Newsletter #182: How America Remembers


My first year of teaching, I challenged my students to create museum exhibits of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, told from various historical viewpoints. Though my intent was to promote critical thinking, only years later did I fully acknowledge the moral failure of the assignment. This week’s lead article, which focuses on the lynching of Emmett Till, raises the question of how to come to terms with our country’s history, when some people resist the truth. Please read it and share your thoughts.

HHH #9 is next Thursday! Loyal reader Tucci is happy she’ll be able to attend her first HHH. Come and meet her (and 30+ other great people) at Room 389 in Oakland! Get your free ticket here.

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Emmett Till’s Murder, and How America Remembers Its Darkest Moments

Bryant’s Grocery & Meat Market, where Emmett Till was accused of whistling at a white woman, before two white men kidnapped and lynched him in 1955, still stands, barely, in Money, Mississippi. The Emmett Till Memorial Commission wants to restore the market. The family of Ray Tribble, who sat on the jury that acquitted the white men, and who currently owns the market, does not. (8 min)

+ For more on Emmett Till: Please see Issues #78 and #111.

Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education

Get ready, data lovers: This behemoth report by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is a treasure trove. Get lost in charts and tables — disaggregated by race, ethnicity, and gender — that tell the story of who graduates from high school, who persists in college, who goes on to graduate school, and who owes how much money. For you longtime educators out there, you’ll spot surprises and want to share them with your colleagues. (60 min)

Stories About Our Weight: “Lose Two Pounds and You’ll Be Perfect”

Some of you know that I was a chubby kid and went on my first serious diet when I was 12. Though 20 years later I finally lost the extra weight, sometimes I still see my kid self in the mirror. That’s why I identify with so many of these vignettes, written plainly and vulnerably by readers of The Sun Magazine. If one resonates with you, please let me know. (13 min)

The Trauma Floor: The Secret Lives of Facebook Moderators in America

If you’re close to deleting Facebook, this article may push you over the edge. You’ll meet Chloe, Miguel, and Randy, three of the 15,000 reviewers worldwide who scrub horrific content from the platform so we can share fake versions of our lives. Not only are they bombarded, every 30 seconds, with new images of violence and hate, they’re paid $15 an hour and given nine minutes a day of “wellness time” to process their trauma. (31 min)

+ Reader Annotations: Loyal reader Nancy Jo, who teaches Ethnic Studies to ninth graders in Oakland, wrote:

Thank you for the article about Chinese exclusion in Eureka(#181). My next unit is about the construction of race in the United States, and I use the Naturalization Act and Chinese Exclusion Act as beginning documents that created race in America. I can’t wait to add this article as a first-hand account of the impact of such laws and ideologies.

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