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Civil Rights to Armalites - January 1967 to April 1969

Part B

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2. Background activities

i.  Young people who are studying this period should be separated into class groups with each group looking at least one different topic or policy area. They can create a power point presentation (or something similar) on their chosen topic area, such an exercise will display cross-curricular skills (namely UICT) and thinking skills (namely WO).

  • USA Civil Rights movement and its influence
  • Why did NICRA emerge in January 1967
  • Aims and methods of NICRA by April 1969
  • Nationalist and Unionist reactions to NICRA
  • Roles of Stormont, Westminster and Dublin governments
  • Political impact of People’s Democracy
  • Reasons for the downfall of O’Neill in April 1969

Concentrating on their chosen topic areas, students must assess some of the following points:

  • The political situation in N. Ireland in January 1967
  • How the political situation in N. Ireland had changed by April 1969
  • The main political demands of NICRA
  • The influence of events in Europe and the USA on the Civil Rights movement
  • How well did O’Neill deal with NICRA and their actions between 1968 and April 1969?
  • How did Nationalists respond to the demands of NICRA and why?
  • How did Unionists respond to the demands of NICRA and why?
  • How significant was the role played by the media in the impact of NICRA by April 1969?

ii.  These class exercises could be followed up by a class discussion, in which the students can debatethe proposition “The campaign for Civil Rights had enjoyed more successes than failures by April1969? “(COMM, WO) Students could also discuss the proposition “O’Neill was solely to blame forhis own downfall in April 1969?” (COMM, WO)

iii.  To consolidate their knowledge and understanding of this period students should complete some ofthe following tasks on an individual basis (SM, PS and UM).

  1. What were the political aims of NICRA in January 1967?
  2. How many of these political aims had been achieved, firstly by April 1968 and secondly by March 1972?
  3. How were the aims and methods of People’s Democracy similar and/or different to those of NICRA?
  4. How were NICRA and People’s Democracy viewed form within the Unionist community?
  5. What measures did Stormont take to deal with the political demands of NICRA by April 1969 and why?
  6. What were the membership figures of NICRA IN 1967, 1968 and 1969?
  7. For the General Election of February 1969 give a breakdown of the overall election result for each political party elected.
  8. Draw up a timeline of important dates/events from January 1967 to April 1969.

iv.  Finally, students will update their two existing personal profiles (fact files) up to April 1969. They will also create two new personal profiles (fact files) on the following important political figures.

  • Key figure 3: Gerry Fitt
  • Key figure 4: John Hume

Each student will need to undertake his/her own independent research and use some pictorial sources (PS, SM and UICT).