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Grant number: GA-248789-15

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Brooklyn Historical Society (Brooklyn, NY 11201-2711)
Emily Potter-Ndiaye (Project Director: September 2015 to present)

Freedom Riders Pilot Curriculum

Utilizing a classroom teacher-centric model, Brooklyn Historical Society (BHS), in collaboration with the Jacob Burns Film Center (JBFC), will develop, implement and evaluate a pilot curriculum unit for the Turnaround Arts schools in Brooklyn, designed to harness the power of documentary films and archival evidence to encourage meaningful examination of the changing meaning of freedom and equality in America. Focusing on Freedom Riders as a catalyst, BHS and the JBFC will create curriculum that builds off the historical context of slavery, segregation, and the Civil Rights Movement as explored in the film, adding the technical, academic, and creative processes of historical research and documentary filmmaking, and providing structures, strategies and source materials for students to create short, nonfiction media that reflect on their own sense of race, justice, and equality.

BHS’s rich archival collections will offer a counterpoint for the Southern-focused story of the Freedom Riders. BHS will focus on three explicitly historical concepts: geography, time, and ideology. BHS’s contribution to the co-generated curriculum will be to complicate teachers’ and students’ understanding of the Civil Rights Movement represented by the film’s primarily Southern focus, as part of the broader Black Freedom Movement that spanned a geography inclusive of the local Northern context; to reveal the deeper historical roots of the Civil Rights movement, stretching back decades before the commencement of the 1961 Freedom Rides; and to demonstrate the diversity of ideas and approaches shaping the Civil Rights Movement, both nationally and on the ground in Brooklyn and Bridgeport.

Project fields:

Cooperative Agreements and Special Projects (Public Programs)

Public Programs

Total amounts:
$27,959 (approved)
$27,959 (awarded)

Grant period:
10/1/2015 – 6/30/2016