Innovative Teaching of African and Mexican American History

Hispanically Speaking News this month reported on an innovative way to teach history — telling African and Mexican Americans’ stories in newspaper format on the internet.  The Black Chronicle follows the stories of African Americans, beginning in 1778 when Rhode Island slaves fought in Colonial armies for the promise of  freedom, through the Civil War when more than 400,000 black men fought in Union Armies.  Stories continue though  lynchings and start of the NAACP in the early 20th century,  WWI and WWII contributions of African Americans, and Rosa Parks’ 1954 refusal to move to the back of the bus.

La Cronica, in English and Spanish, begins in 183 and continues through major periods of Latino history:  the Mexican American War of 1846, the New Mexico range wars of the 1870s, the farm and mining immigrations, the Civil Rights movements led by Caesar Chavez, and the 1969 walk out of Latino high school students in Los Angeles over more than a century of discrimination.

Project creator Robert Miller, former Director of Educational Publishing at  PBS station Thirteen/WNET in New York, spent two years doing research in the world’s finest collections of black history for Black Chronicle. Receiving partial funding from the Ford Foundation, he next developed La Cronica in Los Angeles with teams researching libraries and historical societies  throughout the Southwest.

Both projects appear on a new Web site,

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