Engaging Summer Reads: Recommendations from Facing History's Library

Posted by Tracy O'Brien on June 22, 2017

Often, summer is a time for relaxation. However, many of us also seek stories that will engage us in the experiences of others, or will help us stay engaged in making a better world. Here are a few picks of recently published books, as well as a couple of classics, that hold enduring insights.

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Topics: Facing History Library

3 Stories to Commemorate World Refugee Day

Posted by Karen Murphy on June 20, 2017

According to the United Nations, “every minute 20 people leave everything behind to escape war, persecution, or terror.” People also flee natural disasters. That’s 28,300 people in a day. Currently, more than 65 million people are refugees or internally displaced. This is the largest figure ever recorded. World Refugee Day provides us with the opportunity to pause, learn more and reflect on our individual, local, national, and global commitments as citizens and as human beings.

Here are three stories to commemorate World Refugee Day. We hope these inspire you to consider and discuss what responsibilities individuals have to respond to the needs of refugees today. 

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Topics: Refugee Crisis

How You Can Guide Decision Making in the Presence of Unjust Laws

Posted by Steven Becton on June 15, 2017

Most would agree that one of the hallmarks of a successful civil society is an expectation that people will follow the law. But what about the presence of unjust laws—those that are morally reprehensible, discriminatory, dehumanizing, and privileges one group over others? They present an interesting dilemma, especially since one aim of civic education is to teach students to be good law-abiding citizens.

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Topics: Democracy

Spark Conversation About Democracy With This Book List For All Ages

Posted by Laura Tavares on June 13, 2017

The school year is finally winding down and it’s a been tough one. We’ve had deep and difficult conversations in classrooms sparked by divisive elections, social tensions, and rising incidents of hate in the US and around the world. Events from this past year prompted Facing History to ask “What Makes Democracy Work?” in our weekly series exploring democracy, leadership, and civic responsibility. And we know that even as class lets out for the summer, we’ll all still have lingering questions about these issues on our minds.

That’s why we partnered with School Library Journal to create a book list that helps us all—educators, students, and parents—reflect on these questions over the summer months.

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Topics: Democracy, Reading List

Celebrating LGBT Pride: Why I No Longer Hide My Rainbow

Posted by Charlie Kolodziej on June 7, 2017

June is LGBT Pride Month. To celebrate, we're featuring a student essay from Charlie Kolodziej who shared why he openly embraces his identity as a gay teenager. Out of over 5,200 submissions to the 2017 Facing History Together Student Essay Contest, Kolodziej's essay was chosen as one of the three to receive a $5,000 Upstander Scholarship, thanks to the generosity of the Holland and Knight Charitable Foundation. Kolodziej's words reminds us about what it means to decide to not be afraid of showing who you are.

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Topics: Student Voices

3 Angles to the Confederate Monument Controversy

Posted by Wayde Grinstead on June 5, 2017

Up until late last May, the bronze statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, was featured prominently in the center of Lee Circle in New Orleans, Louisiana. Now, the nearly 60-foot column it rested upon is bare and empty after the city removed the last of its Confederate era monuments. Sparked by Mayor Mitch Landrieu after the 2015 massacre of nine black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina, the effort to remove these monuments has ignited emotionally charged responses and debates all across the country: Are we erasing the past by removing them? Or are we upholding legacies of racism and discrimination by keeping them?

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Topics: Reconstruction

Power up Your Summer Learning with a Facing History Online Course

Posted by Facing History and Ourselves on June 1, 2017

You love to learn. That's part of why you became a teacher—to spark that same love of learning in your students.  So this summer, in between chapters of that latest beach novel, power up your learning with an online course from Facing History.
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Topics: Professional Development

Today's News, Tomorrow's History: France's Presidential Election

Posted by Monica Brady-Myerov on May 30, 2017

Today’s News, Tomorrow’s History is an ongoing series with Listenwise. This series connects Facing History’s themes with today’s current events using public radio to guide and facilitate discussions around the social issues of our time. We will take a look at the recent presidential elections in France.

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Topics: Today's News Tomorrow's History, current events, Listenwise

How Two Teenagers Created a Textbook for Racial Literacy

Posted by Stacey Perlman on May 25, 2017

Over the last month, we've been examining the different facets of democracy with our "What Makes Democracy Work?" campaign. Today, we look at two rising young stars who are showing that civically engaged young people are key to a healthy democracy. Winona Guo and Priya Vulchi started the student-run organization, CHOOSE, to overcome racism and inspire harmony through exposure, education, and empowerment. This led them to collaborate with Princeton University on, The Classroom Index, a textbook devoted to racial literacy. Liz Vogel, Executive Director for Facing History's Los Angeles office, had the opportunity to serve as Guo's mentor through Three Dot Dash (3DD), a global teen leadership program. We asked Guo to tell us about her and Vulchi's experience creating a textbook for racial literacy. 

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Topics: Democracy

Memphis Students Unite Their Community 100 Years After A Lynching

Posted by Stacey Perlman on May 22, 2017

On May 21, 1917 thousands of people gathered in Memphis to watch the brutal lynching of Ell Persons. One hundred years later, this past Sunday, the student-led activist group, Students Uniting Memphis (SUM), gathered with 500 community members from all backgrounds to commemorate his life and bring awareness to the injustices that occur when we divide people into “us” vs. “them.”

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Topics: Race and Membership


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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