The Reconstruction Era and the Fragility of Democracy

July 17, 2017
Teaching the Reconstruction Era

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The Reconstruction Era and the Fragility of Democracy

How does society rebuild after extraordinary division and trauma, when the ideals and values of democracy are most vulnerable? We will explore this significant period in U.S. history, when Americans were faced with the challenge of restoring a nation amid the social and political upheaval of the civil war.

Professor Christopher Benson will be our guest scholar at this seminar. Professor Benson is Associate Professor of African American Studies and Journalism at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He co-authored Mamie Till Mobley’s memoir Death of Innocence: The Story of the Hate Crime That Changed America, about the life and death of Mrs. Mobley’s son, Emmett Till. Death of Innocence won the 2004 BlackBoard Nonfiction Book of the Year Award and the 2003 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award Special Recognition.

This seminar is recommended for upper middle and high school social studies, civics, and humanities teachers committed to implementing a four-week (or more!) Facing History unit. If you are a teacher at a Facing History Chicago partner school in a subject or grade level outside of these educators​, please reach out to your program associate or email [email protected] about your interest in attending.

Independent evaluation has shown that implementing Facing History’s approach improves students’ higher-order thinking skills, increases students’ civic efficacy and engagement with civic matters, and increases students’ tolerance for others who hold contrary views from their own.


In this seminar you will:

  • Discover new interdisciplinary teaching strategies that reinforce historical and literacy skills

  • Explore topics such as reconstruction, democracy, bias, and justice.

  • Receive a free copy of The Reconstruction Era and the Fragility of Democracy


After this seminar you will:

  • Become part of the Facing History educator network, with access to a rich slate of educator resources, including downloadable unit and lesson plans, study guides, and multimedia

  • Be able to borrow books and DVDs through our online lending library at no cost


Illinois educators can earn 21 Clock Hours for full participation in this course. 

Scholarships are available for CPS and eligible Illinois educators to cover all costs except a $30 registration fee, payable upon acceptance. 

Interested teachers can earn one graduate credit through Aurora University for $100. Please bring a check and request the syllabus for course requirements on the first day of the course.

For questions regarding this professional development opportunity, please email [email protected].

William P. Gray Elementary School
3730 N Laramie Ave
Chicago, IL 60641
July 17, 2017 - July 19, 2017
8:30 am - 3:30 pm

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