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HATTIESBURG, Miss. — Soon, civil rights lessons will be required for students from kindergarten to 12th grade all across Mississippi.

Teacher John Paola said his high school history course in southern Mississippi would be incomplete if it didn’t include an emphasis on the turbulent civil rights struggle of America’s South.

For years, the auburn-haired white man has educated students about activists in their own state who led peaceful demonstrations, and the wrath of segregationists who channeled violence to repress social change.

A civil rights/human rights curriculum becomes mandatory in all public schools for the 2011-2012 school year, five years after Gov. Haley Barbour signed the requirement into law.

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