Misconceptions about the history of Reconstruction persist today. Historian James Grossman describes the importance of establishing an accurate history of Reconstruction:
It is important to get Reconstruction right because for nearly a century, especially in the South, white Americans denied African Americans the vote. White Americans denied the possibility [and] the implications of full citizenship for African Americans by pointing to Reconstruction as a failure, by saying, “Look what happened. We gave these people the vote and these states were run in a corrupt fashion and everything went to hell in a handbasket.” Well, it’s not true. In fact, Reconstruction governments were successful for their time—they were clean, they were progressive—and as W.E.B.Du Bois said back in the 1930s, what white Southerners feared far more than black failure was black success. Reconstruction governments were successful, and that’s why they had to be taken down.1
1Transcribed from video interview related to the film Slavery by Another Name (PBS).
Students learn about education, identity, and activism through an exploration of the East Los Angeles school walkouts, when thousands of students protested unequal educational opportunities for Mexican American students.
Explore the origin and legacy of the Take A Knee protest in the NFL, the significance of the more recent athlete boycotts, and the long history of athletes protesting racial injustice in the United States.
Students explore the potential negative impact of images through the social media protest #IfTheyGunnedMeDown and develop a decision-making process for choosing imagery to represent controversial events.
Students examine how identity and biases can impact how individuals interpret images and experience the challenge of selecting images to represent news events, particularly connected to sensitive issues.