Identity, Literature, and Possibility: A Conversation with Nicole Chung

Posted by Franklin Stebbins on May 23, 2022

In an interview earlier this year, I sat down with Nicole Chung—author of All You Can Ever Know: A Memoir (2018). There, Chung details her experience growing up as a transracial adoptee of Korean descent within a white family in small-town Oregon. Her journey of navigating anti-Asian racism without the understanding of her white family, building resilience, searching for her Korean birth family, and coming into her own as a writer and mother are among the threads that tie this riveting story together. Her memoir addresses issues of identity and speaking across difference that are central to the educational approach of Facing History, and educators will find much to reflect upon within its pages.

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Topics: Identity, Asian American and Pacific Islander History, Farewell to Manzanar

On Existing - A personal reflection

Posted by Facing History Staff on March 31, 2022

One of my clearest memories of discovering how much I loved to read is of sprinting through Shel Silverstein’s poetry collections. I remember how delighted I was to learn that he had written many, how fascinated I was to understand that “author” was a job some adults in fact had. That, just like my parents who went to work everyday, authors like Shel wrote and got paid. I started filling my own notebooks with illustrations and the prose of an eight-year-old. Later, learning that Shel Silverstein was Jewish, just like me, made me weigh some of his words differently. It was my first understanding of what writing as a minority might look like. I was hooked. 

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Topics: Identity, In the news, LGBTQ, reflection, transgender

What Do We Remember on Holocaust Remembrance Day?

Posted by Laura Tavares on January 24, 2020

On January 27, we observe International Holocaust Remembrance Day. First designated by the United Nations in 2005, this commemoration coincides with the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1945. Around the world, people will gather at sites of memory, listen as survivors share their harrowing stories, and honor victims. Like many commemorations, International Holocaust Remembrance Day looks simultaneously backwards and forwards, linking memory of the past with a mandate to educate and a call to conscience in the present. 

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Topics: Memory, Identity, Holocaust and Human Behaviour

Acclaimed Educator Frank Stebbins on Facing History and Human Rights Education

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on June 7, 2019

From left to right: Freeholder Alexander Mirabella, Frank Stebbins, and Dr. Hank Kaplowitz.

In a recent interview, I spoke with acclaimed educator Frank Stebbins about his path to teaching, unique approaches in the classroom, and how Facing History has been instrumental in his development as an educator. Stebbins was recently named the 2019 Hank Kaplowitz Outstanding Human Rights Educator of the Year by the Human Rights Institute at Kean University.

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Topics: Identity, Teachers, Universe of Obligation, Holocaust Education, Social-Emotional Learning, Holocaust and Human Behaviour, facing history pedagogy

What Does it Mean to be American? 9 Quotes from Around the Country

Posted by Facing History and Ourselves on February 27, 2018

"What does it mean to be American?" is a timely question amidst the immigration debate but it's also one the United States has been struggling with for years. In 2014, New York Times reporter Damien Cave traveled the length of highway I-35, which runs south to north through the middle of the United States, for his “The Way North” project. Along the way, he asked 35 people this question. In 1997, the PBS documentary, A More Perfect Union, addressed the same issue. The complexity of these answers over time still resonates today.

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Topics: Identity

Trying to Fit In: Help Your Students Explore Their Identity

Posted by David Lepora on August 8, 2017

Adolescence is a time when many young people are figuring out who they are. David Lopera, a high school student in Boston, describes what happened when he went to great lengths to fit in at school. You'll find this essay and more in our new unit, "My Part of the Story: Exploring Identity in the United States." This series of six lessons will challenge your students to define their own identity and their relationship to society as a whole.  

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Topics: Identity

Facing My Family's Past with Slavery

Posted by Marti Tippens Murphy on February 14, 2017

A few years ago, a book 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: Reconstruction, Memory, Memphis, Identity, History, Judgement and Legacy

History through the Lens of African Americans

Posted by Valerie Linson on February 2, 2017

In honor of Black History Month, read what it was like for Valerie Linson, Editorial Director for Facing History, to walk through the National African American Museum of History and Culture in Washington DC for the first time. 

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Topics: Civil Rights Movement, Identity, History, Museum Studies, Judgement and Legacy, legacy, Slavery, race

Why I Share My Story of Being a Hidden Child During the Holocaust

Posted by Flora Hogman on January 26, 2017

Friday January 27—the day Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated—is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. This day calls for people around the world to remember and honor the victims of the Holocaust—those who perished and those who survived to tell their story. Read how one survivor found healing through the Facing History students who listened to her after years of staying silent. 

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

StoryCorps’ Dave Isay: Show Gratitude by Listening

Posted by Aileen McQuillen on October 3, 2016

Imagine preserving the voices and stories of an entire generation over a single holiday weekend. For the second year in a row, Facing History and Ourselves is partnering with StoryCorps for The Great Thanksgiving Listen to accomplish just that. You can preserve history with us by uploading your own interview with an elder this year, and empowering your students to do the same, by using the free StoryCorps app. Visit for more details about the project and to download the TGTL 2016 Teacher Toolkit.

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

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 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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