A gentle reminder ...

The goal of this blog initially was for Mr. Mc to show his students and friends what he doing while in Pennsylvania and DC in 2011. Now it's being used as a place for him, travelling colleagues and former students to discuss edumacation and history related "stuff" as well as ... well, anything which pops into his head. Mr. Mc would never knowingly embarrass either the school he loves or the family he is devoted to. By joining in the discussion, he expects the same of you.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

How long do you let kids 'marinate' in an uncomfortable discussion?

The remainder of the morning at the the Douglass house was spent with an actor who travels the country as Frederick Douglass. I will download the video later, but here is a clip of him at the Field Museum in Chicago:

He read a portion of Douglass' "Fourth of July Speech" and it was fascinating to hear his words spoken out loud in the manner Douglass would have delivered them.

The afternoon was spent discussing the discomfort we sometimes have as teachers in discussing slavery with our students. Do we give them our opinions? Do we challenge theirs? Do we let them 'marinate' with the idea of 'ideal versus reality' or do we search for a resolution quickly. The folks I'm here with are impressive. The discussion was both frank and respectful. I walked away with a challenged perspective as to how to approach the topic with my students.

The final portion of our time at the Douglass house was spent talking about the fortification of Washington DC. By the end of the war, DC was the most heavily fortified city in the world. A series of 20-some small forts circle the capitol.

(Source LOC)

(Source LOC)

The photo above is Fort Stevens, and is a atypical. Most were eathen mounds which, after the war, went away. We traveled to one of these at Fort Dupont Park. The fort is a series of mounds and a moat. Without a park ranger showing us, I wouldn't have noticed it. Fort Stevens is the only of these posts which saw action. In July 1864, forces under the leadership of Confederate General Jubal Early  attack the fort in an attempt to divide US Grant's attention. Lincoln rode out the fort and, while observing, is chided to get out of the line of fire by an irritated officer. Lincoln complied.

Tonight is the a tour of the US Capitol and a walk back to the Willard.

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