Seventy-five years ago this month, the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising began. For nearly four weeks, Jews revolted against the Nazis as they entered the ghetto to deport its remaining inhabitants to concentration camps. Although the Nazi’s military prowess proved too powerful for the prisoners' efforts, it became a symbol of resistance that counteracted the often-touted narrative that Jews went to their deaths without a fight. It is no coincidence that today, Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day, coincides with this historic moment.
This year, the 50 year anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination, has prompted a lot of reflection about how far the United States has come and the long way it still has to go when confronting racism and hatred. The following guest post from scholar Binna Kandola challenges us to consider the implicit ways racism sneaks its way into everyday interactions, including in our professional environments.
When I was a teenager, I traveled to Auschwitz on a Jewish summer program. Since I played the saxophone, I was asked to perform the song “Eli, Eli” for a memorial service. It is a popular Jewish song my father made me sing every night before bed but I knew nothing of its origin. My tutor told me as I walked to the stage that Hannah Senesh, who wrote the poem on which the song is based, was a Hungarian-born, Palestine-based paratrooper who died trying to rescue Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust.
Topics: Genocide/Collective Violence
Fifty years ago today, Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered what would be his final speech. He was assassinated the next day at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. His leadership in the Civil Rights Movement captured the attention of a nation, including journalist, Lee A. Daniels. He recalls his childhood in Boston during the Civil Rights Movement and how Dr. King's message transcended from the southern states, inspiring him to be a part of the movement in his own way.
Topics: Civil Rights Movement
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. In honor of the UN International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade on March 25, we will take a look at how students learn about slavery in the United States.
The recent passing of Linda Brown, whose landmark case, Brown v. Board of Education, opened the door to desegregate public schools, is yet another reminder of the role young people have played in shaping our society. At only seven years old, she was thrust into the national debate surrounding "separate but equal" schools, and even deeper below the surface, the tense debate around race in the United States.
Topics: Civil Rights Movement
Empathy can be a powerful tool for action. Just look at how students across the nation mobilized to support the victims of the Parkland school shooting. But waiting for something drastic and tragic to happen is not the way we want to build empathy in our young people. So how can we use historical empathy—or “the process of understanding people in the past by contextualizing their actions”—to help them engage with history and process their own roles in the world today?
Charlotte Lowell, a Facing History senior at Andover High School in Andover, Massachusetts is using her voice after the Parkland school shooting. The 17 year old led a student sit-in at her school to discuss gun violence and how the country is currently addressing the issue. Now she’s getting ready to participate in the March For Our Lives this Saturday. She even spoke about her activism on the nationally syndicated NPR show, On Point. As a student leader of the Boston branch, she’s been busy organizing with adult activists, student organizers, and other community workers to get as many people as they can involved. Here’s what she had to say about her new role as a student activist.
Topics: current events
This Saturday, students from across the nation will join the March For Our Lives in Washington DC while others gather at regional marches to demand their schools are safe places to learn. This includes protesting for changes in gun control laws. The march comes after the national walk out from schools one month after the Parkland, Florida shooting. At Facing History, we continue to be impressed by the display of civic engagement from these young people. Our hope is that all students feel empowered to find their voice and use their voice in a way that brings positive change to their communities, no matter what the issue is.
Topics: current events
As a teacher at a downtown high school, some of my best classes happened when I threw away my lesson plan and took my students on a walk.
We’d search for famous tombstones in a 200-year-old cemetery. Inside an old gathering place for abolitionists, we’d read a speech Frederick Douglass once gave there. And every year, we’d examine the inner workings of the criminal justice system through readings, debate, and a visit to arraignment court.