The New York City Civil Rights History Project (NYCCRHP) is a digital collection that brings the fight for educational justice in New York City to life in the classroom. This new online resource for teaching people’s history offers more than 120 primary sources, supporting texts, and videos that explore the roots of racism and ableism in NYC schools.
The NYCCRHP is full of sources that document how Black, Latinx, and disabled New Yorkers and those working in solidarity with them have imagined and pursued educational justice. The NYCCRHP helps teach the Civil Rights Movement in new ways: with women and young people’s activism in education as central, with evidence of how segregation and inequality are national, not only Southern, realities, and by exploring how racism and ableism have intersected in education.
The site offers texts and videos that support teachers in using these materials in the classroom, alongside with sample lesson plans that teachers can adapt to their own context. It features six close reading videos that capture how readers engage with primary sources and reflect on their meanings in their own lives.
Thematic Teaching Collections
The NYCCRHP presents the history of educational activism in NYC through collections of archival documents, photographs, videos, oral history snippets, and more — in the following themes:
How did New York City Segregate its Schools? (in development)
This digital collection is the result of student activists seeking to address the gaps in the school curriculum. Nelly Luna and other youth organizers in New York City’s Teens Take Charge realized that students and teachers needed to learn about the roots of racism and ableism in their schools. They deserved access to the rich record of how Black, Latinx, and disabled people and those working in solidarity with them have fought for educational justice in New York City.
Luna and fellow activists reached out to Zinn Education Project collaborator Jeanne Theoharis. They read and discussed her book, A More Beautiful and Terrible History, which inspired them to learn more. They created a working group with disability activist and developer Jessica Murray and historians and teacher-educators Ansley Erickson and Brian Jones. They explored how activists, scholars, educators, and web developers could put histories of local educational activism in teachers’ and students’ hands.
New York City Civil Rights History Project is the product of four years of collaborative work that expanded to include dozens of educators, community activists, and scholars.
At a project launch in November, New York City Council Member and Education Committee Chair Rita Joseph, a “forever educator,” spoke of a “fundamental truth”: “In every corner of our community,” Black and Latina women education activists “have been architects of change, tirelessly working to dismantle barriers . . . Their stories must be woven into the curriculum, inspiring students to dream big and achieve greatness.”