Opposition to the Vietnam War by Various Communities (by Hugo Valencia)


 After this two day lesson plan students will be able to identify some of the causes that increased opposition to the Vietnam War and the roles that communities of color played.  Students will analyze how different organizations influenced each other and eventually came to the same conclusion that the United States should withdraw from Vietnam.  


The activities will allow students to see how various communities of color came together as one to create the anti-war movement of the 1960’s. Students will analyze primary sources from different organizations to determine what the message is and how that message affects other minority groups during that time. By comparing the different dynamics of each group students will be able to realize how those dynamics influenced the nation and the people who lived in it.

Students will discover what causes thousands of people to protest against their own government. They will see how people of different social economic status, gender, race, age, and religion combine their efforts for a common cause regardless of the fact that each group might have different specific goals.


Conditions at home led many communities of color to oppose the war in Vietnam.


  1.  How did different groups at the time influence other organizations?
  2.  What role did media play in aiding the anti-war movement?
  3.  How did the conditions at home affect how people in the United States saw the war abroad?
  4.  Why were youth so active in the anti-war movement?


The Vietnam War lasted from November 1, 1955 through April 30, 1975. Besides the War abroad the United States also experienced a time of change at home.  The Black Freedom Struggle in Montgomery showed the way for other activists who wanted change for various oppressed communities living in the United States. Various groups formed as a result, some more radical than others. Some of the emerging groups were the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee(SNCC), the United Farm Workers of America (UFWA),  The Young Lords Party, The Black Panthers, and The Brown Berets to name a few.  All of these groups believed in self-determination and refused assimilation.

In 1968 the Vietnam War reached its peak. More people were being drafted and as the war continued those drafted tended to be minorities. People were tired of all the violence and after about a decade of war the anti-war movement reached its full potential. Various groups and organizations began to protest the war, eventually putting enough pressure on the government for them to pull the troops out of Vietnam.


<a href=” http://pages.pomona.edu/~tfs04747/25CH/DCR/DCR10_aztlan.pdf”> El Plan Espiritual de Aztlán</a>

-<a href=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=famNeiosTVk>Chicano Moratorium</a>

-<a href=” http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC/pacificaviet/riversidetranscript.html> Why I Oppose the War in Vietnam</a>

–  <a href=” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xuUBCF3KKxc”>Country Joe & the Fish — Vietnam song</a>


Day 1(One Hour Class)

Activity 1(Approximately 30 Minutes):  Teacher is to break students up into several small groups consisting of 4 students each.  The teacher should hand out a copy of “El Plan Espiritual De Aztlan” to each student.  The teacher then instructs the students that they have 20 minutes to analyze the document and come up with a two minute skit that each group will present in front of the class in regards to what the students think the document is portraying.  After a group presents the group then explains what their understanding of the document was and answer any questions their classmates might have about the skit.

Activity 2(Approximately 20 Minutes):  Teacher will play “Chicano Moratorium” video and then discuss with the entire class. Some topics that should be brought up are how the police interacted with the community, the consequences of the interactions, and how the event influences other communities of color and their perception on law enforcement.

Activity 3(Approximately 10 Minutes): Teachers should summarize the main points and answer any questions the students might have. Teacher will assign a short homework assignment. Students are to come up with a list of what they would use to communicate a message to the public.

Day 2(One Hour Class)

Activity 4(Approximately 15 Minutes):  Students will share their homework assignment.  The class will discuss how newspapers, television, radio, and pictures help spread messages across the country.

Activity 5(Approximately 20 Minutes):  Teacher will pass out excerpt from Dr. King’s speech, “Why I am Opposed to the War in Vietnam”.  The whole speech is provided for convenience but I recommend that only the 7th-9th paragraph be analyzed. The class should discuss the speech. Some topics to discuss will be how social economic class shaped the way people saw the war. Students should also discuss how inequalities at home decreased the support for the war.  It is important to acknowledge that even thought Dr. King is part of the black community his speech influenced people of all parts of society.

Activity 6(Approximately 10 Minutes):  The video “Country Joe & the Fish — Vietnam Song” is played by the teacher for the class. Teacher should emphasize that not only minorities were against the war in Vietnam. Although the different communities might have different reasons for opposing the war, they all shared the same anti-war sentiment.  The teacher should also discuss how music helped create the anti-war movement.

Activity 7(Approximately 15 Minutes):  Recap of the anti-war movement. How various communities of color opposed it and how those communities influenced each other.


-Oropeza, Lorena. Raza Sí!, Guerra No!: Chicano Protest and Patriotism during the Viet      Nam War Era. Berkeley: University of California, 2005. Print.

– Ramos, Henry. The American GI Forum: In Pursuit of the Dream, 1948-1983. Houston,     TX: Arte Público, 1998. Print.

Haney-López, Ian. Racism on Trial: The Chicano Fight for Justice. Cambridge, MA: Belknap of Harvard UP, 2003. Print.


– Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources,

connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.

 – Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.

 – Analyze in detail how a complex primary source is structured, including how key sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text contribute to the whole.

 – Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem.

 – Students analyze how change happens at different rates at different times; understand that some aspects can change while others remain the same; and understand that change is complicated and affects not only technology and politics but also values and beliefs.

 – Examine the roles of civil rights advocates (e.g., A. Philip Randolph, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Thurgood Marshall, James Farmer, Rosa Parks), including the significance of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” and “I Have a Dream” speech.

 – Discuss the diffusion of the civil rights movement of African Americans from the churches of the rural South and the urban North, including the resistance to racial desegregation in Little Rock and Birmingham, and how the advances influenced the agendas, strategies, and effectiveness of the quests of American Indians, Asian Americans, and Hispanic Americans for civil rights and equal opportunities.






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