The past year has warranted a lot of reflection for all of us. It’s left us all asking ourselves, “Where do we go from here?” and “How do we get there?” While we’re still grappling with these questions, there’s one answer I know is clear: The most important element to helping our young people uphold the values of democracy is a strong civic education.
Lynda Blackmon Lowery was the youngest person to participate in the historic three-day march from Selma to Montgomery, led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in March of 1965: she turned 15 on the second day of that march. To reflect on Dr. King's legacy, we sat down for a conversation with Blackmon Lowery. She recalls what it was like to participate in a pivotal moment of the Civil Rights Movement as a teenager and shares how young people today can make a difference in the face of the continuing struggle for social justice.
Please note this piece includes some offensive language. We have chosen to include it as it reflects the historical time period when these events took place and represents Blackmon Lowery’s experiences.
Topics: Civil Rights Movement
Teachers all over the world are grappling with how to address today's divisive climate with their students. The same is true for Petr Sokol and Roman Anyz, trainers at the Terezin Initiative Institute in the Czech Republic. They have been partnering with Facing History to teach about democracy, the Holocaust, and the treatment of the Roma while facing uncertain political times in their country today. Sokol and Anyz, who is also a middle school teacher, share how they are helping teachers consider how they can encourage young people in the Czech Republic to think critically about what is happening around them. New concerns over populism rising in the country makes this task feel more important than ever.
It's the season for resolutions. The beginning of a new year makes us promise ourselves to be more healthy or to get more sleep or to spend more time with family. But what about practicing more empathy—that is, the ability to sincerely understand and share someone else’s feelings? Jane McGonigal, world-renowned game designer and Director of Game Research and Development for the Institute for the Future, says you can. And she can tell you how.
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 violence in Burma, or Myanmar, that has made the Rohingya leave their country.
Engage your heart and mind this winter with these books selected by Tracy O’Brien, Facing History’s Director of Library Services. They touch on important Facing History themes such as history, democracy, identity, inclusion, and education.
Topics: Facing History Library
So many times in the last year I have turned to this excerpt of the poem, “What They Did Yesterday Afternoon,” by Somali-British poet, Warsan Shire:
"later that night
I held an atlas in my lap
ran my fingers across the whole world
where does it hurt?
Topics: Genocide/Collective Violence
Today marks the 80th anniversary of the Japanese Army’s invasion of Nanjing, the capital of China in 1937. This is a difficult moment to observe—one that I struggle with. How should I and other educators mark this moment? What lessons should our students draw from it? It is not a celebration but rather a somber memorial of mass violence of a magnitude that is still difficult for our minds to grasp.
Topics: The Nanjing Atrocities
On December 15, 1791, the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution—known as the Bill of Rights—were ratified. Designed to spell out limits to the federal government’s power and to protect the individual liberties of Americans, these amendments include many of the hallmarks of the country’s democratic ideals: freedom of speech, the press, and religion; and the protection against being punished by the government without due process of law.
As a high school student growing up in Memphis, Facing History and Ourselves helped me understand the history of my hometown. When I was a sophomore in high school on Facing History’s tour of major cities in the Civil Rights Movement, I could see how Memphis fit into the larger context of that history as it rippled through Alabama cities like Birmingham and Montgomery and in Little Rock, Arkansas. And through Facing History’s emphasis on upstanders, I saw how I had a part to play in my city’s future.
Topics: Race and Membership