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Chronological Reasoning and Causation

1965 Front Page News: Exploring Digitized Issues of The Buffalo Criterion

  • Documents in this Activity:
  • Historical Era:

    Contemporary United States (1965 - present)

  • Thinking Skill:

    Historical Comprehension

  • Grade Level:

    High School

  • Topics:

    African Americans
    Civil Rights

  • Primary Source Types:

    Written Document

  • Regions:

    Western New York

  • Creator:

    NYS Archives Partnership Trust Education Team

  1. Load The Buffalo Criterion., January 09, 1965, Page 1 in Main Image Viewer

Suggested Teaching Instructions


Title: 1965 Front Page News: Exploring Digitized Issues of The Buffalo Criterion


Overview: The Buffalo Criterion Newspaper is the oldest, continuously published Black Newspaper in Western New York founded in 1925. The Buffalo and Erie County Public Library has made issues from 1952-1973 accessible via NYS Historic Newspapers. Many students are unaware of its existence, much less the legacy of the Black Press as a vehicle for promoting advocacy, social change and excellence in the Black community. 

Goal: This lesson is intended to familiarize students with the digital collection of the Buffalo Criterion newspaper available via the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library as well as sharpen students information literacy and analytical skills.

Objectives: Students will be able to:

  • recount the history and significance of the Black Press

  • analyze the content found on The Buffalo Criterion front page

  • identify parts of the front page of The Buffalo Criterion front page

  • identify Black American achievements, concerns, and societal happenings in 1965

  • access and navigate the NYS Historic Newspapers site

Investigative (Compelling) Question: How did the Buffalo Criterion respond to the news, especially as it pertains to Black Americans in 1965?

Time Required - Two class periods

Recommended Grade Range - 11th Grade

Subject: Library and Social Studies 


International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE)

1.3 Knowledge Constructor

Students critically curate a variety of resources using digital tools to construct knowledge, produce creative artifacts and make meaningful learning experiences for themselves and others.

1.3.b Students evaluate the accuracy, perspective, credibility, and relevance of information, media, data or other resources.

1.3.c Students curate information from digital resources using a variety of tools and methods to create collections of artifacts that demonstrate meaningful connections or conclusions.

1.3.d Students build knowledge by actively exploring real-world issues and problems, developing ideas and theories and pursuing answers and solutions.

Grade 11 United States History and Government 

11.10a  After World War II, long-term demands for equality by African Americans led to the civil rights movement. The efforts of individuals, groups, and institutions helped to redefine African American civil rights, though numerous issues remain unresolved.

English Language Arts

Comprehension and Collaboration:


Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11-12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.


Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that probe reasoning and evidence; ensure a hearing for a full range of positions on a topic or issue; clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions; and promote divergent and creative perspectives

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas:


Present information, findings, and supporting evidence, conveying a clear and distinct perspective, such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning, alternative or opposing perspectives are addressed, and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and a range of formal and informal tasks.

Credits: Ayodele Ojumu


Materials Used: 

  • The Black Press: Soldiers Without Swords Worksheet

  • The Black Criterion Newspaper Analysis Worksheet

  • Reflection Sheet on The Black Press and Buffalo Criterion 1965 Front Pages

Resources Used: 


Day 1: Analyze the News 

  • Students will view the Black Press video as a class. Students will answer questions using The Black Press: Soldiers Without Swords Worksheet while watching the video. 

    • Stop the video at 1:42. Students should answer question 1.

    • Stop at 4:47. Students should answer question 2.

    • Stop at 6:09. Students should answer question 3. 

    • Start at 43:07. Stop at 44:45. Students should answer question 4. 

    • Start at 46:01. Stop at 52:22. Students should answer question 5.

  • The class will convene to discuss student responses to the The Black Press: Soldiers Without Swords Worksheet.  

Day 2: Front Page Content and Elements 

  • Newspaper sections and terms will be reviewed and discussed as a class.

  • Librarian will teach students how to access and navigate the The Buffalo Criterion digital collection. Front pages for January - March of 1965  are linked here. April-December of 1965 are linked here.  

  • Students will be split into groups. The thirty-two (32) issues of the 1965 Buffalo Criterion will be divided evenly amongst the groups. Students will collaboratively analyze the newspaper issues assigned to them.  Groups will choose 4 front pages and complete The Buffalo Criterion Analysis Worksheet. Each student should record the group’s responses on their own paper or digital copy.

  • The class will convene to share out. 

  • Students will independently answer the reflection question on The Black Press and Buffalo Criterion 1965 Front Pages Reflection Sheet. 


In addition to the concluding reflection exit ticket on the essential question, student worksheets, group work, and class participation will be evaluated for understanding.