I am so excited about my WHOLE DAY! Y'all have no idea. I will do my best to detail all the goodness, realness, and emotion here.
I get to start my morning listening to @ProfJeffries , the host of @Tolerance_org 's Teaching Hard History Podcast. He's in the room, y'all!
Today we are talking about "From Slavery to Civil Rights: Teaching Hard History.

(I am trying to play it cool now, but I can't.)
The first thing he's referencing is The Mere Distinction of Colour Exhibition (2017), which is held at James Madison's Montpelier Plantation in VA. Some of this information is on one of the most recent episodes of #TeachingHardHistory.
He's describing a tour of the site when the tour guide asks him to rub his hand along the wall of the basement. He describes feeling grooves. When he looks at the grooves, you can see the fingerprints of a child's hand.
To be clear - The bricks at Madison's plantation - the foundation of the library where the Bill of Rights was written by James Madison - those very bricks were built by enslaved children.
"When I have to explain this to my daughter, as she gets older...that is hard history. How do I wrap my mind around that democracy is built on the foundation of enslaved children's labor?" @ProfJeffries
The truth is American Slavery and the Civil Rights is -

Hard to think about
Hard to talk
Hard to teach about
Hard to learn about

We are still dealing with the impacts and versions of these same things today, it's impossible to separate politics, and there are so many myths.
.@ProfJeffries is describing his segregated Brooklyn community, Crown Heights, where he never saw white people. He might as well be describing my hometown in Miami.
"The normative narrative of American History gives us this myth of perpetual progress. This is the Disney version of American history."
The bad guys are easily identified. (He adds - we don't want to talk about how these bad guys were elected.) It tricks us into thinking that we remove the person, then the problem will be solved.
"In American history, you get these moments of promise and possibility, but the pattern shows us that in these moments things actually get worst."

(I learned some of the patterns from Carol Anderson. We are reading her in the Spring for #ClearTheAir!)
"We must teach long history of American repression, regression, and lost opportunities.

The truth is the denial of freedom co-exist with freedom in American history. We must acknowledge that."
For example, how do you talk about Thomas Jefferson without talking about Sally Hemmings?

"We can't ignore it. He was 45 and she was 14, and he owned her."
A key way to disrupt the narrative is to talk about it as a series of lost opportunities. The potential for change is real, there are people struggling to get us to move forward but we don't do it as a nation. If we frame it as lost opportunities, students can understand the gap.
Shout out to Frederick Douglass, who continues to do great things.
We teach Harriet Tubman and then pole vault to Martin Luther King.

Imitating the dialogue that happened in the 60s and beyond, Prof Jeffries said, "You got some federal legislation, what else do you Negroes want?"
The 100 years between 1865 - 1965 is critical to disrupting normative narratives. If we want to understand the past and present, then no better way than to look through the lens of African American history.
"You cannot teach these things without teaching African American humanity and resistance to oppression in slavery and freedom."
"There was never not a moment when Black people were not resisting slavery. TEACH THAT! Guess what happens when you don't teach resistance to slavery? You get Kanye West."

"The main resistance to the institute of slavery was survival. That only makes sense when you recognize a person's humanity."
If we teach things honestly and accurately, history (in the context of their current reality) starts to make sense to students. Then students get mad about their miseducation and want to learn more. They get fired up about what they don't know about the past and the present.
We can't be afraid to talk about resistance to oppression in the contemporary era, and we have to talk about it in all of its forms. If we don't, it doesn't make sense.
Now he's talking about a presentation he gave "From Charlottesville to Wakanda - White Nationalism (rooted in hate) to Black Nationalism (rooted in love) in this age. When you are talking about black nationalism its about love of self. It was all about self love and self healing.
"The great misconception is that black people have always wanted to be with white people, like white people are magical. Any sane person knows that if you are a black person, the most dangerous place to be is with white people."
"With that said, Wakanda was a retreat for black people. However, it's never been about full retreat for black people. It's about retreating, regrouping and re-engaging. Full retreat could mean surrender."
It's not from slavery to civil rights it must be THROUGH. That means we have to teach Reconstruction and Jim Crow.
Teaching Racial Terror - We can't talk about the institution of slavery without talking about the violence. Violence is the only way you could mandate that.
It just got dead a$$ silent in here. I don't think that anyone is breathing. He has moved toward the era of lynching.

