Blog: Through Testimony

Five IWitness Resources for Black History Month

Mon, 02/01/2016 - 10:04am -- deanna.pitre

Contributor: Lesly Culp

Mon, 02/01/2016 - 10:04am

Paul Parks, served in the United States military during World War II and helped liberate the Dachau concentration camp - an experience that weighed heavy on him for years. When Parks returned home to the United States he faced the same type of discrimination and hatred he fought against. He later joined the 1960’s Civil Rights movement and worked alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., fighting for equal rights for all Americans to ensure what he witnessed in the war would never be repeated. “I saw what the end of bigotry looks like,” said Parks in his testimony preserved in USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive.

Parks’ story is insightful, inspiring and a powerful education tool for discussing racism, intolerance and the Civil Rights Movement. IWitness includes Parks’ story and many other voices and resources that you could use in your classroom.

Discover five resources from IWitness for discussing Black History Month and Civil Rights with your students.

First make sure you register for IWitness to access all the activities and resources.

Register for IWitness

1. Testimony Clips

Introduce your students to the Civil Rights Movement and racism in America through curated clips of testimony. The IWitness Watch page has hundreds of clips on various topics with relatable activities and resources. To access visit the Watch Page – Click on Civil Rights in America.

From IWitness: Civil Rights in America

From IWitness: Civil Rights in America

Leon Bass – Peaceful Protest

Language: English

Buchenwald camp liberator Leon Bass reflects on the discrimination he experienced while going to college in the United States after his military service.  Leon describes how baffled and angry he felt that he was encountering the same type of prejudice and threat of civil liberties that he fought against during WWII. This testimony clip is featured in the new IWitness Activity, Fighting in the Face of Racism

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    Leon Bass – Peaceful Protest

    Language: English

    Buchenwald camp liberator Leon Bass reflects on the discrimination he experienced while going to college in the United States after his military service.  Leon describes how baffled and angry he felt that he was encountering the same type of prejudice and threat of civil liberties that he fought against during WWII. This testimony clip is featured in the new IWitness Activity, Fighting in the Face of Racism

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    Barton Nagata on racism in the United States

    Language: English

    Dachau camp liberator Barton Nagata talks about his exposure to racism in the segregated South of the United States.

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    Floyd Dade on Civil Rights in America

    Language: English

    Floyd Dade explains the racial segregation of battalions during World War II. He also describes his relations with white soldiers on the battlefield.

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    Paul Parks on Choosing Non-Violence

    Language: English

    Paul Parks talks about witnessing the aftermath of the Holocaust and what it meant to his work in the civil rights movement, including his work with Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

2. Activities

Through multimedia activities centered on testimony students explore themes including racism, tolerance and resilience.  

 

The Information Quest, Fighting in the Face of Racism teaches students in grades 8-12 about two former American soldiers who helped liberate Jews during the Holocaust and who themselves experienced racism/prejudice in the United States before and after World War II.

Learning Aims: Students develop an understanding of the effects of racism and the nature of testimony and construct a visual representation of their learning by drawing evidence from primary and secondary resources. 

 

In the Video Activity 1936 Olympics: Race, Politics & Civil Rights students will examine the issue of civil rights and the presence of racism in society through the lens of the 1936 Berlin Olympics and construct a video project that illustrates the prominence of racism in both the United States and Europe during this period. A great resource for this year’s 80th anniversary of the 1936 Olympics. 

Learning Aims: Students are be introduced to the civil rights abuses under Hitler during this period, as well as the personal story of black American Olympian track star Jesse Owens, whose civil rights were also curtailed at this time – in the United States. 

 

In the Mini Quest activity, Finding Your Seat on the Bus, students explore the concepts of grit, determination and resilience. They learn about individuals now and in the past who exemplify those characteristics and became social innovators: Holocaust liberators and civil rights activists Leon Bass and Paul Parks, Holocaust survivor and activist Hedy Epstein, and American politician Elizabeth Holtzman.

Learning Aims: Students construct a poem based on what they learn and reflect on how they can harness grit and determination to make a difference in their own lives.

3. Related Topics

Explore the Related Topics to Civil Rights in America, which helps students contextualize the clips and connect them to different themes. All topics include different testimony clips, activities and additional resources. 

 

4. Graphic Organizers

Discover our new graphic organizers for the classroom:Locating and Analyzing Textual EvidenceCompare/Contrast Topics in IWitnessTestimony as Primary Source Venn DiagramCritical Analysis with SOAPStoneStandards-aligned, these ready-to-use concept maps will help students to organize ideas and communicate more effectively as they learn from testimonies of African-American liberators and eyewitnesses to the Civil Rights Movement.  

5. Use the resources in "100 Days to Inspire Respect."

Explore the daily resources from ‘100 Days to Inspire Respect,’ which provides educators with easy to use testimony based tools to discuss difficult but the most important topics from racism to intolerance.  Explore activities, mini lessons, clips of testimony and infographics to teach about the civil rights movement, racism and the importance of storytelling to counter racism and hatred.

There are your five tips for using IWitness to discuss the themes of Black History Month.

Learn more about teaching with testimony via our Guidelines for Effective Teaching with Testimony

 

 

 

Posts are contributed by individual authors. The opinions are solely the authors’ and are not necessarily a reflection of the views of USC Shoah Foundation.

About Lesly Culp

Lesly Culp

Lesly Culp is the senior content specialist and trainer for IWitness, USC Shoah Foundation’s educational platform. Culp joined USC Shoah Foundation in 2014 after having worked with the Institute for years as an English teacher at Vista Murrieta High School.

 

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