My Country ‘Tis of Thee:
How One Song Reveals the History of Civil Rights
The University of Alabama
My Country ‘Tis of Thee: How One Song Reveals the History of Civil Rights offers insights into the historic significance of the song’s familiar melody as an instrument for change Protesting for freedom is universal, and songs have long provided a sense of solidarity and a means to communicate messages for protesters with strong beliefs about various causes. By hearing an instrumental recording, students first engage in an activity to identify the song, which, since 1831, has been known as “America” to many in the USA. Students become familiar with concepts and historic people named throughout the book by manipulating and sorting concept cards. Using historic events depicted in the book, students create timelines using a technological timeline tool. Then, after listening to a read-aloud of the book, they use clues to match different sets of lyrics with corresponding historical events. Civil rights history is revealed through different lyrics of this song.