My semester just wrapped up; we have been on a compressed schedule due to Covid and so my exams just finished and I am in the midst of papers, presentations, and all the other good things that come from a semester done well.
This semester I have taught the First Year Seminar class. It is the first time I have ever taught a freshman required seminar. The course has a number of moving parts and I am not sure the Covid context of 2020 was the optimal time for me to teach this for the first time. Yikes! I will definitely do some things differently next time. But….one thing that I would do again is keep my theme (Yes We Can! The Power of Nonviolent Resistance) and I would keep the text I chose, and I would keep the final assignment.
Today I am going to share the text and why I love it. And then
if I ever when I finish grading, I will share the final assignment and what I learned from students about who and what inspires them for being change seekers and change makers.
This book is amazing. It is a chronological history of resistance movements in the US, and actually begins with events that happened when the US was a group of colonies, including abolitionist work in 1657. The book is current, too, as the last section is about resistance work during Trump’s administration. Aside from the comprehensiveness of the book, the thing I love most is that it isn’t the work of an author who is telling us about the events but rather it is a collection of individual voices and original documents from each era. The book is a collection of letters, speeches, journal entries, organizing documents, newspaper articles, and more. There are many names and campaigns I had heard of, of course: Angelina Grimke, Mary Church Terrell, W.E.B. DuBois, the SNCC, the Freedom Rides and United Auto Workers Strike just to give a sampling.
There were names and campaigns that were new to me too: Words from an unknown slave, Chief Joseph, Women Strike for Peace, Philip Randolph, Robert Lowell, Appalachia Rising and Dulce Garcia.
I even saw a name of a former student of mine: The Human Impact of the Muslim Ban, by Dina El – Rifai. It gave me all the feels to see her name in print, and to know how her words and her work impact others.
I am excited to go through this book again next semester (as I am using it for a new elective on Social Movements and Social Change) and build more specific modules around some of the readings.