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"Own Your History"

A leadership course on the creative edge


Lessons plans for all the modules of the “Own Your History” Leadership Course are being developed.  Complete modules ready for use in pilot classes in 2015-16 are listed below, and the list will increase as more module lesson plans are developed in the coming months.  Year-long courses for high school and 8th grade will be ready for use in 2016-17. Please contact us if you would like to use any part of the Course.

– Inheritances, Awareness and Leadership: — How the past affects me and my future (Complete)

  • Connecting to history—examination of how past choices (“history”) have shaped the important aspects of our lives (street, neighborhood, school, family circumstance, etc.).
  • Biography project – you are 85: what would you tell a biographer about your life, goals and accomplishments. (This document is revisited periodically and finalized at the course end.)
  • *“Time capsule” project – students complete answers to a set of “hard questions” about US history on day 1; the answers are sealed for the rest of the course; the students complete answers to the same questions at the end of the course; the original answers are unsealed and compared.   READ MORE

– Youth leadership — Brainstorming leadership qualities and assessing examples of young leaders.

  • “You can be a leader at any age.” Students begin to identify leadership qualities by looking at and assessing TED talks and video presentations by young people about projects they have initiated.   READ MORE

– Eleanor Roosevelt — American pioneer: “Leadership from the side.”

  • Using ER’s biography and fictional character stories, students consider family and personal “inheritances” (family stories, attitudes, position in society, possibly good and bad), family “politics” especially when young, and individual strengths and weaknesses in personal and leadership development.
  • Role-playing simulation with ER and a wide range of 1930s leaders considering two issues: the Marian Anderson concert in Washington, D.C. in 1939; and the proposed march on Washington in 1941 to be led by A. Philip Randolph and possible issuance of an Executive Order to prohibit racial discrimination by defense contractors.
  • Student assignments on finding their voices and on taking risks.  READ MORE

– John Lewis—Young bold leadership for civil rights. How a sharecropper’s son took ownership of his history and became a grassroots leader for nonviolent resistance to Jim Crow.

  • Role playing simulation in (1) a 1960 meeting of members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) at the time of the Nashville sit-ins and the Freedom Rides; and (2) a hypothetical meeting in 1966 among civil rights leaders (in the wake of the March on Washington; the Selma-to-Montgomery March; and the emergence of advocates of Black Power in SNCC).
  • Students do a project on dealing with prejudice.  READ MORE

– Cesar Chavez—A Latino leader for migrant rights. How a poor Mexican-American made the plight of Latino farmworkers and immigrants visible to the nation.

  • Students consider Chavez as a leader in the context of his “circle of responsibility” and how his methods and views compared to those of Dr. Martin Luther King, John Lewis, and other civil rights leaders; they consider unique aspects about the Latino experience, historically and today.
  • Role playing roundtable discussing decisions to undertake the grape strikes of the 1960s, organize the United Farm Workers, and use other tactics.
  • Students do a project on “circle of responsibility” and leadership for change.


– The revolutionary generation and choices about slavery, 1776-1800—realities, ideals, contradictions, and leadership.

  • Student pairs will re-create debates at the Continental Congress in 1776, at the Constitutional Convention in 1787, and especially in the debates in the first Congress in 1790 on the Quaker anti-slavery petitions.
  • Student project on being “American.”  READ MORE

– “Slavery by another name” and its consequences– American apartheid, South , 1880-1920.

  • Simulated U.S. Truth and Reconciliation Commission– Birmingham, 1915 (convict lease system and lynching).
  • Student project on “race”: “whiteness,” “blackness,” ethnicity, and “race.” READ MORE