Using Nonviolence to Fight Oppression: Examining the Impact of Mahatma Gandhi on Social Change Movements

In this lesson plan students will examine the influence of Mahatma Gandhi and the Hindu concept of ahimsa (nonviolence) on leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. and César Chávez. Students will learn about these leaders, the social change movements used to overcome oppressive ideologies and conditions through nonviolent means, and the unique role played by women in these movements, including Sarojini Naidu, Ella Baker, and Dolores Huerta. Students will research these movements while filling out the accompanying Circles of Oppression chart to identify the ideology and the ways it impacted institutional, internal, and interpersonal conditions.

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  • Social Studies
  • History
  • Ethnic Studies

Grade Level

  • 10-12th grade


  • 2 x 60-minute classes