ERIC Number: EJ866697
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Reference Count: 0
Does My Town Have a Racist Past?
Teaching Tolerance, n33 p22-27 Spr 2008
This article discusses how students can convert the shameful history of sundown towns in America into a rich opportunity for setting the record straight. The study of sundown towns across the nation can lead classes into exploration of the often unexamined role of race in their daily lives. It likewise opens the door to more general discussions of questions of racism in society. Using the examples of racial exclusion and denial in sundown towns, teachers can challenge students to do history--to investigate the racial past of their own communities, neighborhoods, or schools. Towns did not stay white by accident. They left paper trails of discrimination by which students can ferret out information. Likely sources include restrictive covenants, city ordinances, realtor steering and incidents of police harassment. If a locale or institution did keep out African Americans--documents will confirm it. In the process, students will find themselves doing research--checking census tables, reading local histories, skimming old newspapers, interviewing senior citizens, and using land records and city council minutes.
Descriptors: Neighborhoods, Local History, City Government, Racial Bias, Racial Discrimination, Consciousness Raising, United States History, Racial Composition, Legislation, Local Government, Civil Rights, Student Research, Newspapers, Older Adults, Interviews
Southern Poverty Law Center. 400 Washington Avenue, Montgomery, AL 36104. Tel: 334-956-8200; Fax: 334-956-8484; Web site: http://www.tolerance.org/teach/magazine/index.jsp
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A