Using Reconstruction to Understand Today’s Racial Tensions

Posted by Andrew Reese on July 28, 2016

 One hundred and fifty years ago, two massacres in 1866 – one in Memphis and one in New Orleans galvanized national opposition to the Reconstruction policies that President Andrew Johnson enacted. These policies offered almost no protection to newly freed slaves in the aftermath of the Civil War.

How can confronting challenging historical moments like these become a step toward truth and reconciliation around issues of race that we face today? First, we need to understand the history behind them.

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Topics: Democracy, Reconstruction, Race and Membership, American History, Truth and Reconciliation

My Facing History Journey, Part 2

Posted by Dayauna Boyd on July 26, 2016

A Facing History classroom is about more than just history. That's why Amy McLaughlin-Hatch asked her students at Southeastern Regional Vocational Technical High School in South Easton, Massachusetts to describe Facing History and give advice to their peers taking the course next year. We're featuring two of these student voices in a two-part series to show just how transformative this experience can be. Amy was a recipient of a 2015 Margot Stern Strom Innovation Grant. You can read more about her MSS Grant project here

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Topics: Classrooms, History, Holocaust and Human Behavior, Bystander, Upstander

My Facing History Journey, Part 1

Posted by Melissa Spinola on July 26, 2016

A Facing History classroom is about more than just history. That's why Amy McLaughlin-Hatch asked her students at Southeastern Regional Vocational Technical High School in South Easton, Massachusetts to describe Facing History and give advice to their peers taking the course next year. We're featuring two of these student voices in a two-part series to show just how transformative this experience can be. Amy was a recipient of a 2015 Margot Stern Strom Innovation Grant. You can read more about her MSS Grant project here

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Topics: Classrooms, History, Holocaust and Human Behavior, Bystander, Upstander

The Holocaust and Human Behavior in Today’s World

Posted by Michael Fox and Megan Freund on July 21, 2016

Two years ago, the Anderson School in New York City partnered with Facing History and Ourselves to bring the Holocaust and Human Behavior curriculum into our eighth grade Social Studies and English Language Arts classes. This period of history is so widely studied but often the dark nature of it is hard for young students to grasp. That’s why we were excited to bring an interdisciplinary approach to our students’ learning that not only taught them the basics of the history but also engaged them on a deeper level of reflection on issues in their own lives.

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Topics: History, Holocaust and Human Behavior, ELA, Holocaust Education

Facing History with Star Wars

Posted by Cass R. Sunstein on July 18, 2016

At Facing History, we love finding connections to our work everywhere, even in Star Wars. It turns out we aren’t the only one! Author Cass R. Sunstein shares an excerpt from his newly released book, The World According to Star Wars.

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Topics: Film, History

Bringing the “Beloved Community” Into The Classroom

Posted by Steven Becton on July 12, 2016

Bringing current events into the classroom creates some very interesting challenges for teachers. The classroom is a community of diverse people with diverse stories, experiences, and points of view. The teacher is not just an instructor but also a member of the community with their own stories, experiences, and points of view. How do educators navigate their own personal feelings while creating safe space for students to share? How do educators walk the fine line between teaching and telling, between educating and indoctrinating? These are important questions educators must grapple with when charged with creating social and emotional safe spaces for discussing current events.

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Topics: Safe Schools, Racism, Social Justice, reflection

How You Can Help Students See Other Viewpoints

Posted by Nelson Graves on July 11, 2016

Recent events in Baton Rouge, suburban Minneapolis, and Dallas have shown that it has never been more important for all of us to understand viewpoints that differ from our own. Official online sources can be powerful tools for developing students' perspectives, according to Nelson Graves, journalist and founder of News-Decoder.

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Topics: News, Stereotype, Journalism, Teaching Strategy, Lesson Ideas

Passing on a Survivor's Legacy One Hug at a Time

Posted by Caren Osten on July 6, 2016

On July 2, Elie Wiesel - Holocaust survivor, Nobel Laureate, writer, political activist, and professor - passed away at 87 years old. He committed his life to keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive because he understood the dangers of history repeating itself. Now, in honor of his memory, we share a story of a second-generation Holocaust survivor who is passing on her mother's legacy one hug at a time.  

Caren Osten hugs one of the students at Ellis Prep Academy in the Bronx. 

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Topics: Immigration, Survivor Testimony, Holocaust Education

Talking About Race with the New York Times

Posted by Adam Strom on June 29, 2016

Talking about race can be challenging and uncomfortable. Yet, recognizing the impact of race on the way we see ourselves and others can help us better understand how we see the world and, in turn, the choices that we make. The challenge, for many of us, is that we don’t know where to begin.  

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Topics: Identity, Race and Membership, New York Times, Racism

Seeing Today’s World Through the Lens of Reconstruction

Posted by Jennifer Forshey on June 27, 2016

As a teacher, I talk to my students about expectations a lot. My expectations for them and their expectations for themselves. I tell them it is my professional responsibility and mission to raise their expectations. I want them to think deeper and more creatively. I want them to understand and not memorize. I want them to realize the human impact of history and their role in our collective tomorrow.

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Topics: Reconstruction, Universe of Obligation

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Welcome to Facing Today, a Facing History blog. Facing History and Ourselves combats racism and antisemitism by using history to teach tolerance in classrooms around the globe.

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