Voices of a People’s History

Website. Voices helps to stage public readings of primary-source materials on a people’s history. The website also offers dozens of film clips of readings by well-known people for classroom use.

Time Periods: All US History
Themes: Organizing

voices_logo-homeVoices of a People’s History seeks to bring to light little known voices from U.S. history, including those of women, African Americans, Native Americans, immigrants, and laborers. By giving public expression to rebels, dissenters, and visionaries from our past — and present — Voices works to educate and inspire a new generation of people working for social justice.

The goal of Voices of a People’s History is to encourage civic engagement and to further history education by bringing the rich history of the United States to life through public readings of primary-source materials. Voices works to remind people of the eloquence of ordinary people, as well as extraordinary and well-known figures from our history. By involving well-known actors and public figures in readings, Voices also works to inspire audiences to delve more deeply into historical texts and also to see history as a lively, relevant, and contemporary subject, not just a matter of books sitting on the library shelf.

But rather than rely on professional actors alone, Voices also arranges for readings combining professional actors with students and readings also entirely of students to engage at all levels of the dramatic and educational process, from selecting texts, to interpreting them, to adding new voices to the performances.

To organize a Voices performance, register for more information.

The site also offers dozens of film clips of readings from Voices which can be shared with students. For example, Danny Glover reading Frederick Douglass or Sandra Oh reading Yuri Kochiyama.

Below is a sample clip from the Voices of a People’s History website of Danny Glover reading a poem, Ballad of Roosevelt (1934), by Langston Hughes. There is also a reading of the poem by Danny Glover in the film, The People Speak.

1 comments on “Voices of a People’s History

  1. Francesca Ochoa on

    It’s depressing to see that a poem written in 1934 is still relevant today…we haven’t evolved much, have we?

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