During WWII, men fought on the eastern and western front, but Rosie was the soldier on the home front. Working all shifts and all jobs she plowed her way through a workplace woven with sexism and racism and despite it all, this gal had production levels that turned heads. In this excerpt, you’ll meet an African American Rosie who changed the nature of a 1944 workplace.
During WWII, 5 million women poured into the American workforce, and worked an average of 56 hours a week. These same women remained the primary homemakers, and caretakers for their children. What, if anything, has change for working women today and why?
During WWII, the nation and its industries desperately needed women to step up and take the jobs that men were leaving when they volunteered or were drafted for the armed forces. Can you name three of those industries? What difficulties did women, immigrants, and people of color have entering these industries? Did women remain at their work after the war? Why or why not?
WWII was the first time in our national history that women, immigrants, and people of color were hired to do difficult, technical jobs that paid them well. Though many of these people had to sign a promise to give their jobs back to the white males when they returned from the war. How do you think that doing these jobs and experiencing a sense of equality changed the new workers?
The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter by Marilyn Whitman
V Is For Victory: The American Home front During WWII by Miriam Frank
Uncle Sam Wants You: Men and Women of WWII by Sylvia Whitman
In schools, racial violence often stems from learned bias. Listening to one another is an antidote to the gap between people and transforms bias into deep concern and creative change.
Have you ever been misunderstood? Has someone either assumed something about you or misread what you said or did? Can you tell about that experience?
What do you think happens when we know something about another person’s life that engages us with empathy or interest (especially if only moments before we had decided he or she was not a good person?)
What is the difference between listening to a story and reading a story?
School Violence in Context: Culture, Neighborhood, Family, School and Gender by Rami Benbenishty and Ron Avi Astor
The night Obama was elected to the presidency, Donna was a lone black woman in a very conservative part of the country. She discovered that it is possible be in a foreign land in her own country. She also found out that the world is full of people with good hearts.
Have you ever been scared in a new place?
Have you ever reached out to someone who was uncomfortable?
What does it mean to be brave? Does it have anything to do with being scared?
Have you ever felt like a group of people disliked you for no good reason? Who and why?
April 4, 1968 may have been the end of one dream with the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. However, on that day, another began in a young woman who pushed past despair, journeying from Mississippi to New York City, to discover that the “dream” lived on in her.
Dr. King is associated with bringing together people of various ethnic backgrounds. While the message of equality was a theme of the Civil Rights Movement, a critical part of the movement centered around employment – compensation, fairness, availability, and equity. How are there still struggles around employment issues in the U.S. and the world?
Each person has been given a talent – teaching, preaching, engineering, drawing, you name it! What are the talents you have been given and how have they helped someone else or you in an unexpected way?
Travel can reveal a new perspective about one’s self, others, and places. Where have your travels brought you? How has something you experienced or seen changed your perspective?
The Great Migration refers to the exodus of African Americans from the American South, seeking a variety of opportunities, new beginnings, and work during the 20th century. This departure from “home” enabled families to unite and offered a different future to the next generation. What sacrifice did those who left the South make for the next generation? What opportunities did future generations have? In your family, how did one generation make a sacrifice that benefitted the next generation(s)?
America Street: A Multicultural Anthology of Stories edited by Anne Mazer
Seeds of Change by Jen Cullerton Johnson
Voice of Freedom – Fannie Lou Hamer: Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement by Carole Boston Weatherford
28 Days: Moments in Black History that Changed the World by Charles R. Smith, Jr.
“Ranger Linda” describes her encounter with a group of well-intentioned Chinese Americans bearing bullfrogs. This surprising incident illustrates how cultural differences can have unintended consequences and how cultural awareness can lead to greater understanding and a better outcome for all.
What do you do when cultural customs clash?
What is more important – cultural beliefs or environmental protection?
Have you ever encountered a similar situation where a cultural practice clashed with what was best for the environment?
In the early 1960s, at a time when the hierarchy of race was evident in much of the country, a Black student feels relief to encounter a White teacher who operates without apparent bias. However, as the school year progresses, the student discovers that, in spite of her kind heart, his teacher unknowingly perpetuates White superiority by unselfconsciously promoting cultural and social standards that are rooted in “White” cultural and social norms; norms that might have worked for her, but not for everyone. It’s a lesson that is even more valuable for today’s “colorblind”, “post-racial” society.
One of the major points of this story is that in the United States “Whiteness” acts as an invisible, unspoken, socially unacknowledged set of cultural, political, educational, etc. standards by which we all are forced to live. Since those standards aren’t talked about, they are perceived to constitute a neutral, normal, and (if you are White) benign quality of life. As the story relates, that doesn’t work for everyone.
Try this: If you self-identify or are sociallyidentified as “White” – Over the next day, without forcing the issue, try to make a mental note of how many “White” images you see versus images of everyone else. Look for things like “White” mannequins in stores, “White” people on product labels, images of “White” people in books and magazines, on medical charts and TV shows, in ads on billboards and buses. Before hearing the author’s story, were you ever self-conscious of those things?
