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Jim Crow and Apartheid: Walking hand in hand to the Promised Land

As students prepare for living, learning, and working in the 21st century it is necessary for schools to teach students to act locally while thinking globally. To support this practice I believe that students' course of study must not be limited to events of historical significance solely in the United States. Students should also assess the impact of the event on other countries. By making real world connections between the events students are able to identify parallels, make inferences, and develop an alternate point-of view to promote resolutions to the aftermath of the events.

Although freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of the people to peacefully petition the government for a redress of grievances are ‘inalienable rights’ in America, it is equally important for students to recognize these rights are rarely guaranteed outside of America. In fact, censorship, banning of books, plays, theater performances and burning of printing presses in South Africa served as cornerstone of maintaining white dominance and Black oppression.

Students will learn that that writing has been used to protect rights of the privileged and make political statements during the past four hundred years and how to recognize the elements of political speeches, texts, films, cartoons, and educational materials, and current events. Students will reflect on a number of events that have shaped the world, and how authors, the oppressed and their oppressors have responded to these events. The core questions that will be explored are: How does literature become an element of cultural history? How does fiction record the “truth” about society? What is the role of propaganda in our society? Does language have the power to control the thoughts and actions of the individual? The texts these questions will be explored in: letters, essays, speeches, novels, documentaries, and music.

Stacia D. Parker
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