Practicing Civil Discourse During a Not-So-Civil Presidential Election

Posted by Kent Lenci on September 14, 2016

Each year at the Brookwood School in Manchester, a small coastal town in Massachusetts, we bring our seventh graders to a summer camp in Maine to kick off the school year. It’s a unique opportunity to build our class community and center ourselves for the challenges ahead. Our theme for the year is “responsibility,” one that is incredibly timely during this year’s heated presidential election. As we teachers encourage students to take responsibility for themselves and to care for others, it’s worth taking stock of our professional responsibilities during this electoral season. What is our role?

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Topics: Democracy, Facing History Resources, Teaching Resources, difficult conversations, civil discourse

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

Celebrating George Washington’s Take on Religious Freedom

Posted by Adam Strom on February 22, 2016

George Washington would have been 284 years old today. Facing History’s recent book, Washington’s Rebuke to Bigotry, on his 1790 letter to the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, Rhode Island, looks at the United States’ first president’s views on religious freedom, and is a powerful resource for exploring these essential civic lessons within U.S. history.

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Topics: Democracy, Facing History Resources, History, American History, Rebuke to Bigotry

What I Got Wrong When I Taught Reconstruction

Posted by Marty Sleeper on May 14, 2015

About two years ago, when I began reading draft chapters of Facing History’s new publication on the Reconstruction era in American history, I got to thinking back to how I learned about this period in high school in 1959 and in college, and also how I taught it to my students while teaching high school several years later in 1965.

In both my high school class as student, and later my high school classes as a teacher, I used the same textbook, David Saville Muzzey’s 1937 A History of Our Country, which for decades was the most widely used high school text on American history. Curious about what I learned and how I taught it, I dug out my well-worn copy and looked at how Muzzey wrote about Reconstruction.

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Topics: Classrooms, Books, Teaching Strategies, Democracy, Reconstruction, Facing History Resources, Teaching, Teaching Resources, History, American History, Civil War

Four Classroom Resources to Use for Presidents’ Day

Posted by Julia Rappaport on February 10, 2015

In the United States, Presidents’ Day is celebrated Monday. The national holiday offers an opportunity for valuable discussion in the classroom about the importance—and the fragility—of democracy now and throughout history. Here are four Facing History and Ourselves resources that can help you plan an exciting lesson.

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Topics: Professional Development, Teaching Strategies, Democracy, Voting Rights, Choosing to Participate, Facing History Resources, Religious Tolerance, Teaching, Teaching Resources, History

Raising Ethical Children: Discussing the Film "Selma" with Young People

Posted by Steven Becton on February 6, 2015

It can be so very difficult to discuss race with our children.

The conversation is particularly complex when it's about some of our nation's not-so-proud moments.Rather than face such moments head-on, sometimes we instead seek to protect our children (and even ourselves) from the pain and shame of the past, and so we often gloss over physical, emotional, and psychological suffering in history to get to a more palatable, less troubling version of those events. Moments like 1965 in Selma, Alabama, too quickly become "the victory of voting rights" rather than the painful history of a tired, yet determined, African American community that stood toe-to-toe against those who used terror, intimidation, and unjust laws to deny them opportunity to freely exercise the right to vote.

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Topics: Civil Rights Movement, Film, Democracy, Voting Rights, Choosing to Participate, Selma, Raising Ethical Children, Civil Rights, History

Talking About Paris: Citizenship in the Face of Division, Fear, and Hatred

Posted by Karen Murphy on January 12, 2015

Teaching after mass violence, including acts of terrorism, is incredibly challenging.

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Topics: Antisemitism, Democracy, Choosing to Participate, Human Rights, Immigration, Religious Tolerance, Teaching, Schools, News, Identity, Genocide/Collective Violence

Reconsidering Selma: Teaching the Stories Behind a Pivotal Moment in History

Posted by Adam Strom on January 8, 2015

There are so many moments throughout history whose untold and overlooked stories make them much more fascinating than the versions that are typically taught or talked about in the classroom. The 1965 civil rights march from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery is one of those stories.

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Topics: Civil Rights Movement, Film, Democracy, Voting Rights, Choosing to Participate, Selma, Facing History Resources, Teaching Resources, Video, Civil Rights, History

10 Quotes from History to Inspire Empathy

Posted by Julia Rappaport on December 30, 2014

The news around the world has been grim recently. During times of conflict and difficulty, we look to history and remember the inspirational words from upstanders of the past—those who shared our goal of creating a better, more informed, and more thoughtful society.

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Topics: Democracy, Choosing to Participate, Students, Human Rights, Facing History Resources, Schools, Teachers, Civil Rights, History

After Eric Garner: One School’s Courageous Conversation

Posted by Steven Becton on December 10, 2014

As I prepared to write this post, I had to confront the most difficult, yet most important, person that I would be in conversation with: myself.

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Topics: Classrooms, Teaching Strategies, Democracy, Students, Human Rights, Safe Schools, Teaching, Schools, News, Identity, Teaching Resources, Teachers

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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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