The Rochester City School District and the Council of Urban Boards of Education presents:
A National Dialogue - Chaos or Community?
Please join us as we commemorate the anniversary of the year that the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Brown vs. the Board of Education.
- Baltimore City Public Schools/Digital Harbor High School
- Little Rock Central High School
- Rochester City School District
Chaos or Community?
In light of the chaotic and violent protests that are occurring throughout America today, facilitating schools “confronted” the issue outlined by Dr. King and will decide whether America’s current state is one of chaos or community.
In 1968 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. published Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? In the last paragraph, in what would be the very last book that he would publish, Dr. King wrote:
"We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked and dejected with a lost opportunity. The “tide in the affairs of men” does not remain at the flood; it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is deaf to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: “Too late.” There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance or our neglect. 'The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on….' We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent co annihilation. This may well be mankind’s last chance to choose between chaos and community."
TWC News Coverage
News 8 Coverage
Little Rock Central Memory Project
The Civil Rights Memory Project at Little Rock Central High School began as a one-time assignment for students to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the historic struggle to desegregate the all-white school in 1957-59. Now in its 10th year, the Memory Project has become part of the core curriculum, and students are working with community organizations to collect, preserve, and interpret oral history on civil and human rights. The student-produced work has reached local, state, and national audiences.
Each year incoming 9th graders in Civics classes conduct family interviews about personal experience and change involving civil rights/human rights. Since the Memory Project began, students have collected and archived over 1000 interview essays on their website (www.lrchmemory.org).
Students in the Memory Project have been invited to "think like historians," document important themes they find in the collected family interviews, and use this oral history in public history. In the past decade, Central students have built the website, published two books of selected interview essays, produced media-banner videos, scripted a Readers Theater, created a Griot storyteller presentation, and written and performed a new ensemble style of spoken word poetry, intended to pull younger audiences into historical events in the struggle against prejudice in its many incarnations. A new series of audio podcasts based on interview essays, linked to the Memory Project website, is now underway.
The work of the Memory Project student teams has been recognized by: Teaching Tolerance Magazine (Fall 2007); the American Historical Association (Team Teaching Award 2007); Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, the co-publisher of students' 1st book Beyond Central, Toward Tolerance (UA Press, 2010); National Parks Foundation, which distributes the 2nd book Mapping the Road to Change (2013); Southern Living Magazine ("Heroes of the New South" Award, Sept 2013); the Smithsonian's Young Historians, Living Histories; Harvard's W.E.B. DuBois Institute/Hutchins Forum; and the LBJ Presidential Library.
Working in partnership with the Central High National Historic Site, the Memory Project Team is expanding the use of the Memory Project by other teachers and students. The Team has written Common Corelesson plansfor each component of student work--designing/editing a book, scripting Readers Theater, creating and performing spoken word poetry, producing a variety of digital-storytelling videos, as well as conducting interviews, taping do's & don'ts, and writing & revising the essay assignment.
In addition, the National Historic Site staff has partnered with the Memory Project Team to create a workshop to train teachers, historians, park interpreters, and museum professionals in ways to use the Memory to engage high school students in their own community in the work of collecting and interpreting oral history of civil/human rights struggle: Central High Memory Project: Students Breaking "-Isms" Through Oral History
A special emphasis of the workshop is using the oral histories to create dialogue about current issues of race, ethnicity, and cultural understanding.
In the 55-minute student-led workshop, the team shares examples of student-created spoken word performances and media productions. The students then demonstrate the special reading circle strategy they use to compare & contrast recurring themes and diverse viewpoints in a "power pair" of essays. The reading circle provides a structured way to stimulate peer-to-peer dialogue on both past and present topics of racism, prejudice, and acceptance. Workshop participants will receive ready-to-use set of lesson plans and a sampler of student media productions. The project highlights ways NHS sites can build similar long-term partnerships with local school teachers and students.
This workshop and others can also be shared using Long Distance Learning. In partnership with the Little Rock Central High National Historic Site, the Memory Project team is scheduling webcasts for the coming school year with teachers and students in other schools. The student-led workshops will share lesson plans for collecting oral history, using the "reading circle" to guide student discussion on difficult topics, and on technical skills for student-produced media: book design & publishing, graphic-arts digital storytelling, and a variety of spoken word projects including ethnic voice poetry, 10-minute playwriting, and readers theater.
Southern Living Magazine September 2013Check out our Heroes of the New South Award
Bloody Sundays PoemCheck out more information about our Project!
Memory Project Video
“Bloody Sundays”: A Spoken Word Project(credits)
To all of the people who made this event possible:
- Baltimore City Public Schools/Digital Harbor High School: Brian Eyer, School Principal; Peter Heineman, Social Studies Department Head; Anna Yonas, Teacher; and Rochelle Skipper, Technology Support
- Little Rock Central High School: Nancy Rousseau, School Principal; George West, Teacher; Keith Richardson, Teacher; and Allen Morton, Technology Support
- Rochester City School District: Annmarie Lehner, Chief Information Technology Officer; Mark Cassella, Technology Services Supervisor; Van Henri White, School Board President; Kimberly Turner, School Board Executive Assistant; and Djinga St. Louis, Director of African American Studies
- Rochester City School District, Northeast College Prep High School: Linus Guillory, School Principal; and Jerome Johnson, Teacher
- CUBE/NSBA Members: Tom Gentzel, Executive Director, NSBA; Marie Bilik, Deputy Executive Director, NSBA; Lisa Bushey, Associate Executive Director, Public Advocacy & Communications, NSBA; Deborah L. Keys, CUBE Director, NSBA; Bobby Cato, CUBE Manager, NSBA