I first joined Facing History and Ourselves in 2001 because it felt like the kind of education I craved but never had. We didn’t talk about things that mattered when I was in school. And while my single mother sacrificed much to prioritize my education, there wasn’t much space for self-reflection at home. One year I won the Black History Month essay contest hosted by our local AME Church, but we never spoke about how deeply segregated our tiny New Jersey shore town was, or why I never socialized with my Black friends outside of school.
With great sadness, we mourn the passing of Dan Alba, the founding director of Facing History and Ourselves in Los Angeles, who died on December 2, 2020.
Dan gave so much to Facing History, and to educators across Southern California. His involvement with Facing History began 30 years ago as a social science teacher at Roosevelt High School in Boyle Heights, the school where he attended. In 1994, Dan left the classroom to open Facing History’s LA office in the basement of his home.
Topics: Los Angeles
Retail therapy in support of Facing History? Yes please!
From September 23 - October 2, the online auction Chic Relief will benefit Facing History and Ourselves. I had the chance to chat with Elizabeth Stewart, celebrity stylist, and founder of the online fashion platform.
Facing History partnered with Apple Original Films and A24 for an advance screening of the award-winning documentary, BOYS STATE. The film is available for streaming on Apple TV beginning August 14th.
Topics: Facing History Resources
On February 12, 1909, The Los Angeles Times published a front page article written by Jefferson Edmonds, a newspaper editor and political activist. How Freedom’s Word Found the Bondman is Jefferson’s first-hand account of Emancipation; he was born into slavery in Mississippi.
Jefferson's opening sentence, “When in 1619 that old Dutch kidnapper sold twenty negroes as slaves to the Virginians, only a god could have foreseen the tremendous, far-reaching results that that little transaction was to produce.” is a prescient foreshadowing of the historical reckoning elevated by The New York Times’ 1619 Project, 110 years later.
And his words, “If we erase from American history the pages that the negro’s presence caused to be written, it would be a short, uninteresting story.” are as timely in 2020, as we consider Black History Month critically - isn’t Black History, American History? - as it was when Jefferson wrote his account.
On this anniversary date of the original publication, we share the full text of Jefferson’s article below. Want more?
- Jefferson’s testimony to the Congressional Committee in 1875 can be found in Facing History and Ourselves’ guide for teaching The Reconstruction Era.
- Learn more about the JL Edmonds Project, and its founder, Arianne Edmonds, here.
- Register to join us for a teacher workshop on The Reconstruction Era, including a special session with Arianne.
Each year, we invite our Los Angeles Partnership Schools to nominate an individual or group that has demonstrated the qualities of an Upstander in their school community. This year’s theme was allyship which kicked off at our Summit on School Culture last fall. Many schools had difficulty choosing just *one* person or group to nominate! Facing History is proud to recognize the effort and action of the following Upstanders in communities across Los Angeles.