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A 2nd Honeymoon – 5th Graders Right a 60 Year Old Civil Wrong!

Fifth graders at Bear Tavern Elementary school in Hopewell Township, New Jersey learned about a true story that didn’t end right. So they decided to try to change the ending!

About 60 years ago, Reverend Gilbert Caldwell had just married his sweetheart, Grace. They set out on their honeymoon from North Carolina on a big trip to a resort in Pennsylvania.

When the hotel greeted them, and saw the color of their skin, they made up excuses to not allow them to stay there. So, after all of the travel and looking forward to their dream honeymoon, the Caldwell’s had to celebrate their honeymoon somewhere else.

When Reverend Gilbert returned home, he decided things in the USA needed to change. So he joined the Civil Rights Movement. He worked side by side with Martin Luther King, Jr. to promote Civil Rights. He took part in some of the most important Civil Rights events in US history and helped bring about change.

More recently, his focus has been to teach kids about the civil rights movement. So, he and his wife travel around to schools to talk about the Civil Rights Movement and segregation. He often shares their honeymoon story to help kids imagine what it was really like back then.

The 5th graders at Bear Town Elementary heard their story. It moved them…to action.

They decided to write letters to the resort to change the ending of the story. When the owners read the story they, in turn, decided to take action.

And the Caldwell’s, 60 years later, were given a second honeymoon at the resort for free! Thanks to the kindness and compassion of some young people, a couple’s lives were changed forever. Check this very inspiring video below that tells their story:

Additional Resources:

Topics for Discussion:

  • How did hearing the Caldwell’s story make you feel?
  • What character traits did the student exhibit?
  • Is there someone you know who is not treated fairly?  Is there anything you can do about it?
  • What does it mean to show empathy?

Take Action:

  • Have a talk with your parents or grandparents about their experience of the civil rights movement.
  • Visit the Civil Rights Movement Veterans website to learn more about this movement, how it has affected people throughout American history, and how it still affects people today.

Teacher Features:

  • Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for elementary school students.
  • Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for middle school students.


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