The New York Civil Rights History website has primary sources for teachers and students on histories of oppression, ableism, racism, and resistance, material that is often left out of the curriculum.
The project was inspired by New York City high school student activists who wanted to better understand the history of their city and their schools.
Educators are encouraged to acknowledge difficulties and make space for students’ emotional responses and to utilize resources for creating safe learning communities.
Students are asked to consider how they and their peers’ identities (as disabled or nondisabled people, your racial and cultural identity, your gender and sexuality) and life experiences affect how they respond to these materials.
The site currently includes primary sources for exploring education advocacy in New York City by Black and Latina women from the late 1800s to the present; school boycotts in the 1960s to challenge racial segregation; campaigns by people with disabilities, parents, and educators to push for change in how classes and schools are organized; and material on the history of school governance.
There is also a semester-long curriculum for 12th Grade Participation in Government.
The New York City Civil Rights History Project received initial funding from the National Archives’ Public Engagement with Historical Records grant program. This project is housed at the Center on History and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University.
Illustration: A poster from a 1964 New York City school boycott.