Vocabulary for the "Ruby Bridges and the Civil Rights Movement Slide Show," Grades 3-8

A vocabulary list to accompany the slide show that is part of the "Ruby Bridges: A Simple Act of Courage" unit

  • Grades: 3–5, 6–8

This vocabulary list is drawn from the "Ruby Bridges and the Civil Rights Movement Slide Show Teaching Guide." 

verb: to verbally debate by providing reasons for or against an issue, especially as part of a court case

noun: a physical barrier or obstruction used to control individuals or masses

noun: the act of one group of people stopping a second group from entering or leaving a defined area

civil disobedience
noun: the act of refusing to obey laws in order to direct the government’s attention to an issue and influence social change.

During the civil rights movement, many activist organizations used forms of civil disobedience, such as sit-ins, as nonviolent protests.

adjective: in agreement with the rules and values of the legal foundation of a nation, such as the United States Constitution

verb: to end the separation of two groups of people, or to free of laws or practices that have maintained this separation, in an area or facility

noun: biasedly treating one person or one group differently from others based on something other than merit

noun: the act of denying a person or group of people privileges, immunities, or legal rights, especially the right to vote

verb: to compel people to do what is required of them, usually in support of a law

equal protection  
: the law that all states must treat all individuals equally in similar circumstances; a guarantee under the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution

adjective: part of or related to a central government.

In the United States, “federal” specifically means part of or related to the government of the United States as a whole, rather than the government of any particular state.

noun: a popular symbol, possibly an individual; a person who is popular and admired

noun: an attribute of being unequal or uneven; an instance of two or more groups of people being treated in different or unfair ways

adjective: less worthy or of a lower quality than something else

verb: to bring together people, usually of different races or religions, and to provide them with equality in society or an organization.

During the civil rights movement, integration meant ending segregation in an area or public facility, as well as revoking laws that were maintaining segregation.

Jim Crow law 
noun: any of the laws in the southern United States that treated African Americans as second-class citizens. Such laws prevented people of color from voting; required railroad and bus companies provide separate accommodations for different races; and legally separated white and African American students into different schools.

adjective: in accordance with the law; of or relating to the law or lawyers

noun: a law enforcement officer who ensures that federal laws and court decisions are being carried out

noun: the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, an organization founded on February 12, 1909, that works to obtain equal rights for all Americans

: something said or done that announces disagreement or disapproval; an organized public event at which people demonstrate disagreement or disapproval

noun: the belief that certain races, or skin colors, are inherently superior to other races; any actions that are based on this belief

noun: something to which an individual has or should have moral or legal claim; the items and abilities granted to United States citizens as outlined in the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and Constitutional amendments

noun: the practice of separating people into different areas, usually because of their race, class, or ethnic group.

In the United States, segregation resulted in separate schools, bathrooms, sports teams, bus seats, drinking fountains, and other public facilities for African Americans and whites.

verb: to break  a law; to do something that is illegal or not allowed

  • Subjects:
    Civil Rights, Vocabulary, 1960s America, Civil Rights Movement, Black History Month

Resources for Teachers

Common Core-Aligned Lesson Plans

Slide Show Teaching Guides