Research Paper Outline for the Civil Rights Museum Project
Here is an outline to help you structure your civil rights research paper. You need to make sure to include
all of the following areas. The introduction should be one paragraph, but the rest of the sections will be
more. Explain chronologically how the movement evolved - as opposed to randomly explaining what you
learned from one reading, then another, then another until you hit the page limit and print. You need to
create your own outline for your paper. Good luck, and have fun demonstrating what you’ve learned!
Title (Your Essential Question)
a. Thesis Statement: a brief and tightly worded answer to your Essential Question) Reminder:
History papers begin with this in the introduction and English papers end with it.
b. Introduce topic: Which civil rights struggle? When?
c. Introduce the complexity of this struggle: mention the intersectionality (where race, class,
gender, sexuality, ability, and age collide) involved in this paper.
d. Overview of what this movement accomplished
a. Explain what life was like for citizens in this community in the 1950s/1960s/1970s (whenever
your power-movement started)? Cite examples.
b. Historic events that were tipping points in organizing for a movement
c. Cultural forces at play that triggered the above events
d. Immediate effects of these events: how did institutions respond?
Struggle for Civil Rights*
a. Identify how people organized in community response to the events above
b. They were fighting for rights to __________. (This is a great place for quotes from speeches!)
c. Emerging leaders – who / how / what was their story?
d. Examine who found themselves excluded. How? Why?
(Expand upon intersectionality! If you are focusing on pink power, bring in Audre Lorde or
Angela Davis to show how radical activists and women of color were excluded from the
white-middle-class feminism that mainstream America often remembers today.
a. Backlash from people in positions of power
b. Community response
c. Controversial events / protests / outcomes of the movement building
Successes and Failures *
a. Explain successes that have come out of this movement. How did it change America?
b. Areas where the movement fell short. Give reasons for it.
c. Name some organizations that were established and are continuing this work.
a. Explain what you personally learned about civil rights and creating change in society
b. State why your topic and EQ were relevant to civil rights struggles in the US
c. Next steps for the movement (if the issues have been resolved)
*Great place to mention how the arts affected social thinking and enabled participation in the movement. Cite at
least one example of how visual and performing artists and writers wove these issues into their work during your
time period. What were they inspired by? How was that influential to the public? What did their work inspire in
others? You don’t have to mention this in all asterisked areas, but in at least one of those areas. Hint: this is where
you can mention your 3rd quarter ORB.