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New Civics & Civil Rights Institute for Teachers

Street Law, Inc.

Over 40 years of educating about law, democracy, and human rights

New Civics & Civil Rights Institute for Teachers

Photo credit: William Stanford Sr. Photographs, Kenan Research Center, Atlanta History Center, Atlanta, Ga.

Street Law hosted its inaugural Civics & Civil Rights Institute from July 10-12 in Washington, DC. We welcomed ten enthusiastic teachers the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Massachusetts for three days of in-depth learning, interactive experiences, and educational fun! 

Participating teachers explored a variety of themes, including: the civil rights of African Americans, Latinos, and women; voting rights; human trafficking; immigration; and marriage equality. The teachers

  • participated in sessions about key periods in civil rights history
  • explored public policy concerning current civil rights issues
  • learned how to encourage civic engagement among their students
  • gained access to pertinent primary sources and online resources

As the setting for many past and present U.S. civil rights movements, the nation's capital provided an ideal backdrop for the Institute. Teachers visited landmarks and learned from experts around the DC area.

Participants had the great pleasure of working with Hari Jones, assistant director and curator at the African American Civil War Museum and an expert in African American military service during the Civil War. They were also treated to a private tour of the National Archives and discussed civil rights documents with Michael Hussey, the museum's education specialist.

The Civics & Civil Rights Institute is part of Closing the Gap: Civic Leadership for Youth, an initiative through which African American students will learn about civil rights and advocacy with an end goal of developing a deep understanding of the importance and impact of the civil rights movement and how they can be active, engaged members of their communities.  

Questions about the Institute? Contact Janae Harrison.


Deborah Foster

What an incredible group of teachers! They came from Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. Their interest and enthusiasm was contagious. Mary Larkin, the facilitator, engaged them in several strategies that can easily be transferred to the classroom, including a very visual civil rights timeline. Hari Jones, Curator of the African American Civil War Museum, was amazing. His depth of knowledge was nothing less than extraordinary and opened our minds to researching many misconceptions and myths about African Americans participation during the Civil War era. At the National Archives, teachers participated in an activity where they created an exhibit using primary sources. They loved it and are excited about using it with their students in the fall. Overall, the Institute was a great success and we can't wait to start planning for Summer 2014.

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