Today is Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. Roger Brooks, Facing History’s President and CEO, shares his reflections about how we can study the past to empower young people to make positive choices that can change our future for the better.
Topics: Holocaust and Human Behavior
Facing History and Ourselves is exploring “What Makes Democracy Work?” in conversation with people whose insights from history, politics, literature, and civic life help us consider what it takes to sustain democracy in our societies today. In the first installment of our series, we spoke with Ben Railton, Professor of English Studies and American Studies at Fitchburg State University in Massachusetts who tells us about two enslaved people who successfully sued for their freedom in the early years of the American republic.
I have long wanted to develop and teach a unit on the Nanjing Atrocities for my students at Millennium Brooklyn High School. As a high school history teacher with an undergraduate degree in East Asian Studies, I see it as an important history that we seldom teach in the United States.
In March, 64 lawyers from Holland & Knight were busy poring over thousands of essays. These weren’t from legal briefings or court hearings. They were submissions from over 5,200 students who entered the 2017 Facing History Together Student Essay Contest. The global law firm’s Holocaust Remembrance Project, which is part of its charitable foundation, generously funded the contest but their lawyers also took an extra step by volunteering to review the essays.
We have all seen, heard, and even felt a heightened sense of division in many communities around the world. Elections in 2016 and 2017—in England, the United States, France and Germany—have both revealed and exacerbated deep tensions in these societies. Never before has it been more important to truly understand the fundamentals of democracy. That’s why Facing History and Ourselves is launching a new campaign inviting educators, students, and community members to ask, "What makes democracy work?"
Over the next eight weeks, we’ll be exploring this question with the help of historians, legal and political scholars, and voices from literature and history—and, we hope, with you. Look for weekly blog posts and teaching resources on our new page, Democracy and Us, and join us on social media with the hashtag #DemocracyAndUs to share your ideas, stories, and classroom experiences. This week, we consider why it's important to ask fundamental questions about democracy in our societies today.
I have spent my whole life living in the south but often find conflict between my roots as a southerner and the complicated history of racism. As a teacher for 35 years, I’ve tried to use literature to develop empathy and understanding to combat bigotry and hatred. To Kill a Mockingbird has long been one of the novels I’ve used to attempt this.
I am always ready to learn something new so when I learned about Facing History’s workshop, “A New Approach to Teaching Mockingbird,” I was intrigued. It turns out I found deeper connections to the novel than I had ever anticipated—some that took me all the way back to my childhood in the south.
Part of challenging our students is challenging ourselves as educators. That’s why Facing History is excited to announce the 2017 Margot Stern Strom Innovation Grants. This year, we’re challenging you to think about how you can bring “hard empathy” into the classroom. You could be one of 12 educators to receive $2,500 to bring your project to life.
April is Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month and at Facing History, we’ve revised our seminal case study, Holocaust and Human Behavior. This revision is the culmination of five years of research, discussion, writing, and video and web production by the organization. We wanted to create a more dynamic experience for teachers and students as they grapple with this difficult history and the moral questions it raises.
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 increase of hate crimes, especially the antisemitic attacks in over a dozen states.
During World War II, 20,000 to 30,000 Jews fought back against the Nazis as partisans. Hidden deep in the forests, these underground communities were the heart of an organized resistance movement that took up arms against the Nazis. Around 10 percent of these partisans were women.
Although often known for their support roles—performing camp duties, providing medical care, and acting as messengers—some women also fought alongside men. As we close out Women’s History Month, we’re celebrating three Jewish women partisans whose bravery shows us the meaning of what it is to be an upstander.