Teaching After the Election of Trump November 15, 2016

Teaching After the Election of Trump - Resource List | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

The Zinn Education Project stands in solidarity with those who have denounced Donald Trump’s racism, misogyny, xenophobia, and Islamophobia—as well as his ignorant and deadly proposals about the environment and climate change. We have been encouraged by the young people—in our classrooms and in the streets—who are living the maxim that “people make history.”

As we have tried to make sense of this election and what it means for educators and our students, we have asked ourselves, “What would Howard Zinn say?”

While detesting the outcome, we doubt he would have been surprised. Zinn observed that,

Is not nationalism one of the great evils of our time, along with racism, along with religious hatred? These ways of thinking—cultivated, nurtured, indoctrinated from childhood on—have been useful to those in power, and deadly for those out of power.

But Zinn would surely remind us that just because the rich and powerful want something to happen, doesn’t make it so. He would urge us not to lose heart, and to remember our history. Zinn wrote,

There is a tendency to think that what we see in the present moment will continue. We forget how often we have been astonished by the sudden crumbling of institutions, by extraordinary changes in people’s thoughts, by unexpected eruptions of rebellion against tyrannies, by the quick collapse of systems of power that seemed invincible.

No doubt, still reeling from this poisonous election, it is hard to be hopeful. But we invite you to draw on curriculum at the Zinn Education Project to help your students make sense of this new context. We include lessons—some highlighted below—that:

  • Show how social movements have made important strides even during dark times.
  • Help students explore other moments in history when elites have mobilized to roll back racial and economic progress.
  • Highlight examples of “divide and conquer” politics.
  • Help students explore aspects of Trump’s agenda—immigration, the environment, Muslims, civil liberties, the press, and economic inequality.

It’s vital that we introduce our students to the individuals and social movements that have made this country more just. As Howard Zinn reminded us:

To omit, or to minimize, these voices of resistance is to create the idea that power only rests with those who have the guns, who possess the wealth, who own the newspapers and the television stations. People who seem to have no power, whether working people, people of color, or women—once they organize and protest and create movements—have a voice no government can suppress.

Civil rights organizer Ella Baker said, “We who believe in freedom cannot rest.” The role of teachers is crucial in this freedom struggle. Please check out the lessons and resources below.

JUMP TO: Strides Against All OddsRoll Back Racial and Economic Progress“Divide and Conquer” PoliticsEnvironmentCivil LibertiesImmigrationEconomic InequalityMuslimsPressU.S. Presidents

Lessons and Other Classroom Resources

Strides Against All Odds

Students can draw hope from stories of people organizing even under the most repressive conditions. Here are just a few of countless examples.

stf_union_powerSouthern Tenant Farmers’ Union:
Black and White Unite?

Role play on farm labor organizing in the 1930s shows Black and white tenant farmers creating a powerful alliance. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond.
Download lesson.

Warriors Don’t Cry: Connecting History, Literature, and Our Lives (Lesson) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's HistoryWarriors Don’t Cry: Connecting History, Literature, and Our Lives

Role play and writing activities for language arts and social studies on the Little Rock Nine, designed for use with the memoir Warriors Don’t Cry. By Linda Christensen.
Download lesson.

‘What We Want, What We Believe’: Teaching with the Black Panthers’ Ten Point Program | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
‘What We Want, What We Believe’: Teaching with the Black Panthers’ Ten Point Program

The author describes how he used a study of the Black Panther’s Ten Point Program to help students assess issues in their own communities and to develop Ten Point Programs of their own. Available in Spanish. By Wayne Au. Download lesson.

>> More resources on the Black Panthers
Women in Labor History (Profiles) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
Women in Labor History

Meet women involved in the labor movement. Read more.

>> More resources on Women
The History All Around Us: Roosevelt High School and the 1968 Eastside Blowouts (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

Pump Up the Blowouts:
Reflections on the 40th Anniversary of the Chicano/a School Blowouts

Reflections on teaching students about the 1968 walkouts by Chicano students in California. By Gilda L. Ochoa. Download article.

>> More resources on Latinos
When We Fight, We Win (Book) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's HistoryWhen We Fight We Win!:
Twenty-First-Century Social Movements and the Activists That Are Transforming Our World

A visually rich and inspiring book of 21st century leaders and activists, sharing lessons of what makes and what hinders transformative social change. By Greg Jobin Leeds, Dey Hernandez Vazquez, and AgitArte. Learn more.

>> More resources on Organizing

 

Roll Back Racial and Economic Progress

While textbooks portray U.S. history as a steady march of progress, there have been frequent reversals. These resources highlight a few of the many times in U.S. history when advances made by people of color were rolled back. For example, the political and economic gains by African Americans during Reconstruction were met by brutal, terrorist attacks by white supremacists.

Five Myths About Reconstruction (Article) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

Reconstruction Era (1865-1877)

After the Civil War, with the protection of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution and the Civil Rights Act of 1866, African Americans were allowed to vote, run for elected office, attend school, acquire land, seek employment, and use public accommodations. These Reconstruction Era advances ended with violent repression by white supremacists.
Browse teaching resources.

Tulsa Race Riot ruins, an African American man with a camera surveying the rubble.

Burned Out of Homes and History: Unearthing the Silenced Voices of
the Tulsa Race Riot

The thriving community known as Black Wall Street in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was burned to the ground in 1921. This lesson explores how what is known as the “Tulsa Race Riot” (more like a massacre) and many similar events in U.S. history led to patterns of displacement and wealth inequality today. By Linda Christensen. Download lesson.

PreciousKnowledge

Ethnic Studies Banned in Tucson

A highly successful Mexican American Studies program in Tucson, Arizona, was banned in 2011. Students and teachers organized to protect the program that demonstrated a dramatic increase in college enrollment by Mexican American students. The film Precious Knowledge documents this struggle. Learn about film.

