I recently facilitated a workshop in San Diego on the Reconstruction Era; it was a wonderful experience engaging with educators looking to teach US history through the lens of “identity and agency.” There was, of course, so much more I wish we could have covered about this “unfinished revolution;” this pivotal period in US history, that in some sense, “never ended,” as historian Eric Foner describes it.
On social media and in previous posts on this blog, a number of teachers have identified a video, "The Legacies of Reconstruction" as providing a helpful voice this week. In addition to the opportunity to explore the history that is relevant for understanding today's world, there is a message of hope. For those not as familiar with the history of Reconstruction or this video in particular, we wanted to share an excerpt. We hope it is encouragement through tough conversations, whether at school or in our communities.
Malia Warner has taught at Beverly Hills High School for 11 years, and is a member of the Los Angeles Teacher Leadership Team for Facing History and Ourselves. In 2015, she participated in our "powering up" project with her United States History class. She describes her experience.
Zaption has received accolades from SXSW (winning the LAUNCHedu competition), Fast Company (in their innovation issue), and educators far and wide. We've been happy to have an initial set of Facing History videos available as Zaption tours since their launch last August, and are now thrilled to share two more collections for educators.
The Holocaust and Human Behavior pulls together five films used by Facing History educators to explore the pressures on individual and group decision-making, the ways Nazism affected cultural and religious institutions, and the insight gained from the recently-opened Soviet archives. In this film from the Zaption tour set, Professor James Waller explores how ordinary individuals can become perpetrators in genocide.
There was a time when American History teachers had to just "hold tight" until their course chronology met up with available Facing History resources on the Eugenics movement (late 1800s/early 1900s), and 20th century issues around immigration, education, and "race."
On this Constitution Day, how will your students find meaning in the Constitution as it relates to their own lives, protections and responsibilities? Here are three ways to recognize Constitution Day on the official day, September 17, 2015.
This is the final installment in a five-part series on The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case: Race, Law and Justice in the Reconstruction Era, by Michael A. Ross.
As I approached the last chapters of this book many questions emerged, particularly during the courtroom drama which unfolds in Chapter 9, "Unveiling The Mystery."
- What message would be sent if the defendant is found guilty or not guilty?
- Who would claim victory?
- How would politics and the media, during this era of Reconstruction, use the verdict to influence public opinion?
- How would the verdict reverberate throughout New Orleans or for that matter, the rest of the nation?
- What would happen should this case fall apart altogether?
- And finally, how would the verdict be attributed to race?
This is part two in a five-part virtual book club on The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case: Race, Law and Justice in the Reconstruction Era, by Michael A. Ross.
For this week, we read Chapter One: “A Kidnapping in the Back of Town.” Chapter one sets the stage for introducing one of our country's most sensationalized kidnapping mysteries in history. Through the lives of ordinary Americans from every segment of society in 1870 New Orleans, we see the entire social order of society turned upside down at the height of Reconstruction after the Civil War.
With the kidnapping of Molly Digby, the 17-month-old baby from Irish working class parents, a cast of citizens navigate their identities, roles and responsibilities in a city torn apart by politics, racial fear, rumors, hysteria and religious accusations of Voodoo sacrifices. This includes:
- Louisiana's Governor, Henry Clay Warmoth,
- a Union army veteran from Illinois,
- suspect Ellen Follin, described in the press as a "fashionable tall, mulatto woman, probably for the purpose of receiving a ransom,"
- police chief Algernon Sidney Badger, originally from Massachusetts, and
- African American detective John Baptise Jourdain, assigned to the Digby case.
Although his book reads like a classic "who done it?" detective story from the pages of Sherlock Holmes, Michael A. Ross, author of The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case: Race and Justice in the Reconstruction Era offers deep insights into the hearts and minds of Southern society in the aftermath of the American Civil War. In honor of the release of Facing History and Ourselves' newest case study The Reconstruction Era: The Fragility of Democracy, we're doing a virtual book club on the blog!