To read and do: Roger Bannister is credited with being the first man to run a mile in under four minutes. Matthew Henson is purported to be the first man to reach the summit of the North Pole. Read a book or a few of the numerous online accounts of each of these men’s lives. Why do you suppose absolutelynone of the literature on Bannister ever calls him the first “White” man to run a sub four-minute mile? In contrast, why do you suppose all of the literature on Henson calls him the first “Black” (or African-American) man to reach the North Pole?
Did you know? . . . The first woman in space (1963) was Russian Cosmonaut, Valentina Tereshkova. Twenty years later, the first American woman in space was Sally Ride. Consult a variety of sources and read their stories . . . Notice that there is absolutely no mention in any of their histories about them being “White”. The first Black woman in space was Mae Jemison in 1992. The first Latina in space, in 1993, was Ellen Ochoa. The first Japanese woman in space was Chiaki Mukai in 1994. Consult a variety of sources and read about them. Notice that every single account of their stories mentions their “race”. To what do you ascribe these different treatments?
The Right Hand of Privilege by Steven Jones, PHD. jonesandassociatesconsulting.com. Jones & Associates Consulting, Inc.
Privilege Revealed: How Invisible Preference Undermines America by Stephanie M. Wildman (Introduction, Chapter 1 “Making Systems of Privilege Visible”, and Chapter 7 “The Quest for Justice: The Rule of Law and Invisible systems of Privilege”
Understanding White Privilege from the Teaching/Learning Social Justice series (Chapter 2 “What’s In It For Us: Why We Would Explore What it Means to be White”)
Anti-Bias Curriculum: Tools for Empowering Young Children by Louise Derman Sparks and the A.B.C. Task Force
Beyond Heroes and Holidays: A Practical Guide to K – 12 Anti-Racist, Multicultural Education and Staff Development by Lee, Mankart, and Okazawa-Rey
Storyteller, Kate Dudding, tells the story of Iqbal Masih, a 12-year-old boy in Pakistan who led thousands of children to freedom from 1993-1995. Even after his death, Iqbal went on to inspire other children and show that even the youngest among us can make a difference.
Why did Iqbal keep running away from the factory where he worked?
Why do you suppose that the Bonded Labor Liberation Front had to hold rallies in villages?
What gave Iqbal the courage to sneak away from the factory to go to the Bonded Labor Liberation Front rally in his village?
What must it have been like for Iqbal to travel to Boston to receive his Reebok’s Youth in Action Human Rights award? What new experiences did he have to deal with?
A history of how Craig Kielberger learned of Iqbal and founded Free the Children
This is the true story of storyteller, Laura Simms, telling a deeply traumatized boy – an ex- child soldier from Sierra Leone, West Africa – a story in a taxicab in New York City. The story within this story relieves his misery and, in the process, Laura discovers the power of the tale and the boy’s innate and potent resilience.
Would you have tried to keep the young man from Sierra Leone with you?
Why was a story and this particular story helpful to the young man who was about to get on a plane to go back to his war-torn country?
Did you expect the ending to the story? Why was this young man able to go on to have a family, an education and career success? How do you think he was able to rise above his experience as a child soldier?
A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah
Folktales from Around the World by Jane Yolen
Website – The Children Bill of Rights, 1996 http://www.newciv.org/ncn/cbor.html
Storyteller Jim May relates his days working his way through school on a union construction crew; as well as the unions roll in softening the effects of classism and racism.
Have you ever worked in a menial job with someone without an education but found that they had much wisdom and sound advice based on their natural intelligence, intuition and life experience?
Have you ever worked in a job where you were kept on but someone was let go in spite of the fact that they were as good a worker as you? Was there some kind of prejudice involved around race, gender, sexual orientation, class or age?
What is your feeling about labor unions? What was their role in ushering in the 40-hour week, getting paid for overtime and ending child labor among other worker benefits?
Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do by Studs Terkel
Working Class in America by Eugene Debs
History of the U.S. Labor Movement: Labor Movement in the United States: Volume Two by Phillip Foner
Trail Guide For A Crooked Heart by Jim May (p. 12)
African American/Black History
Education and Life Lessons
Family and Childhood
Stereotypes and Discrimination
Use this video and story in your classroom with the Reflections and Discussions
While studying to become an actor, Sacre happened into storytelling through a class at Northwestern University. Because he found that he was often excluded from acting jobs because he was seen as either “too ethnic” or “not ethnic enough,” he took on storytelling performances to pay the bills. He started to understand the power of his bilingual storytelling and remembers an encounter with a grade school bully where learning the other boy’s story made all the difference.
Antonio described how surprised he was to learn about the history and culture of many Latin American countries, but especially Mexico. What have you learned about another country or culture that surprised you or made you think differently? How might you do more of that learning?
When Antonio tells stories switching back and forth between English and Spanish he sees students becoming more engaged. What might be the advantages of a fully bilingual education?
When have you learned another person’s story that has caused you to change your mind about him or her? How might you listen to others’ stories more? How might you tell your own? How might we better encourage sharing our authentic stories?
Be Bilingual: Practical Ideas for Multilingual Families by Annika Bourgogne