5 New Books on Human Rights

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on December 8, 2020

Each December, we observe Universal Human Rights Month—an opportunity to reflect upon historical and ongoing struggles for human rights around the globe. Yet understandings of human rights are constantly evolving, raising new questions, and calling into question aspects of social life that some of us take for granted. In the following five books published within the last year, scholars, a biographer, and a memoirist reflect upon different dimensions of human rights, offering educators a number of areas for further exploration of this important subject. Below, the publisher of each title outlines what is to be found within each book:

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Topics: Human Rights, Reading List

8 Teaching Ideas on Human Rights

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on December 4, 2020

During Universal Human Rights Month this December, educators have an opportunity to engage their students in focused exploration of the assaults on human dignity that abound in our own national contexts and around the globe. Yet educators also have an opportunity to highlight some of the parallel efforts to protect human lives and dignity that arise in the face of violence and injustice.

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Topics: Human Rights

How One Lesbian Couple Defied the Nazis: An Interview with Dr. Jeffrey Jackson

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on December 2, 2020

In a recent interview, I spoke with Dr. Jeffrey JacksonProfessor of History at Rhodes College and author of Paper Bullets: Two Artists Who Risked Their Lives to Defy the Nazis. In this interview. Dr. Jackson discusses the untold story of Lucy Schwob and Suzanne Malherbe, a French lesbian couple who intervened in the Nazi occupation of the Channel Islands through an expansive artistic campaign during World War II. Better known to art historians by their adopted names of Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore, Schwob and Malherbe’s story of resistance is told for the first time in Dr. Jackson’s new book. Here he shares a first look at their incredible story with Facing History.

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Topics: Art, Europe, resistance, LGBTQ

Teaching Settler Colonialism: Lessons from Canada

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on November 30, 2020

Photo Caption: Cree students at their desks with their teacher in a classroom, All Saints Indian Residential School, Lac La Ronge, Saskatchewan, March 1945 (Credit: Bud Glunz / National Film Board of Canada. Photothèque / PA-134110).

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Topics: Canada, Indigenous, Native Americans

Disrupting Public Memory: The Story of the National Day of Mourning

Posted by Megan Barney on November 24, 2020

For many Americans, the popular story of the first Thanksgiving often goes like this: in 1621, the Pilgrims had recently arrived in what is today Plymouth, Massachusetts—the traditional lands of the Wampanoag and Massachusett people—and were faced with a cold and bitter winter. The Wampanoag people noticed their plight and generously provided the Pilgrims with the means to survive. To provide thanks, the Pilgrims welcomed the Wampanoags to a harmonious feast. This narrative is shared in classrooms across America every year, has persisted in public memory, and is deeply embedded in the national identity of the United States. However, like many exceptionalist narratives in American history, this story is a one-sided understanding that glorifies colonization and ignores the full truth of history, particularly for the Indigenous People of the United States.

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Topics: American History, Native Americans

"This is Where Our People Are": Reflections on Plymouth 400

Posted by Charles Thomas Lai FitzGibbon on November 20, 2020

This month, in addition to being National Native American Heritage Month, marks 400 years since the Mayflower landed in Plymouth. Here in Massachusetts—a state named after the indigenous people of the “Great Blue Hill”—many of us are settlers on stolen land. I spoke with Cheryl Andrews-Maltais, Chairwoman of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head Aquinnah based on Martha’s Vineyard, to hear her perspective on this moment, and what we can learn from reflecting on the anniversary.

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Topics: American History, Native Americans

Read Isabel Wilkerson's Caste With Us

Posted by Steven Becton on November 18, 2020

“We are responsible for our own ignorance or, with time and openhearted enlightenment, our own wisdom.” Isabel Wilkerson, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents

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Topics: American History, Europe, Racism

Exploring Race and Education with Dr. Eve Ewing

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on November 13, 2020

“Our culture has an odd relationship with race: it structures every aspect of American social life, but in ways that can often seem invisible and undetected. Like an electrical current running through water, race has a way of filling space even as it remains invisible.”
Dr. Eve L. Ewing, Ghosts in the Schoolyard

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Topics: Schools, Urban Education, race

New Books on Native American History and Life

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on November 11, 2020

Since 1990, November has been National Native American Heritage Month in the United States—an opportunity to attend more deliberately to the histories, experiences, contributions, and ideas of Native American peoples. Though these experiences and archives ought to be top of mind throughout the year, the stakes this month may be even higher than usual. In this moment of national reckoning over the past and future of America, questions surrounding how we conceive of our national origins, who is included, and where we are headed are revealing profound divides. But there is a great deal of knowledge and insight that can be gained from the voices of those whose histories, ideas, and experiences are routinely pushed to the periphery. 

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Topics: American History, Reading List, Native Americans

Black Women Educators' Roundtable on Teaching and Current Events

Posted by Pamela Donaldson on November 6, 2020

This past September, I had the privilege to speak with Dr. Dena Simmons during a Facing History webinar about how social-emotional learning can help us realize an anti-racist future. It was on the day that the grand jury in Louisville, KY made the decision not to charge anyone for the murder of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old unarmed African-American woman fatally shot in her apartment. Both Dr. Simmons and I felt the heaviness of this verdict, and the need to have an honest conversation about the times we are living in as Black women educators. Dr. Simmons has since written an article for ASCD in which she notes that Black women educators always “show up...because we know our work is critical to Black youth in white-dominated school systems...even if it comes at a cost. But we are exhausted.”

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Topics: Schools, Teachers, Racism, current events

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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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