We recently sat down with Dr. Carol Anderson—professor, historian, and National Book Critics Circle Award winner—to discuss the history of the struggle for African Americans' voting rights, as well as its continuing relevance to racial justice and democracy. Dr. Anderson is the author of numerous books including One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression is Destroying Our Democracy. Below are excerpts from our conversation with Dr. Anderson, facilitated by Facing History’s Director of International Strategy, Dr. Karen Murphy.
In a recent interview, I had the opportunity to speak with Prince Taylor, alumnus of the Facing History School in New York City and team member at Politicking—a mobile app that offers comprehensive, nonpartisan information designed to empower millennial voters to cast their ballots. In this interview, we discuss his work at Politicking, their work to counter voter suppression and/or barriers to voting, and how Facing History shaped Taylor’s professional trajectory. Formed in collaboration with Facing History and Ourselves in 2005, The Facing History School is a public high school deeply informed by Facing History pedagogy within the New York City Public Schools system.
Bullying remains one of the most intractable interpersonal problems facing young Americans across geographic, racial, and economic divides. StopBullying.gov reports that an alarming 20% of young people ages 12 to 18 experience bullying and it is for this reason that every October is National Bullying Prevention Month—a time to draw greater attention to this epidemic of interpersonal violence, what drives it, and how to stop it. Major studies from the last three years showed that most bullying targeting young people occurred in school settings—a reality that has prompted onsite intervention efforts including mapping the zones in which bullying is most likely to occur. This and other school-based strategies have offered educators, parents, and students new tools for managing the crisis, but there is more to tackle than meets the eye. As schools take on hybrid and wholly remote learning models amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the threat of cyberbullying has reached unprecedented heights.
Across the United States, people are gearing up for Election Day on November 3, 2020 in the midst of continuing cultural, social, and political upheavals. As the nation continues to grapple with the enduring presence and lasting impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic, this election season looks different than those in the past. The debate over mail-in voting versus in-person voting continues and the emphasis on the need to keep everyone safe and healthy continues to hold public discourse.
For an increasing number of communities around the United States, October 12th is Indigenous Peoples’ Day—a holiday dedicated to highlighting the cultures and suppressed histories of indigenous peoples. This holiday emerged in an explicit challenge to the narratives that undergird Columbus Day—the federal holiday on the same date used to celebrate Christopher Columbus’ purported “discovery of America.” Columbus is among the historical figures denounced this year as a growing movement continues to surface the interconnected legacies of racism and colonialism in the United States. However, indigenous peoples have been calling for a reexamination of how we narrate our nation’s founding for decades through efforts including the campaign for an Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
As many educators are teaching under extraordinarily challenging circumstances, we know that a central issue for educators is how to center equity and justice in their classrooms and schools. The long history of racism in education is still with us, and after a summer marked by racial violence, and an ongoing pandemic that is disproportionately impacting people of color, issues of equity and justice remain urgent and pressing.
If you are someone who is new to this work or if you are looking to recommit yourself to equity and justice, here are five ways to ground your teaching:
Topics: Equity in Education
As we approach the November election in the United States, we find ourselves in a chaotic political landscape defined by an endless deluge of conflicting information and a sense of rising stakes across political camps. Amid this flurry of activity, it is easy to get lost in the unique features of this election and gloss over perennial issues that still warrant our attention. These include the long (and ongoing) fight to extend voting rights in this country, the hows and whys of casting one's ballot, and the various forces that keep people from voting. We also have an opportunity to think about the parallel roles that our young people can play in enhancing democratic processes that don't involve setting foot in the voting booth. The following five books released this year each cover important material on these themes and equip the reader with crucial information as we approach November. Below, the publisher of each book provides an overview of each title:
Topics: Reading List
Fifty-five years ago this October 3rd, at the base of the Statue of Liberty, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. “This bill is not a revolutionary bill,” explained Johnson. “It does not affect the lives of millions. It will not reshape the structure of our daily lives.” What it would do, he hoped, was eliminate the hypocrisy that had allowed the nation to embrace ideals of freedom and equality while sustaining discriminatory immigration policies that had effectively barred non-white migrants from entering the country for decades.
At Facing History, we stand with educators who are working to disrupt rising white nationalism.
Since the Unite the Right Rally of 2017 in Charlottesville, white nationalist groups have become increasingly visible on the national stage, deepening threats of racial and antisemitic violence across the country. Indeed, these threats are so severe that the Department of Homeland Security prepared draft reports (recently released to the press) indicating that “white supremacist extremists” currently pose the greatest terror threat to the nation.
The history of debate and civil discourse between candidates running for political office in the United States has long been held up as a pillar of our elections process and our democracy. Typically used as a means to debate policy publicly, defend positions, and appeal to voters, debates bring candidates into the same space and ask them to adhere to a set of agreed upon rhetorical rules of engagement. As we approached the first 2020 presidential debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, many hoped for a sound policy discussion that would leave them with a strong sense of each candidates’ beliefs and positions. What we saw instead was a distressing abandonment of our accepted norms and expectations of civil discourse in favor of a confusing, hostile, and demoralizing exchange on the global stage.