Americas Promise Essay

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Back to lesson plans archiveFebruary 3, 2014

American Promise

Looking for a classroom resource to examine the relationship of race in education?

“American Promise”spans 13 years in which Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson, middle-class African-American parents in Brooklyn, N.Y., turn their cameras on their son, Idris, and his best friend, Seun, who make their way through Manhattan’s Dalton School, one of the most prestigious private schools in the country. Chronicling the boys’ divergent paths from kindergarten through high school graduation, this provocative, intimate documentary presents complicated truths about America’s struggle to come of age on issues of race, class and opportunity.

Looking to use this in the classroom? The film will be available to stream Feb. 4, 2014 – March 6, 2014 and check out the accompanying lesson plan. For more information and resources on this groundbreaking film please click here to be taken to the website.

To watch the trailer, click on the video below


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  • ...citizen of a state that offers complete equality, I realise that you are unaware of the racism that I experience on a daily basis and although slavery was abolished in 1865, in the Southern States of America, black Americans have still not achieved complete equality. For example: - The Ku Klux Klan beat up and 'lynch' black people. An action meaning to kill without legal sanction. The organisation was set up in 1865 to frighten, beat up and lynch black people. The group shows violence and discriminatory prejudice against the Black population, gaining millions of supporters before, during and now after the 1920s. The KKK fight to preserve and to maintain White supremacy throughout its campaign. In 1954 (May 17th) with the help of the NAACP, Reverend Brown (against the Board of Education of Topeka) won the right to send his children to a white school in the US Supreme Court. The decision of school desegregation, triggered a wave of resistance throughout the South that ultimately led to the return of the Ku Klux Klan. In its initial stages, the resistance was headed by the White Citizens Council. The Council are largely composed of respectable citizens in a position local power throughout the South. This is worrying to the black community because as African- Americans, we do not have the right to vote and if white supporters of segregation continue to grow within the US government, gaining power, this puts a larger threat on the possibility of...

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