Civil rights activist and community organizer Robert Woodson’s 1776 Unites organization was launched early this year as a positive response to the New York Times’ historically inaccurate and increasingly discredited 1619 Project. A key product of the 1776 Unites initiative has recently debuted: ready-made lesson plans for schools that want to teach students the entire, uplifting story about the historical triumphs of African Americans.
1776 Unites brought together a group of African American historians, activists, and community leaders to refute the main thesis of the 1619 Project: that America’s “true” founding was when the first Black slaves were brought to the English colonies, and that racism and slavery are the defining characteristics of the American experience. Woodson called the 1619 thesis “one of the most diabolical, self-destructive ideas I have ever heard.”
The lessons plans offered by 1776 Unites - five have been released so far and I reviewed the first three - show the struggles faced by Black Americans but highlight how many have overcome severe discrimination to achieve success. The historical figures featured in the first three lessons - inventor Elijah McCoy (son of slaves who escaped bondage in Kentucky), former slave turned California real estate magnate and philanthropist Biddy Mason, and Robert Woodson himself - all exemplify this kind of success.
In my review I describe what comes with each lesson, how they are structured, and how teachers might modify or supplement these lesson plans for maximum effect. Read the full article here.
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