Teach Truth Campaign Display

In this election year, the Zinn Education Project developed an interactive Teach Truth pop-up display to raise awareness about the growing threat of anti-history education laws and book bans.

The box includes three picture books and one high school text that have been banned or challenged in recent years: When Wilma Rudolph Played Basketball, When Aidan Became a Brother, Fry Bread, and The Bluest Eye. The titles shine a light on some of the most frequently censored topics: racism, land theft, and LGBTQ+ identity.

When table visitors lift each book, they find a colorful paper underneath that explains why and where it has been banned or challenged. 

Educators and organizations from all over the United States signed up to use the display on the Teach Truth Day of Action and beyond at Pride festivals, bookstores, farmers’ markets, schools, Juneteenth celebrations, and more. They are reporting that the display generates a lot of interest and discussion. Teachers share appreciation for the solidarity. Non-educators are often surprised and outraged, and ask what they can do. Predicting that question, we prepared a postcard with Teach, Vote, Organize on one side and a range of actions one can take on the other. 

DC Pride Teach Truth Day of Action 2024
To clarify that banned books are just the tip of the iceberg, the display includes Teach Banned History buttons and a Teach Banned History sign with some of the countless topics that many students are prevented from learning by anti-history education laws, high-stakes testing, and corporate textbook driven curriculum. These include resistance to enslavement, LGBTQ+ history, systemic racism, Reconstruction, voter suppression after 1965, contemporary Native Americans, environmental racism, and much more. 

There is also a QR code so people can check their voter registration and information from HEAL Together about how to get involved in school boards. The American Library Association, a campaign cosponsor, provided Free People Read Freely bookmarks.

Check out just a few of the close to 170 display sites to date.

Washington, D.C.

June 8th DC sites
Fredericksburg, Virginia

20240608_070228 - John “Shamador” Ferrara

Berkeley, California

Berkeley Teach Truth 2024

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

NEA Black Caucus from Karen Moore

New Orleans, Louisiana

PlessyFergusonTeachTruth

Syracuse, New York

IMG_8400 - Melanie Deemer

Albuquerque, New Mexico

20240608_105559 - Martina Gutierrez

Milwaukie, Oregon

Milwaukie

Spoke and Word

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Peggy at Teach Truth 2024 - Trex Proffitt

Seattle, Washington,

Seattle-Teach-Truth-2024-group
Las Vegas, Nevada

WC Teach Truth Nevada

Waterbury, Connecticut

IMG_7077 - Christie Nold

Truckee, California

Truckee TT 2024 by Stephanie Gibbons

Rocky River, Ohio

Rocky River Teach Truth 2024

Orange, New Jersey

IMG_4414 - Andrew Worthington

Ogden, Utah

Ogden Utah NAACP Julia Salcedo

And many more cities.

Hosting a Table

While boxes remain, people are welcome to request one. We just ask that table hosts describe their plans for using it and commit to sharing photos and stories about the response to the display.

Credits

The Teach Truth pop-up interactive displays were prepared by the Zinn Education Project (coordinated by Rethinking Schools and Teaching for Change.)

Installation at the NEA Conference on Racial and Social Justice.

The pop-up display is a mini-version of a Teaching Banned Books installation at SXSW, hosted by the Zinn Education Project, designed by Karyn Holyk, and sponsored by Lush Cosmetics. It was also displayed at the NEA 2023 Conference on Racial and Social Justice and at various venues in New York.

The contents and production of this box is made possible by:

  • Book donations by Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group (250 copies of Fry Bread), Capstone Publishing (150 copies of When Wilma Rudolph Played Basketball), and Lush Cosmetics (250 copies of When Aidan Became a Brother)
  • Inserts designed and printed by Lush Cosmetics
  • Posters and support for production by the National Education Association
  • Bookmarks and postcards from the American Library Association and HEAL Together
  • Individual donors for everything else, including the postage
  • Volunteer assistance for box packing

Help us get this display into more locations during Banned Books Week and all year long. Make a tax-deductible donation to the Teach Truth campaign of the Zinn Education Project.

 

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