Nonviolent Civic Action Time Line

Goal: Increase exposure to the history of nonviolent action

Objective:  Participants will be able to

  • List nonviolent movements, campaigns and struggles throughout history
  • Identify tactics and methods that nonviolent movements have used
  • Research various moments, times, and themes in history
  • Design a time line of nonviolent movements
  • Collectively learn and research together the history of nonviolent struggles

Materials:  flip chart or dry erase board, pens/markers, library or internet

Time: One day or one week


  1. Assign each participant a particular time range (e.g. 1900 – 1920, 2000-2010, etc.), a specific theme in history (e.g. environment, anti-war, women’s rights, etc.), or a specific region/country of the world (e.g. Middle East, Europe, Asia, East Asia, etc.) (1-2 days)
  2. Explain that each students will be given a certain amount of time to research and learn about a nonviolent movement that corresponds with the theme or time range they were assigned. (3 minutes)
  3. After each student has gathered information for their nonviolent movement, the whole class comes together and places their nonviolent movement along a large time line made out of flip chart or written on the chalk board.  On the top of the time line they should write something about how the movement or campaign defined or defines itself (e.g. March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom) and any specific individuals or groups that think were integral parts of the movement/campaign.  On the bottom of the time line they list the methods and tactics that the movement used (e.g. public declarations, protest march, boycott, etc.).  (10 minutes)
  4. Once all the students have placed their movement on the time line, everyone is asked to read what others have contributed and to look specifically for movements of which they know very little.  They should start thinking of questions they may have about those movements.  What else would they like to know?  They should also be looking for movements of which they do have some knowledge and start thinking about additional information they could add to the movement. (10 minutes)
  5. Once the students are finished looking at the time line they are broken into small groups, where they share with each other what they learned from the time line and what they would like to add.
  6. Reflection questions for the entire group would be…

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