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Henry B. Gonzalez - Curriculum - 11th Grade

Making More Places at the Table:
A Curriculum Unit focusing on the American Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s

Henry B. Gonzalez serving as Banking Committee chairman. Gonzalez (Henry B.) Papers, CAH; E-HGB-0015.

Henry B. Gonzalez serving as Banking Committee chairman. Gonzalez (Henry B.) Papers, CAH; E-HBG-0029.

11th Grade – Lesson Plan:

Politicians Supporting Change Through Legislation
Henry B. Gonzalez,
United States House of Representatives

Download Lesson Plan and Handouts (.pdf)

Download all images (.zip)

Enduring Understanding(s):

  • The Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s did not happen in political or social isolation. Many different people working in a variety of ways made important contributions that led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the other legislative and historical milestones.

  • The use of nonviolence as a political strategy is an American tradition.

  • The success of the Civil Rights Movement was due to both the public events that captured the hearts of the American public and the support of individuals and institutions.

  • African Americans were not the only group to benefit from the Civil Rights Movement.

Essential Question(s):

What does it take to bring more people to the "table of power?"

How have American citizens expanded their participation in the democratic process?


7 (A) Trace the Civil Rights Movement in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries

7 (B) Identify Civil Rights Leaders including Martin Luther King, Jr.

18 (A) Identify and analyze methods of expanding the right to participate in the democratic process including lobbying, protesting, court decisions, and amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

18 (B) Evaluate various means of achieving equality of political rights

24 (C) Explain and apply different methods that historians use to interpret the past, including the use of primary and secondary sources, points of view, frames of reference, and historical context.


The student will:

  1. Read a short biography about Henry B. Gonzalez

  2. Examine primary source documents from Congressman Gonzalez’ personal papers related to his contributions to the Civil Rights Movement.



Biography of Henry B. Gonzalez

Discussion Matrix

Henry B. Gonzalez shaking hands with Lyndon Johnson

Copy of newsletter dated July – October 1964

Copy of Congressional Record page dated June 17, 1965

Letter dated January 17, 1969 from President Johnson to HBG

Letter dated December 13, 1972 from President Johnson to HBG

Letter dated February 20, 1973 from Lady Bird Johnson to HBG

Anticipatory Set (Attention-Getter):

The teacher will:

  1. Display the photograph of Henry B. Gonzalez shaking hands with Lyndon Johnson

  2. Ask: Can you identify either of these men? What do you know about their contributions to American life? What conclusions can you draw about their relationship from the photograph? (The students could use the questions from the Images and History handout to examine this picture but not too much time should be spent on this part of the lesson.)


  1. The teacher will:

    1. Introduce the lesson:

      The second strategy that was used to promote the Civil Rights Movement was working for change using the power that comes with election to public office.

      Henry B. Gonzalez served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1961–1998.

  2. The students will:

    Read the biography provided to learn more about Congressman Henry B. Gonzalez.

  3. The teacher will:

    Divide the class into five groups. Each group will receive a primary source document associated with Congressman Gonzalez and a matrix on which to record their answers.

  4. The students will:

    1. Examine the documents using the APPARTS questions handout

    2. Complete the matrix column for the document they are examining.

    3. Present the document and their conclusions to the class. Each group records the answers as they are presented.


Matrix will be evaluated on completeness and accuracy.


The teacher will ask the students to develop a statement that summarizes what they learned about Henry B. Gonzalez’ contribution to the Civil Rights Movement.