Presented by Facing History in partnership with WGBH
Sponsored by Holland & Knight Charitable Foundation's Holocaust Remembrance Project and The Allstate Foundation
& With Support from Citizen Film and WTTW
In the documentary film American Creed, former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David M. Kennedy come together from remarkably different life experiences, backgrounds, and points of view to investigate the idea of a unifying American creed. At a time of sharp political and social tensions, their spirited inquiry frames the stories of a wide range of citizen-activists striving to realize their own visions of America’s promise across deep divides.
In times like this, we need stories that remind us of the ideals that hold us together.
-Pulitzer Prize-winning Historian, David Kennedy
A national identity is more than a list of diverse qualities and characteristics of the citizenry, it is also a collection of knowledge and values shared across the nation. In thinking about the stories and ideals that unite us as something larger than a collection of individuals, Facing History hopes to inspire young people to engage deeply in a conversation about who we are, and who we want to be. After watching one or more clips from American Creed, respond to the following in 500 words or less:
Tell a story that you believe shows the power of uniting people, building bridges, or orienting us to what we share and the common good.
Your story can be one from history or from your own community. You can choose to tell the story of an upstander (A person who speaks or acts in support of an individual or cause, particularly someone who intervenes on behalf of a person being attacked or bullied) or the story of a group that faced challenges and made a positive difference through their actions. Please tell us your story and explain what you hope people will learn from it.
To explore the examples from American Creed, the Holocaust, and the American Civil Rights Movement to help inspire your essay, sign up below.
The contest will be open for submissions March 1 through March 29, 2018. Finalists will be announced in April, and the public will be invited to vote for their favorite essays. Winners of the contest will be announced in May.
Facing History is working with amazing educational partners that have also developed classroom resources in coordination with American Creed. For more information, visit PBS Learning Media.
Have your students participate in the National Writing Project’s Write The Future: American Creed. Students can use this activity as a “warm-up” for their essay submission. All student work will be published, and it’s one step closer to winning some of the $25,000 in scholarships that will be awarded!