As part of #GearUPNh I facilitate a high school enrichment class: Power of Prose. As we explore writing through a lens of civic engagement we have joined the letters #2nextprez movement.
As a warm up to our presidential letters students have spent class time discussing race, power, and history through the lens of Beyonce’s Formation. Specifically the class is writing response letters to the Miami police who have called for a boycott and refuse to provide Beyonce security.
Early on we notice that stduents did not know the history of the Black Panthers. So in class we collaborated on a timeline. Students then completed Vee diagrams exploring claims and counter claims from multiple perspectives. During these activited we stumbled on to the history that New Haven played in this critical chapter of New Haven. No one including myself knew anything of Alex Rackley, Warren Kimbro, Lonnie McLucas, and George Sams, Jr. No one knew of the protest marches surrounding the arrests and the trials of Bobby Seale and Ericka Huggins. They had no idea that a Hillary Clinton got involved. No one knew the history of brutality, torture, liberation politics, government corruption and involvement in what many describe as state sanctioned murder.
I say we stumbled on to the history of New Haven because we did. We used Google’s whizbang machine. I also use the word stumble because I feel we have as a city. Students in class were amazed knowing they walk by these places every day. As our nation deals with the same issues of police brutality today that haunted communities of color fifty years ago we should tell this story. Our young scholars need to know.
So I am thinking that one of the first projects #GearUpNH should do during summer academy is to plan a walking history. Lets use Augmented Reality or just a walking map timeline to share the history we re-discovered. We will expand it to allow students to choose a history passion project. Looking forward to it.