Why We Should Learn About the FBI’s War on the Civil Rights Movement (If We Knew Our History) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

Why We Should Teach About the FBI’s
War on the Civil Rights Movement

COINTELPRO was a FBI campaign in the 1960s to infiltrate, disrupt, and destroy a wide range of activist groups, with a focus on the Civil Rights Movement, the Young Lords, the American Indian Movement, and the anti-war movement. By Ursula Wolfe-Rocca. Read article.

 

“Divide and Conquer” Politics

The easiest way to prevent organized demands for improved wages and working conditions is to create divisions. Here are three examples from U.S. history of how the strength of natural alliances among working people was undermined by orchestrated efforts by those in power.

The Color Line (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's HistoryThe Color Line

A lesson on the countless colonial laws enacted to create division and inequality based on race. This helps students understand the origins of racism in the United States and who benefits. By Bill Bigelow. Download lesson.

cigar_label_crop

It’s a Mystery—
White Workers Against Black Workers

In this “mystery” activity, students receive clues and discuss some of the factors that contributed to the intensification of racism in the 1920s in many parts of the U.S. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. Download lesson.

July 13-16, 1863: New York City Draft Riots (This Day in History) - Harper's Weekly illustration of the burning of the orphanage during the Draft Riots | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

 The Draft Riot Mystery

Students are invited to solve a mystery, using historical clues, about the real story of the New York City Draft Riots of 1863. By Bill Bigelow. Download lesson.

 

Issues on Trump’s Agenda

Trump’s agenda will impact every aspect of students’ lives, including those listed here.

Environment

‘Don’t Take Our Voices Away’: A Role Play on the Indigenous Peoples’ Global Summit on Climate Change (Lesson) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History‘Don’t Take Our Voices Away’: A Role Play on the Indigenous Peoples’ Global Summit on Climate Change

A role play on the Indigenous Peoples’ Global Summit on Climate Change asks students to develop a list of demands to present to the rest of the world at a climate change meeting. By Julie Treick O’Neill and Tim Swinehart. Download lesson.

Dirty Oil and Shovel-Ready Jobs: A Role Play on Tar Sands and the Keystone XL Pipeline (Free Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

Dirty Oil and Shovel-Ready Jobs: A Role Play on Tar Sands and the Keystone XL Pipeline

Role play on the Keystone XL Pipeline battle. By Abby Mac Phail.
Download lesson.

A People’s Curriculum for the Earth: Teaching Climate Change and the Environmental Crisis (Teaching Guide) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

A People’s Curriculum for the Earth: Teaching Climate Change and the Environmental Crisis

Articles, student readings, and teaching activities to understand climate change and imagine solutions. Edited by Bill Bigelow and Tim Swinehart.
Learn more.

>> More resources on the Environment and Food

 

 Civil Liberties

The Voting Rights Act: Ten Things You Should Know | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

The Voting Rights Act:
Ten Things You Should Know

Key points in the history of the 1965 Voting Rights Act missing from most textbooks. By Emilye Crosby and Judy Richardson. Read article.

Learning About the Unfairgrounds: A 4th-Grade Teacher Introduces Her Students to Executive Order 9066 (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's HistoryLearning About the Unfairgrounds:
A 4th-Grade Teacher Introduces Her Students to Executive Order 9066

Lessons on Japanese American internment during WWII. By Katie Baydo-Reed. Download lesson.

 

>> More resources on Racism and Racial Identity

 

Immigration

linebetween

The Line Between Us: Teaching About the Border and Mexican Immigration

Lessons for teaching about the history of U.S.–Mexico relations and current border and immigration issues. By Bill Bigelow. Learn more.

>> More resources on Immigration

Economic Inequality

Who Made the New Deal? Part II A role play explores the impact of popular movements on FDR’s policies (Lesson) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

Who Made the New Deal?

Part I: What Caused the Great Depression? Part II: A role play explores the impact of popular movements on FDR’s policies. Background reading and role play. By Adam Sanchez. Read more.

>> More resources on Economics

Muslims

A People’s History of Muslims in the United States (Article) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

A People’s History of Muslims
in the United States

Although the dominant media—including our schools’ curriculum—perpetuate stereotypes, history shows Muslims in the Americas have fought for social justice since the 15th century. By Alison Kysia.
Read article.

Press

News for All the People (Book) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

News for All the People:
The Epic Story of Race and
the American Media

The history of media in the United States, through the lens of race. By Juan González and Joseph Torres. Learn more.

>> More resources on Media

 

Teaching about U.S. Presidents

Here are lessons on past U.S. presidents with relevance to today.

The Election of 1860 Role Play (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

The Election of 1860 Role Play

Role play based on the election of 1860 allows students to explore the political debates of the time and the real reasons for the Civil War. By Bill Bigelow. Download lesson.

Missing from Presidents’ Day: The People They Enslaved (Article) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

Missing from Presidents’ Day: The People They Enslaved

The central role of slavery in U.S. history is often missing in our textbooks, including its with relationship to U.S. presidents and the White House. This article and related lessons begin to fill that gap. By Clarence Lusane. Read article.

Andrew Jackson Revisited - Excerpt by Howard Zinn | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

Andrew Jackson Revisited

“One of the greatest victories for the people of America since Andrew Jackson,” Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York City, said of Donald Trump’s success in the 2016 election. We agree that Trump and Jackson have a lot in common, but neither election can be accurately described as a victory for anyone other than the wealthy elite. By Howard Zinn. Read more.

>> More resources on Presidents

 

Explore by Time Period, Explore by Theme | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

View full listing of
teaching materials

 

 

 

Add your comment:

Thanks very much for leaving a comment.