Upper School Students Explore Primary Source Documents in The 1619 Project
At Kew-Forest, Black History is American History and it is incorporated throughout the year. Our 11th grade US History teacher, Ms. Varsos, shared, “I deeply believe that we cannot teach history authentically without acknowledging race,” as can be seen in Bacon’s Rebellion (VA, 1676), and in the diversity of communities and cultural practices in the pre-Revolutionary era, in political considerations (Constitutional compromises, voting eligibility, citizenship requirements, etc.) throughout the nation’s history, and elsewhere.
Every unit of the curriculum delves into what noted historian & Professor Eric Foner calls, “both the expansion and the contraction of liberty.” The curriculum uses an interdisciplinary approach to studying how liberty, equality, and rights expand for some while being denied to others in an ever-shifting dynamic.
Thus, students in US History have been exploring primary source documents in The 1619 Project throughout this year, and in honor of Black History Month have been given the opportunity to explore one of several sources (see below) with the aim of understanding its central message, its historical context, and its relevance today by way of each student’s personal response to it. Students may craft their response as an essay, poem, play, statue, painting, or any other form that they feel most aptly reflects their response to the work, which they will then share with their classmates.
Sources students may elect to explore include:
The Soul of Black Folk - W. E. B. DuBois
Notes of A Native Son - James Baldwin
The Poetry of Phillis Wheatley - Phillis Wheatley
A Raisin in the Sun - Lorraine Hansberry
Invisible Man - Ralph Ellison
Letter to My Son - Ta-Nehisi Coates
Sketches of Southern Life - Frances Ellen Watkins Harper
Argument to the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education - Thurgood Marshall
The Writings of Ida B. Wells-Barnett - Ida Wells-Barnett
We’re wishing our students all the best with their projects this month!