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Grade 7 Timeline Highlights Milestones in Civil Rights History

Emily Parrelli’s Grade 7 English class transformed painstaking research into an inspiring and instructive timeline in Patton Hall.
All students in Grade 7 study some aspect of the Civil Rights Movement. Ms. Parrelli’s class read Marching for Freedom by Elizabeth Partridge, which covers the march from Selma to Montgomery and the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Parrelli assigned a piece of the timeline to each student—from the passage of the 13th Amendment in 1864 through the opening of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in 2014. Students researched their topics and then created their poster to inform and inspire the Ensworth community.

“Our seventh graders have approached this subject matter with inquiry and respect,” Parrelli observes. “One of the continuing discussions in class is that we learn the most about ourselves when we honestly examine both the beautiful and the ugly parts of our history. The posters do not shy away from these events.”

The completion of the timeline coincided with the days leading up to Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The class will continue the Civil Rights unit by reading The Rock and the River by Kekla Magoon, who will be visiting the Middle School for a Patchwork assembly on Tuesday, February 5.

“Her book follows an African-American boy whose father is a follower of Dr. King, and whose brother is a member of the Black Panthers,” Parrelli describes. “Their family is at a crisis point when Dr. King is assassinated.”

In reflecting on the project, Ms. Parrelli said, “Dr. King said, ‘Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.’ It is an honor to be a part of a community that values both.”


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