African American Identity and Double Consciousness (Worksheet)

Du Bois organized the 1917 Silent Parade in New York to protest the East St. Louis riots. CREDIT: New York Public Library

In March 1968, only a few months before his death, Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered a speech to the SCLC entitled "A New Sense of Direction." In this excerpt, King discusses African American identity and consciousness during the 1960s Civil Rights and black power movements.

The excerpt from the speech makes an interesting comparison to W.E.B. DuBois' concept of double consciousness—the internal conflict of being both African and American—which he wrote about 65 years earlier in his 1903 book, The Souls of Black Folk. 

This worksheet puts the excerpts side-by-side and allows students to think about how the Civil Rights movement and African American identity evolved from the early to the mid-20th century.

The worksheet is available on the top right sidebar. In its original format, it should be printed on legal size paper. This activity works well in a high school American history class.