Local History Awards at Mississippi History Day 2016

NHD_in_MS_2016-38-624x327 On March 5, 2016, the annual Local Mississippi History Awards were given at the Mississippi History Day competition at the University of Southern Mississippi. The goal of the award is to deepen student appreciation of and exploration of the untold stories and role of “everyday people” in local Mississippi history… Read more.

Vernon F. Dahmer: Civil Rights Martyr and American Hero

Dahmer_Vernon January 10, 2016 will mark the 50th anniversary of the murder of civil rights martyr and American hero, Vernon Ferdinand Dahmer. He was a civil rights leader, community leader, and businessman in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. In the early hours of January 10, 1966, members of the Ku Klux Klan shot into and firebombed the home he shared… Read more.

Southern Freedom Movement Workshop at NCSS Conference

anthony_julian At the 2015 National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) conference in New Orleans, Mississippi Civil Rights Movement and Labor History Teacher fellow Anthony Golding and fellowship director Julian Hipkins III presented a workshop on the freedom movement in Mississippi… Read more.

Jacqueline Dace Visits Ashland High School

dace1 Juniors and seniors at Ashland High School in Ashland, MS had an opportunity to learn about the new Mississippi Civil Rights Museum (due to be completed in 2017) from the project manager, Jacqueline Dace on November 4, 2015. Read more.

Teacher Fellows Plan For Future

teacher-fellows-thumb The Mississippi Civil Rights Movement and Labor History Teacher Fellows came from across the state for our mid-fall convening in Jackson from October 18-20, 2015. In just two short days, the fellows explored new lessons for the classroom, learned about opportunities for students to showcase their work, heard from inspiring guest speakers, wrote stories from their own classrooms, and planned… Read more.

Dorie Ladner Day in Natchez, Mississippi

dorie-ladner-day The Adams County Board of Supervisors voted to make October 23 Dorie Ladner Day. Dorie Ladner spoke in Natchez on October 24, 2015 at Jefferson College along with Reverend Dr. Al Sampson. They spoke about the Civil Rights Movement in Natchez 50 years ago, including the formation of an armed organization called the Deacons for Defense and Justice, an economic boycott of white owned businesses… Read more.

Mississippi Teacher Fellows Host Workshops Across the State

In early September teacher fellows in Kosciusko, Laurel, and Hattiesburg organized full day workshops for teachers and/or students in their respective school districts. Teachers in five more districts are hosting sessions at the end of the month. Read more.

Building a Civil Rights Teaching Community in Mississippi

CRT-building-community-thumb This summer, eleven middle and high school teachers from the across the state of Mississippi met to share resources, stories, and fellowship about how to bring a deeper understanding of the rich history of civil rights and labor movements in Mississippi to their students. During the course of the week they created a strong bond based on their shared commitment to introduce students to the bottom-up and often hidden history of the state. Read more.

Educators’: Please Complete Survey on One Person, One Vote Website

one-person-one-vote-thumb Teaching for Change is honored to be a partnering institution on the website One Person, One Vote: the Legacy of SNCC and the Fight for Voting Rights. This pilot site will be expanded. Your input is crucial for that process. Please take a few minutes to respond to the survey, as described in the note below from the SNCC Legacy Project and Duke University. Read more.

High School Students Produce Award-Winning Film on Ella Baker

ella-baker “The most powerful person in the struggle for civil rights in of the 1960s was Miss Ella Baker, not Martin Luther King,” said Stokely Carmichael. Two St. Paul, Minnesota high school students—Siena Leone-Getten and Paying Lor—decided to learn more about this influential woman who remains so hidden in history. Not only did they research her life history, they also produced a well-researched ten minute documentary on Baker that can be used to raise awareness… Read more.

Jesse Harris, Presente!

jesse-harris-thumb Longtime civil rights activist and Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party organizer Jesse Harris died of natural causes at the age of 75 on January 28, 2015. Harris was a board member of the Veterans of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement. This foot soldier of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement will forever be remembered as a steadfast community organizer who worked tirelessly for justice and equality, said Hollis Watkins, chairman of the Veterans… Read more.

From Civil Rights to Black Power: The Significance of the 1965-66 Alabama Freedom Movement

selma-resource-thumb With the release of the “Selma” film tremendous interests has been generated among youth activists in the struggle for Voting Rights as it reached its apex in March 1965. This campaign for the ballot in Dallas County, Alabama, where Selma is located, did not begin when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) intervened during early Jan. 1965. In fact, as mentioned in the film, organizers from… Read more.

