Programs & Events

6-Day, July 5-10: The Civil Rights Movement

Due to the growing health crisis and restrictions on in-person gatherings, the Gilder Lehrman Institute will not be able to offer in-person Teacher Seminars this summer. We are working on an alternative offering for the summer. Please visit for updates.

In partnership with the National Civil Rights Museum


Charles McKinney, Neville Frierson Bryan Chair of Africana Studies and Associate Professor of History, Rhodes College


In 1966, while on the “March Against Fear” from Memphis to Jackson, Mississippi, Stokely Carmichael and other members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee began chanting the slogan “Black Power!” For many activists in the Civil Rights Movement—and a critical mass of the larger public—the phrase conjured ominous images of unfettered black violence and nihilism. However, the concept of Black Power was not new in 1966. Carmichael’s declaration was another articulation of the aims and goals of the African American freedom struggle. Since before the founding of the nation, that struggle had been focused on self-determination and full participation and recognition in American society. Spanning the length of the American experiment, this struggle represents the continual effort to confront one of the central contradictions in American life—racial repression woven into the fabric of American freedom.

This seminar examines the historical origins of Black Power and its impact on the United States. Using Memphis, Tennessee, as a focal point, the seminar will explore the political, cultural, and economic elements of Black Power, and the impact of this ideology from the 1960s to the contemporary moment. Seminar participants will visit the National Civil Rights Museum, and will also tour The Stax Museum of American Soul Music and Historic Beale Street. Participants will get an opportunity to gather information on digital resources and archival material that may be used in the creation of lesson plans and syllabi. 

Travel & Accommodations

Participants are responsible for making their own travel arrangements; the Institute will provide a travel stipend of $350. Read the policy here.

Memphis International Airport serves more than 90 cities with direct flights, and the museum is a short drive from the airport. 

Workshop participants will have their own rooms in college residence halls. Bathrooms and common space will be shared on each floor. Participants should bring laptops as computer access on campus will be limited.

The college provides basic bedding and towels only. Participants should plan to bring alarm clocks, shower shoes, hangers, irons, and hair dryers. There are a few communal kitchenettes located in the building, but not within each suite; participants should bring their own utensils. Housekeeping services are provided throughout the week.


Meals will be served in a college cafeteria in space shared by other programs. All on-campus meals will be paid for by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.


Please be sure to review the Institute’s policies on independent school teacher participation and travel stipends before applying.


Email the Teacher Seminars department or call 646-366-9666.

Seminar Year: 2019-2020