Ketanji Brown Jackson and the Power of Representation

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on March 8, 2022

Early this year, an unprecedented announcement issued from the White House: a Black woman may become the next appointee to the U.S. Supreme Court. What’s more, attorney and jurist Ketanji Brown Jackson was named in February as the front runner for this role. This potential appointment of the first Black woman Supreme Court Justice would be historic not just because she is the first but also because this event has emerged from a historical and contemporary context in which Black people, women of all races, and Black women in particular remain marginalized under the law. To watch a Black woman potentially enter a role in which she will have such a considerable impact on American law for many generations to come is immensely powerful when viewed in the context of this history. Further, the confirmation process surrounding another recent Supreme Court appointment brought issues of sexism and gendered violence to the fore, revealing—in the minds of some—the urgency of ensuring that the U.S. Supreme Court welcomes justices who have exhibited a commitment to challenging various manifestations of sexism and injustice. Whether we regard it as a symbolic marker of social progress or an opportunity for tangible policy change, Jackson’s nomination is a historic event that is poised to permanently alter the face of the Supreme Court.  

Read More

Topics: Democracy, American History, Black History

10 Women Who Made History

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on March 4, 2022

Here at Facing History, we see awareness months as opportunities to deepen our knowledge of and attention to the histories and contemporary experiences of historically marginalized communities. However, the focus on celebrating these communities over one particular month can further marginalize the very experiences we are hoping to elevate. With this in mind, what follows is an invitation to engage with important themes raised by Women’s History Month this March
and throughout all of the months of the year.

This Women’s History Month, we invite teachers to take a deeper dive into the histories and experiences of women around the nation in work with their students. One powerful way to do this is to learn more about individual women’s lives both past and present.

Read More

Topics: Women's History Month, Black History, Asian American and Pacific Islander History

Competing Visions of Black Civic Participation

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on February 28, 2022

At Facing History, we believe that educators have both an opportunity and a duty to help students grasp the historical and contemporary significance of civic participation. But civic participation has always taken a wide array of forms. From voting and running for public office to civil disobedience and more violent forms of direct action, all of these visions of civic participation line our history and introducing them to students as they surfaced in different contexts can help students reflect upon their own values as civic actors in the present. One approach to this educational task is to consider the competing visions of civic participation that have been articulated and acted upon within the global Black community—a community whose circumstances have inspired, if not necessitated, the use of a wide array of political strategies to combat oppression. The approaches that Black leaders have embraced across space and time are numerous and have encompassed assimilationist and integrationist conceptions of social change, alongside contrasting approaches rooted in Black self-determination and nationalism.

Read More

Topics: American History, Social Justice, Black History

Remembering Sidney Poitier

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on February 25, 2022

In January, the nation stood still as we learned that renowned actor Sidney Poitier passed away at 94 years old. But his passing is not only significant to cinephiles but to anyone interested in grasping the arc of social change in the United States over the last 75 years. A pioneering Black actor, Poitier’s acting career broke significant barriers in entertainment through a series of singular performances, but his social impact reflects more than just his acting chops. Poitier was both an actor and an activist—and despite a mixed array of perspectives over the years on the ways that he represented Black people in film—he undoubtedly played a leading role in African Americans’ fight for civil rights and more positive media representations from the silver screen to the streets.

Read More

Topics: Film, American History, Black History

5 New YA Books on Black History and Life

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on February 22, 2022

Here at Facing History, we see heritage and awareness months as opportunities to deepen our knowledge of and attention to the histories and contemporary experiences of historically marginalized communities. However, the focus on celebrating these communities over one particular month can further marginalize the very experiences we are hoping to elevate. With this in mind, what follows is an invitation to engage with important themes raised by Black History Month this February and throughout all of the months of the year.

Some members of the Facing History staff are exploring these five new books published within the last year, and we invite you to explore them alongside us and share your reactions with us. These 5 titles cover essential topics from Black history with young audiences and address contemporary experiences of young Black people.

Below is excerpted promotional text from each book’s publisher and a link to a related Facing History resource to empower educators to bring parallel themes into the classroom:

Defiant: Growing Up in the Jim Crow South
by Wade Hudson

“Born in 1946 in Mansfield, Louisiana, Wade Hudson came of age against the backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement. From their home on Mary Street, his close-knit family watched as the country grappled with desegregation, as the Klan targeted the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, and as systemic racism struck across the nation and in their hometown. Amidst it all, Wade was growing up. Getting into scuffles, playing baseball, immersing himself in his church community, and starting to write. Most important, Wade learned how to find his voice and use it. From his family, his community, and his college classmates, Wade learned the importance of fighting for change by confronting the laws and customs that marginalized and demeaned people. This powerful memoir reveals the struggles, joys, love, and ongoing resilience that it took to grow up Black in segregated America, and the lessons that carry over to our fight for a better future.” –Crown Books for Young Readers

Read More

Topics: American History, Literature, Black History

Black Athletes and Civil Rights: 6 Upstanders to Introduce to Your Students

Posted by Facing History and Ourselves on February 17, 2022

Now during the Olympics, and throughout each academic year, we have the opportunity to explore a number of themes that connect the lives and contributions of Black athletes past and present. Beyond the 1988 Jamaican Bobsled Team immortalized in the film Cool Runnings, Black athletes have played more central roles at the Winter Olympics than many people might realize. As we cheer on the 2022 Black Olympians, Black History Month is a great time to look back on the impact that Black Olympians and other Black athletes have beyond the world of sports. 

Read More

Topics: American History, Black History

5 New Books on Black History

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on February 15, 2022

Here at Facing History, we see heritage and awareness months as opportunities to deepen our knowledge of and attention to the histories and contemporary experiences of historically marginalized communities. However, the focus on celebrating these communities over one particular month can further marginalize the very experiences we are hoping to elevate. With this in mind, what follows is an invitation to engage with important themes raised by Black History Month this February and throughout all of the months of the year.

Read More

Topics: Black History

Deep Dive into Black History: 13 Events + Resources for Educators

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on February 9, 2022

Here at Facing History, we see heritage and awareness months as opportunities to deepen our knowledge of and attention to the histories and contemporary experiences of historically marginalized communities. However, the focus on celebrating these communities over one particular month can further marginalize the very experiences we are hoping to elevate. With this in mind, what follows is an invitation to engage with important themes raised by Black History Month this February and
throughout all of the months of the year.

Read More

Topics: American History, Black History

9 Leaders from Black History You Should Know

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on February 7, 2022

Each year during Black History Month, the stories of figures like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and Rosa Parks are often elevated—and with good reason. These figures made contributions to Black history and, by extension, American history, that cannot be overstated. But there are so many significant Black historical figures who often don’t get as much air time. Learning about the larger systems and historical events that have played central roles in shaping Black history is vitally important, but it is also valuable to explore the individual lives, ideas, choices, and legacies of key figures in that unfolding story. Knitting these approaches together allows both educators and students to not only gain a deeper grasp of a given history, but also humanize the key actors and the unique worlds they inhabited. 

Read More

Topics: American History, Black History

15 Classroom Resources on Black History and Life

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on February 2, 2022

Here at Facing History, we see heritage and awareness months as opportunities to deepen our knowledge of and attention to the histories and contemporary experiences of historically marginalized communities. However, the focus on celebrating these communities during only one particular month can further marginalize the very experiences we are hoping to elevate. With this in mind, what follows is an invitation to engage with important themes raised by Black History Month this February
and throughout all of the months of the year.

Read More

Topics: Black History, Black History Month

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.

WELCOME

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.

Subscribe to Email Updates

Recent Posts

Posts by Topic

see all