Teaching About Selma

selma-thumb The release of the film Selma in this 50th anniversary year of the Selma-to-Montgomery March and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 has helped generate great interest in these pivotal stories from the Civil Rights Movement. Schools across the country are taking students to see the film. Commemorative events will be held all year. Today, racial equity and voting rights are front and center in the lives of young people. There is much… Read more.

The Selma Voting Rights Struggle: 15 Key Points from Bottom-Up History and Why It Matters Today

On this 50th anniversary year of the Selma-to-Montgomery March and the Voting Rights Act it helped inspire, national attention is centered on the iconic images of “Bloody Sunday,” the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the interracial marchers, and President Lyndon Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act. This version of history, emphasizing a top-down narrative and isolated events, reinforces the master narrative that civil rights activists describe… Read more.

Freedom Summer and Ferguson, MO: A Special Presentation

CRT_Ladner-Freedoms-Summer-Ferguson On December 5, 2014, the New American Foundation held a special event on Freedom Summer and Ferguson, showing clips of the film Freedom Summer side-by-side with videos from Ferguson, MO. This was followed by a conversation with Stanley Nelson, film director; Khalil Muhammad, director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black CultureDorie Ladner, SNCC veteran from Hattiesburg,Miss.; and Arlie Schardt… Read more.

Marion Barry Shares Memories with High School Students

CRT-Students-Interview-Barry-thumb2 “I was born in the Delta of Mississippi in a town called Itta Bena, about 15 miles from Greenwood. About 35 miles from Greenville. About 10 or 15 miles from Indianola, where B.B. King grew up. My mother and father were sharecroppers, that means that they bought the cotton seeds from some white man, planted the seeds, harvested the cotton, plowed the fields, and on the side we had a garden, and had pigs, hogs, and chicken… Read more.

Tupelo Students Step Into the Shoes of Medgar Evers

crt_jackson-medgar-dec2014 Have you flown into Mississippi’s capital city recently? If so, you would have entered the recently named Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport. Finally, people are hearing the name of Medgar Evers, a champion for voting and human rights in Mississippi. But it is just a first step. At best, most people know that Evers worked with the NAACP and was murdered in his driveway. Middle school teacher Anthony Golding wanted to be sure… Read more.

Bringing Freedom Summer to Students in Starkville

CRT_freedom-students-starksville “I’d only heard of Medgar Evers. I did not know the names and stories of so many other Civil Rights Movement activists in Mississippi,” said one the dozens of teachers in workshops offered by Teaching for Change curriculum specialist Julian Hipkins III and Freedom Summer volunteer Mark Levy in Starkville, Mississippi last week. While at Mississippi State University in Starkville to attend the Remembering Freedom Summer: Building a Better Future Read more.

Charles McDew: “Why The Others Died”

news-thumb-charles-mcdew Charles McDew describes the terror of imprisonment and threats to the lives of Civil Rights Movement activists and others during the freedom struggle in a Moth Radio Hour story, “Why The Others Died” (9/30/2014). In the conclusion to his chilling and tragic story, he notes, “It gave me to understand that it is not a struggle of black people or white people dominating black people; it is a struggle of people without power being exploited, run over, and destroyed.” Read more.

An Epitaph That Keeps Giving

We are pleased to share with you the speech delivered by Timothy L. Jenkins on June 27, 2014 in the memorial plenary of the 50th Anniversary of Freedom Summer convening. Hundreds of people of all ages gathered for this historic event at Tougaloo College in Mississippi. The plenary session, convened by Judy Richardson, was called “In the Mississippi River.”  Read more.

Hands on the Plow for Teacher Fellowship


“We want to make sure that we spread the work out so that we have a lot of hands on the plow. There is much work to be done.” These words by Hollis Watkins guided a convening of historians, activists, museum staff at Tougaloo College on August 12, 2014. This diverse group had signed on as partners for a program to support teaching about the civil rights movement and labor history in Mississippi. Read more.

We Shall Not Be Moved Wins 2014 Lillian Smith Book Award


Teaching for Change board member Mike J. O’Brien’s bookWe Shall Not Be Moved: The Jackson Woolworth Sit-In and the Movement it Inspiredis one of the 2014 Lillian Smith Book Award recipients. The Lillian Smith Book Awards were established in 1968 by the Southern Regional Council to recognize authors whose books represent outstanding achievements demonstrating through literary merit and moral vision an honest representation of the South… Read more.

