Reconstruction Teach-In at Howard University March 22, 2018

Reconstruction, the era immediately following the Civil War and emancipation, is full of stories that help us see the possibility of a future defined by racial equity. Yet the possibilities and achievements of this era are too often overshadowed by the violent white supremacist backlash. Today — in a moment where activists are struggling to make Black lives matter — every student should probe the relevance of Reconstruction.

Join the Howard University School of Education, Teaching for Change’s D.C. Area Educators for Social Justice, and the Zinn Education Project for a teach-in on Reconstruction for grades 3-12 pre-service and in-service teachers. This is part of the Zinn Education Project campaign to teach Reconstruction.

Tuesday, April 24, from 5:30 – 8 p.m.
Howard University’s Blackburn Center

The teach-in will include a plenary and workshops (descriptions below RSVP button) for upper elementary, middle, and high school teachers. The plenary presenters are:

Greg Carr, associate professor of Africana Studies and chair of the Department of Afro-American Studies, Howard University. Carr’s bio.

Paul Gardullo, museum curator and director of the Center for the Study of Global Slavery, National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). Gardullo’s bio.

James W. Loewen, author, Lies My Teacher Told Me, Five Myths About Reconstruction, and more. Loewen’s website.

Turkiya Lowe, chief historian, National Park Service. Lowe’s bio.

Staff from the National Park Service, the Frederick Douglass Home (NPS), the Historical Society of Washington, D.C., the and ASALH will have tables in the exhibit area with resources for bringing Reconstruction history to the classroom. There will be a display of recommended books for the classroom, including a small selection of titles for purchase. The event is free and open to the public. RSVP required.


Concurrent Workshop Sessions

Attendees select one. 

Reconstructing the South, A Role Play
Adam Sanchez, organizer and curriculum writer, Zinn Education Project (Blackburn Gallery Lounge)
What kind of country is this going to be? This was the urgent question posed in the period immediately following the U.S. Civil War. This role play asks participants to imagine themselves as people who were formerly enslaved and to wrestle with a number of issues about what they needed to ensure genuine “freedom.”

How Do You Reconstruct a Nation?
Dawn Chitty, education director, African American Civil War Museum (AACWM) (Room 148-150)
In this session, participants use contextual documents to understand the challenges and successes of Reconstruction in the American South. Could a country really be brought back together or would the divisions of the war last well into the future?

When the Impossible Suddenly Became Possible: Reconstruction Meet and Greet
Faye Colon and Nqobile Mthethwa, Zinn Education Project (Room 146)
After the Civil War, social movements such as the abolition movement, women’s suffrage, and labor movement attempted to form coalitions. In this interactive classroom lesson, students step into the shoes of Henry Highland Garnet, William Sylvis, Lydia Maria Childs, Frances Harper, and many more who were involved in these movements. Through the lesson, students gain an understanding of what was bringing them together after the Civil War and what ultimately kept them apart.

The Hidden History of Reconstruction
Jim Loewen and Greg Carr (Digital Auditorium)
Scholars Jim Loewen and Greg Carr will talk about the hidden history of Reconstruction and why it matters today. Each scholar will make a presentation, followed by Q&A with the audience.  


Thanks to donations by publishers, the first 25 teachers to arrive will be able to select a book from the titles listed below. There will also be books for sale, including copies of Jim Loewen’s Lies My Teacher Told Me and Sundown Towns for signing.

Reconstruction Books | Zinn Education Project



Not in D.C. area? You can still participate in the #TeachReconstruction campaign and engage your students in a project to Make Reconstruction History Visible. You can also apply to host a workshop on teaching about Reconstruction in your school district.

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