Honoring Juneteenth

African American History Monument by Ed Dwight, State Capitol Grounds, Columbia, South Carolina.

Juneteenth — June 19th — also known as Emancipation Day — is one of the commemorations of Black people seizing their freedom in the United States. Below is a list of resources to help educators teach about emancipation and the Reconstruction era. 

“A valuable blueprint for teaching the history of abolitionism and the end of slavery. . . . Coming at a moment of activism by modern descendants of the struggle for freedom, the book could not be more timely.” 

– Eric Foner, DeWitt Clinton Professor Emeritus of History, Columbia University
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery

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“From students, to educators, to a public that cares about public education, this book is a must-read to know the issues at stake and the strategies necessary to win.”

– Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University and author of From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation

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Why We Should Teach Reconstruction
By the editors of Rethinking Schools

Unfortunately, the transformative history of Reconstruction has been buried. First by a racist tale masquerading as history and now under a top-down narrative focused on white elites. It’s long overdue we unearth the groundswell of activity that brought down the enslavers of the South and set a new standard for freedom we are still struggling to achieve today.

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40 Acres and a Mule: Role-playing What Reconstruction Could Have Been
By Adam Sanchez

A high school teacher uses a role play so students can imagine life during Reconstruction, the possibilities of the post-Civil War era, and the difficult decisions that Black communities had to wrestle with.

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A War to Free the Slaves? 
By Bill Bigelow 

Students explore some of the myths of the Civil War through examining excerpts from Lincoln’s first inaugural address, the rarely mentioned original Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution that Lincoln promised to support, and the Emancipation Proclamation. 

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Our Zinn Education Project’s (co-coordinated with Teaching for Change) Teach Reconstruction campaign offers free lessons for middle and high school teachers, a national report, a student campaign to make Reconstruction history visible in their communities, and an annotated list of recommended teaching guides, student-friendly books, primary document collections, and films. This campaign is informed by teachers who have used our Reconstruction lessons and a team of Reconstruction scholars.

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