for Power in Post War America"
Lesson 2.2: "Struggle for Political Power through Leadership"



Day 1

  1. As students enter class flyers for the march will be passed out. They will have several minutes to speculate on what it is and why they've received it.
  2. The Memo from Benjamin Hooks will be projected and students will be asked to make a list and isolate specific examples of leadership tactics Hooks utilized.

Day 2

  1. Students will be given the article from Jet and asked to analyze the leadership methodologies via a graphic organizer (Inspiration).


Students will use the Internet to access further information about this event and speculate on what he/she was able, or unable to locate. This is a "red herring" assignment.


Students in on-level classes will be directed to spend no more than 15 minutes trying to locate viable information using Britannica online, and ProQuest Historical Newspapers.


On day two, students will create a graphic organizer (and outline) using Inspiration. The organizer will detail leadership tactics used by Hooks and whether or not they were successful.

References: Web


Benjamin Hooks. "Memorandum from NAACP Executive Director Benjamin Hooks to all NAACP Units and Supporters of the August 26, 1989 Silent March on Washington re: the Silent March on Washington." July 25, 1989. Washington, D.C. Typescript. NAACP Records, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress. http://myloc.gov/Exhibitions/naacp/renewalofstruggle/ExhibitObjects/Memo1989SilentMarch.aspx?ImageId=2384184a-38fc-45cd-9cc0-2250611dd236:007a06e4-4d72-4dc9-ac28-612fe14ed9c1:33
July 26, 1989 memo from Benjamin Hooks to NAACP supporters of the planned August silent march on Washington DC (patterned after the 1917 march).
NAACP's Symbolic Silent March Protesting the Recent Decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court on Affirmative Action and Minority Set-asides. Saturday, August 26, 1989, Washington, D.C. Flyer. NAACP Records, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress. http://myloc.gov/Exhibitions/naacp/renewalofstruggle/ExhibitObjects/Flyerforthe1989SilentMarch.aspx
Flyer advertising the 1989 silent march on Washington DC. The flyer uses a detail from the panoramic picture of the 1917 march. W.E.B. duBois and James Weldon figure prominently marching behind a row of drummers.
"NAACP March Protests 'Legal Lynching' of Civil Rights in U.S." Jet September 11, 1989. http://books.google.com/books?id=rLsDAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA4&lpg=PA4&dq=jesse+jackson+silent+march+1989&source=bl&ots=W3GMxffBX9&sig=IXufdMC3nEh4vOtlYvoq307gNqA=en&ei=V-K8S-izDY6W8AT2lOmDCA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=7&ved=0CBYQ6AEwBg#v=onepage&q=jesse%20jackson%20silent%20march%201989&f=false
Jet magazine article (w/ picture).