What the 1965 Voting Rights Act Can Teach Us About Voter Fraud Today

Posted by Daniel Osborn on August 17, 2017

The violence and bigotry displayed in Charlottesville last weekend reminds us of the challenges that racial hatred poses to democracy. In August 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson addressed one aspect of this by signing the Voting Rights Act to safeguard the voting rights of African Americans. Yet, decades of efforts to deny the vote highlight the tensions between just and unjust laws. Looking to this history is a reminder that challenges to voting rights are a perennial feature of political life in the United States, past and present. This is becoming evident today as controversial accusations of voter fraud are brought to the forefront under the Trump Administration.

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Topics: Democracy

3 Angles to the US Voter Fraud Controversy

Posted by Stacey Perlman on August 10, 2017

Earlier this month, New York announced it would share its voter data with the Presidential Commission on Election Integrity. California is still resisting the request from the Commission in June that all 50 states hand over voter-roll data. The Commission was launched in May by President Donald Trump to investigate his claims that between 3 million and 5 million illegal votes caused him to lose the popular vote in the 2016 US presidential election. Initially, 44 states and the District of Columbia refused to hand over certain data due to privacy concerns. Voting rights groups are also concerned about efforts to suppress voters. This tension between the states and the voter fraud investigation reveals multiple perspectives about the controversy. Here are three to consider in your classroom.

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Topics: Democracy

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

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

Finding What's True: A Cross-Disciplinary Search

Posted by Zachary Herrmann on May 18, 2017

One of the demands of democracy is the ability to productively engage with others who see things differently—to debate ideas, learn from one another, and advocate for thoughtful and informed decisions. Productive engagement of this kind requires us to think critically and to try to discern fact from opinion, hypothesis from truth. This last part has felt especially complicated over the last several months.

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Topics: Democracy

What Makes Democracy Work?: Teachers Like You

Posted by Laura Tavares on May 11, 2017

For the past three weeks, we’ve been exploring the question “What Makes Democracy Work?” with scholars, activists, and thought leaders whose insights and stories teach us about what it takes to sustain democracy. Each Thursday we post new podcasts, essays, and related classroom resources, which can all be found on our "What Makes Democracy Work?" webpage. This week, in honor of Teacher Appreciation Day, we’re saying thank you to the teachers who nurture democracy in their classrooms every day.

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Topics: Democracy

What Makes Democracy Work?: Navigating Differences

Posted by Laura Tavares on May 4, 2017

This week, in the fourth installment of our series, "What Makes Democracy Work?" we talk with interfaith leader Eboo Patel about what it looks like to build a healthy, religiously diverse democracy. We hope you’ll join the conversation using the hashtag #DemocracyandUs!

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Topics: Democracy

What Makes Democracy Work?: Citizens and Civic Participation

Posted by Laura Tavares on April 27, 2017

In the third installment of our series, "What Makes Democracy Work?" we consider the role of citizens with the help of political philosopher Danielle Allen. Make sure to join the conversation using the hashtag #DemocracyAndUs!

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Topics: Democracy

What Makes Democracy Work?: Individuals and a Nation's Laws

Posted by Laura Tavares on April 20, 2017

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.

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Topics: Democracy

At Facing History and Ourselves, we value conversation—in classrooms, in our professional development for educators, and online. When you comment on Facing Today, you're engaging with our worldwide community of learners, so please take care that your contributions are constructive, civil, and advance the conversation.

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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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