Lynching - a public practice that was advertised, supported by the state and city, and supported by thousands of spectators without those Klan hoods.
Speaking about the criminalizing of black people that led to additional lynching - "What's criminal has always been defined as what black and brown people do instead of say, treason."
We cannot be afraid to talk about Black Power. Black Power is a critique of American political and economic systems. We also have to talk about the contemporary moment.
Five keys to Teaching Hard History.

1. Know your history. You don't have to get a PhD, just listen to the podcast. :)
2. Know the dynamics of our classroom.
3. Know your self and be comfortable in who you are, and communicate that to your students. You can't talk about race and then pretend you don't have one. Acknowledge that.

Simple: "I am white, cool. Let's go."
4. Know your school (in what ways will admin have your back, in what ways will they freak out).
5. Know your community (in what ways will community have your back, in what ways will they freak out.)

You have to be proactive about it. That's how you build allies.
"We don't have a choice. We have to do this. It is not an option. We absolutely have to do it, for the sake of understanding the past and present. To do anything otherwise is educational malpractice, a like a doctor we should do no harm. That is our task." /End

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Val Brown (She/Her)

Val Brown (She/Her) Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @ValeriaBrownEdu

Aug 13, 2018
Went to hold Mini Me's hand as we walked into the school and then said, "Oh, you probably don't want me holding your hand going in."

Mini me: It's ok, Mommy. I want you to hold my hand. That's what mommies are for.

Check out my son's teacher wishlist. 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣
The kids reported a wonderful day at school. 🙌🏾🙌🏾 The entire day was spent community building or doing team challenges. They also got to pick their seats. When I asked my son what he liked most about his teacher he said he was funny.
Read 4 tweets
Aug 3, 2018
I have been meaning to do this for a minute, and it appears that I have found a little time to tell you all about @Tolerance_org .
About - Teaching Tolerance provides FREE resources to educators who work with children K12. Materials can be used to supplement the curriculum, to inform practice, and to create civil and inclusive school communities where children are respected, valued and welcome participants.
Teaching Tolerance emphasizes social justice and anti-bias. The anti-bias approach encourages children and young people to challenge prejudice and learn how to be agents of change in their own lives.
Read 30 tweets
Aug 2, 2018
ATTN: Secondary science teachers, have you seen this current @Newsweek?!? And you don't have to teach science to have Ss read this text. Love the visual. 😍
"Nearly all of the published work was based on populations with European ancestry. By 2009, fewer than 1% of the several hundred genome investigations included Africans."
"Modern Homo sapiens originated in Africa about 200,000 years ago... about 100,000 years later men and women left the continent and spread the globe."
Read 8 tweets
Jul 31, 2018
Hear ye! Hear ye! Welcome all new #ClearTheAir participants. Let's talk a little about what to expect. Note: There will be a little home learning/practice chatting at the end of this thread. So hang on until the end.
A short history lesson - Back in 2016 on New Years Eve Eve. I am sitting around mad about the election and came across an article about white fragility that I wanted to talk about and I asked twitter to join me. #ClearTheAir
I am pretty sure only @ChristieNold (who was a total stranger at the time but is now BFF) is the only one who replied to me. That didn't deter me and just like that #ClearTheAir was born. I will love you forever @ChristieNold ! #ClearTheAir
Read 22 tweets
Jul 19, 2018
Live tweeting our next #TTABSummit speaker, Dr. Linda Tropp. Topic: Intergroup Contact, Racial Anxiety, and Navigating Race in Diverse Classrooms
Research says -

Positive contact experiences can be an effective strategy can reduce prejudice - emphasis on F2F interaction.

Optimal conditions = equal status between groups in situation, support from institutional norms and authorities, cooperation and common goals.
Dr. Tropp referenced the Nature of Prejudice (Allport, 1954), in addition to conducting a meta-analysis of intergroup contact effects.

Results - Greater intergroup contact is typically associate with less prejudice (94% of cases).
Read 14 tweets
Jul 17, 2018
The gentleman speaking before President Obama thanked him for being the best of America, the best of Africa, and the best of the world. 😭
Y'all... I have got to get to Africa...and figure out how to be best friends with the Obamas. @TheEthanFields , I am counting on you to make friends at Harvard!
Read 11 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Don't want to be a Premium member but still want to support us?

Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal

Or Donate anonymously using crypto!


0xfe58350B80634f60Fa6Dc149a72b4DFbc17D341E copy


3ATGMxNzCUFzxpMCHL5sWSt4DVtS8UqXpi copy

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!