Teaching About Brown v. Board

brown-v-board-2014-thumb This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Board decision. Too often marked as the launch of the Civil Rights Movement, it is important to teach about the Supreme Court ruling in the context of the decades long struggle by people across the United States. This anniversary is also a key time to look at the progress that has been made and the inequities that continue today. Here are some lessons, books, films, and articles… Read more.

50th Anniversary of Freedom Summer Conference

5-2-14-freedom-summer There will be an historic convening at Tougaloo College from June 25-29, 2014 on the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer. Here is a description from the conference website: “In the summer of 1964, hundreds of summer volunteers from across America convened in Mississippi to put an end to the system of rigid segregation. The civil rights workers and the summer volunteers successfully challenged the denial… Read more.

Students Awarded for Local Mississippi History Projects

students-awarded-2014-thumb On Feb. 22 2014, the second Local Mississippi History Awards were given at the Mississippi History Day competition at USM-Hattiesburg. The goal of the award is to deepen student appreciation of and exploration of the untold stories and role of “everyday people” in local Mississippi history, using the National History Day competition as an incentive and a focus for student projects. Thanks to a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to… Read more.

In Their Own Voice: Activists Tell the History of the Civil Rights Movement

in-their-own-voice-thumb The Library of Congress has launched an online collection of oral history interviews with Civil Rights Movement veterans. The interviews were collected and compiled under the Civil Rights History Project Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-19). It was a collaborative effort of the Library of Congress (LOC) and the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). Read more.

 National Youth Summit on Freedom Summer

01-14-14-youth-summit On February 5, 2014, your class can join students across the country for a virtual National Youth Summit on Freedom Summer and civic engagement. Civil rights activists, students, and historians will participate in a panel discussion about the 1964 youth-led effort to end the political disenfranchisement and educational inequality of African Americans in the Deep South, and discuss the role of young people in shaping… Read more.

NYC High School Classes Invited to “Freedom High” Civil Rights Play

12-22-13-nyc-highschool-classes “Freedom High,” a civil rights movement play, will be performed Monday Feb. 24th at 10am at Queens College’s Goldstein Theater and will be open to selected high school classes*. The play by Adam Kraar is set in Oxford, Ohio, in late June of 1964 at the orientation and training session for the young volunteers who are about to go south to help with Mississippi voter registration campaigns… Read more.

Teaching for Change Presents and Learns at the Schomburg Center

10-09-13-schomburg-center On Monday, July 15, with many hearts still reeling from the announcement of George Zimmerman’s acquittal after killing unarmed African American teenager Trayvon Martin, Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammad and Dr. Ernest Morrell addressed dozens of educators in the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture’s Black History 360° Summer Institute. Muhammad and Morrell invited teachers to place the Zimmerman case…Read more.

Freedom Movement Unsung Hero Clyde Kennard Honored on 50th Anniversary

10-08-2013-clyde-kennard Korean War veteran Clyde Kennard wrote eloquent letters about the need for desegregation and his right to attend Mississippi Southern College (now the University of Southern Mississippi) in the 1950s. Instead of being admitted, the state of Mississippi framed him on criminal charges for a petty crime and sentenced him to seven years of hard labor at Parchman Penitentiary. Read more.

Introducing Students to Medgar Evers’ Life and Legacy

4-2-13-medgar-evers Medgar Wiley Evers was one of Mississippi’s most impassioned activists, orators, and visionaries for equality and against brutality. However many students learn little about his life and legacy in textbooks. Therefore, Teaching for Change prepared an interactive lesson to introduce students to his work and inspire them to learn more. The lesson is also designed as a pre-reading activity, providing an overview for students of the people… Read more.

First Local Mississippi History Award Winners

2-26-13-first-local-mississippi On Feb. 23 2013, the first Local Mississippi History Awards were given at the Mississippi History Day competition at USM-Hattiesburg. The goal of the award is to deepen student appreciation of and exploration of the untold stories and role of “everyday people” in local Mississippi history, using the National History Day competition as an incentive and a focus for student projects. Thanks to a grant… Read more.

Writing for Freedom: A Multidisciplinary Study of Freedom Schools Then and Now

writing-for-freedom-thumb A team of teachers in McComb, Mississippi began the year as historians, combing through primary documents from the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Schools in a seminar for language arts, history, and science teachers. The seminar used the inquiry-based, hands-on, and reflective pedagogy of the Freedom Schools* so that participants learned about the curriculum not only through the readings, but they also experienced it. Read more.

