Students Learn Hidden History of Reconstruction | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

Students Learn the History of Reconstruction

We've been excited to hear from teachers about the impact of the using the role play "Reconstructing the South: A Role Play" by Bill Bigelow. Many of the comments provide insights into the "aha's" students have as a result of studying the Reconstruction era and its meaning today.
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Pentagon Papers collage | Zinn Education Project

Camouflaging the Vietnam War: How Textbooks Continue to Keep the Pentagon Papers a Secret

By Bill Bigelow
In the Academy Award-winning documentary Hearts and Minds, Daniel Ellsberg, who secretly copied and then released the Pentagon Papers, offers a catalog of presidential lying about the U.S. role in Vietnam: Truman lied. Eisenhower lied. Kennedy lied. Johnson “lied and lied and lied.” Nixon lied.

Ellsberg concludes: “The American public was lied to month by month by each of these five administrations. As I say, it’s a tribute to the American public that their leaders perceived that they had to be lied to; it’s no tribute to us that it was so easy to fool the public.”

In June of 1971, Ellsberg surrendered to federal authorities at Post Office Square in Boston. Forty-two years later, few of the historical secrets that Ellsberg revealed—especially those that focus on the immediate post-World War II origins of U.S. involvement in Vietnam—appear in the school curriculum.
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What Teachers Are Saying

Here are just a few of the hundreds of comments we have received from teachers about the impact of Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States, and the Zinn Education Project lessons on themselves and their classrooms. Send us your quotes and stories to add to this page: zep@teachingforchange.org
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