National Application

This theme considers how various groups have tried to use education as a way of claiming a place in American culture. At the same time, participants question how teachers can best educate today's students for informed, proactive citizenship. Teachers and students may examine a particular time when a marginalized group tried to develop an educational institution or teaching practices that would provide an avenue into American civic life. Learners studying such an era might visit public/private schools or colleges, interview stakeholders involved in important historical moments there, and do archival research to uncover important stories.

Local Application:  Uplifting a "New" South (Click here to sample the Georgia team's application of this theme.)

In Georgia, Educating for Citizenship team members studied Spelman College as an example of collaboration between blacks and whites to create an empowering educational institution for African Americans in the decades after the Civil War. Setting this achievement within a larger context that sometimes questioned the ability of the freed peoples to become fully enfranchised citizens, participants read poetry and prose by Frances Harper about the post-Civil War learning needs of blacks in the South, correspondence between local schoolteachers and Freedmen's Bureau administrators, and periodical literature of the 1870s and 1880s about the best goals for educating African Americans. Focusing specifically on Spelman's story, team members collected oral histories and archival materials, including turn-of-the-century copies of The Spelman Messenger, a bulletin about college students and graduates. All along the way, team members considered how they might encourage their students' awareness that the educational opportunities many take for granted today were gained only through prolonged collaborative efforts that should be honored–and may often need to be replicated–by diverse American community members today.





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