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Online Project Offers Free Civil Rights Lessons Inspired By Selma

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A new online project by the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University unveiled Selma Online ​ — a free, online teaching platform that seeks to transform how the civil rights movement is taught in middle and high schools across the country. The project uses footage from Ava DuVernay’s 2014 movie “Selma” and attempts to show students how events in 1965 shaped voting rights.

Harvard scholar and documentary filmmaker Henry Louis Gates Jr. helped create an interactive website with the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance program and Left Field Labs.

In 2019, organizers tested the website after years of development with teachers and students in schools in Chicago, Kansas, Kentucky, Alabama and California.

The website comes as educators in various states push for more lessons in ethnic studies amid demographic changes in public schools. In New Mexico, for example, scholars and teachers are working on getting Chicano studies and Mexican American history into public high schools around Albuquerque.

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