• Civil Warriors Class Curriculum for Educators

    "It landed in my classroom with an immediacy that felt electric. . . It blew my students away."

    U.S. Colored Troops medal, 1864, Agnes Kane Callum Collection, Maryland State Archives (MSA SC 1090)

    Social Studies classrooms, American history classrooms in particular, directly influence and shape the context in which young people in the United States perceive contemporary society. The opportunity that exists in those spaces to transfer knowledge and skills into civic action is huge. This is the end goal articulated by the new C3 Framework for Social Studies. The CIVIL WARRIORS curriculum takes the approach that we study history in order to fortify our moral energy for the present, to reflexively turn the gaze upon ourselves and what we can do to advance movements for social justice. If we understand how to think about the past, we can understand how to think about the present.

     

    Curriculum Goals:

     

    • To inspire students with the power of storytelling and recovered history. We want students to understand how the content of the film fits in with their understanding of the Civil War. We also want students to learn to think critically about historical sourcing, and to understand sourcing in a metacognitive way such that they can apply it to any investigation, learning, or research. The CIVIL WARRIORS curriculum offers questions and exercises that are specific and metacognitive, personal and political, fitting a variety of students and classrooms. 

     

    • A second goal revolves around social justice, examining the silences on the historical record around black soldiers who fought in the Civil War in order to question how people become marginalized by the telling of history--both in the past and the present. Beyond discussions about power, the long history of civil rights, and social justice, the content raises conceptual and thematic discussions around memory, storytelling, war memorializing, agency, passion around a cause, and the legacy of slavery in the United States. To meet this goal, the CIVIL WARRIORS curriculum incorporates discussion of primary source material, current events journalism, and literary & academic writing.

     

    • Finally, the CIVIL WARRIORS curriculum builds these texts, questions, and ideas into discussions and activities designed around the inquiry-based skills that shape the C3 framework. Ultimately, we hope the film inspires students to delve into primary sources and archival research, challenging them to find new ways of reporting on the past and the present by creating literary and historical narratives about untold stories from their own communities.

     

    “While I acknowledge history’s ‘fiction of factual representation’, to use Hayden White’s term, I also recognize the political utility and ethical necessity of historical fiction.” ~Saidiya Hartman

    "It will provide those who view it, whether in the classroom or the theater, with a structure within which to talk about race and history and, indeed, the ways history is shaped by those whose stories are told."

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