Teaching about 1963 in 2013: Civil Rights Movement History

news-thumb-teaching-about-1963 The year 1963 was pivotal to the modern Civil Rights Movement. It is often recalled as the year of the March on Washington, but much more transpired. It was a year dedicated to direct action and voter registration and punctuated by moments of political theater and acts of violence. To support teaching about 1963 anniversaries, we describe here some of the key events and milestones in the Movement. Where possible we list… Read more.

The Freedom Movement in Mississippi – 1963: Teaching About the 50th Anniversary

news-thumb-freedom-movement This year (2013) marks the 50th anniversary of significant events in the 1963 Civil Rights Movement or Southern Freedom Movement. Some are well known; others have received less attention. All offer opportunities for either framing or focusing study of the Civil Rights Movement. A key resource for learning and preparing to teach about the 1963 anniversary events is the Civil Rights Movement Veterans website. Read more.

McComb, Mississippi Students Take Civil Rights Movement History Tour

news-thumb-mccomb-students-tour “You read about it and you have it for a minute and then you lose it. When you experience it hands-on it stays with you forever,” said sophomore Sabrina Mays about the 3-day Civil Rights Movement tour in May of 2011 for 44 middle and high school students from McComb, Miss. Watch the video to see highlights of the tour and hear from the students themselves about what they learned. Read more.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Legacy Occupies Wall Street and Washington

news-thumb-mlk-legacy-occupies By exploring the historical connections between the dedication of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial in Washington, D.C. and the Occupy (We are the 99%) movementsnationwide, educators can create an important teachable moment to paint a more holistic picture of King’s legacy in terms of his fight for economic justice in America. The original August 28 date for the Memorial’s dedication commemorated the famous…Read more.

Teaching the Movement Symposium at the University of Utah

news-thumb-teaching-the-movement Legacies of the Civil Rights Movement, a month-long symposium on four Utah college campuses, will conclude October 3-4 at the University of Utah with the theme,Teaching the Movement. Monday, October 3: Keynote address by Dr. Clayborne Carson, professor of history at Stanford University and director of Stanford’s Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute. Tuesday, October 4: a panel discussion… Read more.

McComb, Mississippi Students Create Website with Local Civil Rights Movement History

news-thumb-mccomb-legacies-oral-histories Students at the McComb School District Business and Technology Complex (B&T) have launched the website. As it states on the homepage, the website is “designed to share the history of McComb, Miss., with an emphasis on the stories of working people of all races, women, and young people and how they have strived for equity in labor, civics, education, economics, and the arts.” Read more.

Teaching Tolerance Honors Putting the Movement Back into Civil Rights Teaching

news-thumb-teaching-tolerance-honors Putting the Movement Back into Civil Rights Teaching was chosen by Teaching Tolerance as one of the best professional development resources for teachers wishing to introduce students to a more accurate portrayal of the Civil Rights Movement. For 20 years, the Teaching Tolerance staff have reviewed and recommended culturally aware literature and anti-bias resources to educators. Read more.

New Book Release: Civil Rights History from the Ground Up

news-thumb-civil-rights-ground-up Civil Rights History from the Ground Up: Local Struggles, A National Movement is a collection of scholarly essays that illustrate the critical role local-level organizing  played during the civil rights movement. Edited by Emilye Crosby, the essays weave oral history and activist accounts with traditional sources to compel students and general readers to rethink who and what were important to the African American… Read more.

Women Make History: Updated Lesson Honoring Women’s Activism

news-thumb-women-make-history In honor of women’s history month, Teaching for Change updated and posted online the popular Women Make History lesson from Putting the Movement Back into Civil Rights Teaching. In this interactive activity, participants are introduced to 36 women of note and the strategies they used as activists. Educators use the Women Make History lesson to challenge traditional narratives that often exclude the critical role of women in movements for change. Read more.

Teaching American History Grant for McComb, Mississippi

news-thumb-grant-mccomb A consortium of seven school districts, led by the McComb, Miss. school district and including Brookhaven, Claiborne, Columbia, Lamar, Marion, and Natchez-Adams districts was awarded a Teaching American History grant in August, 2010. Teaching for Change worked closely with McComb on the application thanks to the support they have received from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to deepen instruction about… Read more.

Putting the Movement Back Into Civil Rights Teaching

mississippi1999 The Network of Educators on the Americas (NECA), the Poverty and Race Research Action Council (PRRAC) and the Howard University History Department co-sponsored Putting the Movement Back Into Civil Rights Teaching, a free one-day institute that took place on October 30, 1999, at Howard University in Washington, D.C., funded in part by grants from the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac foundations. Read more.