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Major U.S. History Scholars Appeal to School Districts: Teach Reconstruction 

As the nation faces ongoing threats of white supremacist violence and voter suppression, the Zinn Education Project shares this open letter signed by more than 200 prominent scholars of U.S. history urging school districts to devote more time and resources to teaching the Reconstruction era in upper elementary, middle, and high school U.S. history and civics courses.

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The letter’s signatories include Eric Foner, Isabel Wilkerson, Bryan Stevenson, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Kidada E. Williams, Charles M. Payne, Kate Masur, James Loewen, Greg Carr, Keisha Blain, Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Hasan Kwame Jeffries, Joshua Rothman, Tyler Parry, Hilary Green, Nancy MacLean, Erica Armstrong Dunbar, Jeanne Theoharis, Tera W. HunterAshley Farmer, and Robin D. G. Kelley.

Gregory P. Downs, professor at the University of California at Davis, explains why he signed this letter:

If students don’t understand Reconstruction, they don’t understand U.S. history, politics, or form of government, nor do they understand the history of racism and racial oppression in the country.

I signed this open letter because no period in U.S. history is more important for the nation’s story nor more relevant to the students’ experiences today.

The letter can be presented to school districts by teachers, scholars, parents, students, and other concerned community members. We will post a list of school districts that resolve to take action. 

Letter and Full List of Scholars

Teach Reconstruction Report

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Learn more and find teaching resources in the Zinn Education Project national report, “Erasing the Black Freedom Struggle: How State Standards Fail to Teach the Truth About Reconstruction.”

Reconstruction Report

We Need Your Support

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The Zinn Education Project is funded primarily by individuals. Please make a donation to the Teach Reconstruction campaign. For a donation of $50 or more, note in the dedication field that you would like to receive a copy of the report.

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