How Freedom's Word Found the Bondman

Posted by Liz Vogel on February 12, 2020

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?


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Topics: Reconstruction, Los Angeles, Slavery

Southern California Museums 2020

Posted by Mary Hendra on January 25, 2020

Every year around this time, Southern California Museums open their doors for free.  And while the official "Free-for-All day" was today, there are many more opportunities to see these great institutions which contribute to and reflect our region. This year, we wanted to do a quick shout-out to some of our museum partners who have not only participated in the annual Free-for-All day but have opened their doors to us in the past and in the future.  We hope to see you at one of these events!

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Topics: Los Angeles, workshop, Community Event

Righting a Wrong

Posted by Mary Hendra on January 13, 2020

We are excited to partner with the Smithsonian Institution and the Japanese American National Museum to offer 100 Southern California educators a free 8-poster set based on the Smithsonian's exhibition, Righting a Wrong, tracing the story of Japanese national and Japanese American incarceration during World War II.

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Topics: Los Angeles, Japanese American Incarceration

2019 Upstanders from LA Partnership Schools!

Posted by Liz Vogel on May 23, 2019

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.

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Topics: Upstanders, Los Angeles, Upstander

9th Grade Upstanders

Posted by Jason David on May 7, 2019

I recently had the kind of conversation an educator needs at this time of the year.

Claudia Bautista is a dedicated and skilled teacher at Santa Monica High School. She described a group of ninth grade students who took on a service learning project, and in challenging an injustice they saw on their own campus, exemplified youth agency and the promise of civic education.

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Topics: Upstanders, Los Angeles, Upstander

Arianne Edmonds and Jefferson Edmonds: an LA Upstander Family

Posted by Gayle Cole on May 2, 2019

Arianne Edmonds has upstanding in her DNA. Her great, great grandfather:

  • testified at a Congressional hearing despite threats of violence
  • started one of the early newspapers in Los Angeles for the Black community
  • advocated directly for increased voter registration by African Americans

Facing History and Ourselves sat down with Arianne at the California African American Museum on April 29, 2019 to discuss her journey to bring the story of Jefferson Lewis Edmonds to more people.  

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Topics: Reconstruction, Upstanders, Los Angeles, Upstander, Slavery

What Opens YOUR World?

Posted by Mary Hendra on April 24, 2019

Jessica Smith-Peterson received the 2019 Los Angeles Upstander Award from Facing History this Spring. Jessica holds a special place in our hearts having been a student in one of our LA classrooms a dozen years ago! Since that first introduction to upstanding rather than bystanding and her first actions to challenge injustice on her own campus, Jessica has gone on to get her law degree, advance immigrant rights, and teach formerly convicted persons how to restore their voting rights. Upon receiving the award, she shared how Facing History “opened up a world wider than I could have imagined” and taught her how to walk in someone else’s shoes, a skill that is vital in her work today as a public defender.

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Topics: Upstanders, Los Angeles, Upstander

Join Our #LAUpstander Campaign!

Posted by Mary Hendra on April 18, 2019

Have you been inspired by our #LAUpstander stories? Join us!

Become a social ambassador by sharing your #LAUpstander stories. Use the hashtag #LAUpstander, tag us at @FacingHistoryLA, and share short stories of your own upstanding or that of others.  Feel free to share our social media logo (below)!

Are you a teacher? check out this mini-unit based on 10 Questions for Young Changemakers developed by Harvard’s Professor Danielle Allen and the Youth Participatory Politics Network.

Are you a student or school leader? Or do you want to step up into leadership at your school? Get others thinking about upstanding at your next club, school, or faculty meeting with this 20-minute activity:

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Topics: Upstanders, Los Angeles, Upstander

Nipsey Hussle

Posted by Liz Vogel on April 11, 2019

As part of our Upstander series, I want to acknowledge Nipsey Hussle, the hip-hop artist, entrepreneur and community activist, born Ermias Asghedom, who was killed in an act of gun violence in South LA on March 31, 2019.  His death has shaken the Los Angeles community and beyond, especially among young generations who were inspired by his messages of positivity and possibility. He was deeply rooted and invested in his community and spoke openly about his past gang affiliation, using his personal experience to carve out a different path and bring others along with him. 
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Topics: Upstanders, Los Angeles, Upstander

Museums Annual Free-for-All Day

Posted by Mary Hendra on January 31, 2019

February 2-3, 2019 are free days at museums across Southern CaliforniaWhere will you go?  We had some fun asking Facing History staff and teachers which museums they have in their sights.

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Topics: Los Angeles

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This blog helps Southern California teachers connect directly with each other, share ideas, and learn about new resources and opportunities for those interested in or already implementing Facing History.

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