It is an exciting time to be an Ethnic Studies teacher. We are in troubling times and the insights emerging from resistance movements creates profound opportunities for deep conversations about justice in the classroom. Perhaps the most impactful recent example is The 1619 Project edited by Nikole Hannah-Jones and published by The New York Times. Last Fall, Facing History offered class sets of the magazines for teachers in the L.A. area. After spending much of my summer trying to locate copies of the release, I jumped at this opportunity.
The 1619 Project is a major initiative from The New York Times observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.
In the fall, Facing History partnered with The 1619 Project to get materials into the hands of teachers wishing to use this resource with their students. So, what did they do? And what could YOU do?
We’ve been hearing from a number of teachers that one of the key challenges in trying to facilitate conversation about the events in Charlottesville is determining what language to use, particularly in relation to groups and people.
Here are a few recommendations from our conversations:
- Let’s directly engage and confront the issue of white supremacy.