StoryCorps’ Dave Isay: Engaging Everyone in the Act of Listening

Posted by Aileen McQuillen on October 7, 2015

Imagine preserving the voices and stories of an entire generation over a single holiday weekend. That’s our hope, as Facing History and Ourselves partners with StoryCorps for the 2015 Great Thanksgiving Listen. We will work with high school teachers across the country, whose students will interview a grandparent or elder over the 2015 Thanksgiving holiday weekend, and record their story with the StoryCorps mobile app.

Ahead of the Great Thanksgiving Listen, we sat down with Dave Isay, the founder of StoryCorps and winner of a 2015 $1 million TED Prize. Isay made public radio documentaries for nearly two decades before starting StoryCorps 12 years ago. (The interview has been slightly condensed.)

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Topics: Student Voices, Memory, Identity, History, Community, David Isay, StoryCorps

I Was A Hidden Child During the Holocaust: Why I Share My Story

Posted by Flora Hogman on September 18, 2015

For many years, my past as a Jewish child hiding from the Nazis during the second world war was obliterated from my memory. Finally I realized that I needed to face a huge and painful void in my life. The opportunity came as a friend invited me to speak to a Facing History and Ourselves classroom.

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Topics: Antisemitism, Choosing to Participate, Identity, Holocaust, Survivor Testimony, History

How Facing History Helped Hip Hop Artist Chels Find Her Voice After Katrina

Posted by Andrew Reese on August 29, 2015

One of the reasons I went into teaching was for the opportunity to transform lives, but I didn’t anticipate how much my students would transform me. A Facing History and Ourselves classroom naturally lends itself to fostering a deep sense of community, collaboration, and constructed knowledge. And through this process, everyone ends up seeing the world a little differently, including the teacher.

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Topics: Poetry, Spoken Word, Identity, Facing History Together, Video, Music, Hurricane Katrina

5 Tips for Talking About Race With Children

Posted by Sachi Feris on June 23, 2015

When my daughter was a baby, we would walk through the basketball court near our apartment building on the way home from the playground. Quite often, we would find a group of young boys shooting hoops. Usually, though not always, the boys were black. 

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Topics: Identity, Race and Membership, Raising Ethical Children, Diversity

Learning to Participate

Posted by Adam Strom on March 6, 2015

This winter has been full of stark contrasts around the world. Frightening hate and violence dominated the news, yet, even in the face of the brutality, we have seen people from different walks of life bridge differences and come together to speak up against intolerance. As an educator and parent, I am always thinking about why some people learn to come together during difficult times, to be kind in the face of unkindness, and to stand up for what is right.

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Topics: Choosing to Participate, Events, Human Behavior, Students, Teaching, Identity, Upstanders, Day of Learning, Facing History and Ourselves

Coming to Terms with a Personal History

Posted by Marti Tippens Murphy on March 1, 2015

A book recently came into my possession that has been tossed around in my family like a hot potato for several generations.


Entitled Religion and Slavery: A Vindication of Southern Churches, the book's author was James McNeilly, a Presbyterian minister and confederate veteran from Nashville, Tennessee. Inside the front cover is an inscription from the author to my great-great-great-grandmother.

"To Corinne Lawrence: A tried and true friend of many years—and a devoted lover of the Old South which I have tried to vindicate."

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Topics: Books, Reconstruction, Memory, Facing History Resources, Memphis, Identity, Teaching Resources, History

New Documentary Explores "To Kill a Mockingbird"'s Enduring Appeal

Posted by Julia Rappaport on January 29, 2015

More than 55 years since its publication, Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird still resonates. Filmmaker Sandra Jaffe grew up in Alabama, where the 1960 best-selling novel is set. In 2006, Jaffe set out to find out why the book remains so popular today.

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Topics: To Kill a Mockingbird, Classrooms, Civil Rights Movement, Film, Student Voices, Choosing to Participate, Facing History Resources, Identity, Civil Rights

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

Our Favorite Posts From 2014

Posted by Julia Rappaport on December 19, 2014

As we look back at 2014, we thought we'd share some of our favorite posts—and yours.

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Topics: Books, Choosing to Participate, Students, Schools, Identity, Memoir, Facing History and Ourselves, Teachers

The Memories We Keep

Posted by Caren Osten on December 15, 2014

I remember sitting on my parents' bed one evening after dinner when I was seven years old, squeezing into a spot next to my older brother, Marc. In the coziness and safety of their room—walls clad in purple fabric and a white shag rug underfoot—my parents began to share their stories.

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Topics: Choosing to Participate, New York, Identity, Facing History Together, Holocaust, Memoir, Facing History and Ourselves, Survivor Testimony

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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