At Retro Report, a Day of Learning and Professional Development for NYC Educators

Learn about our recent education event with New American History and the New York City Department of Education’s Social Studies team

By Caroline Watkins
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Educators met in the event space in Retro Report’s Midtown Manhattan office to learn about resources on topics related to housing, segregation and racial injustice. Photo credit: Alex Remnick

Last Monday, over 30 New York City educators visited the Retro Report newsroom for a day of professional development and learning about the intersection of housing, segregation and injustice over several periods in United States history. The daylong event was a collaboration with New American History and the Social Studies team from the New York City Department of Education.

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Dr. Yohuru Williams discussed the historical connections between property ownership and race. Photo credit: Alex Remnick

Dr. Yohuru R. Williams, an expert on the civil rights and Black power movements and an education activist, opened the day with examples of how racism was intertwined with topics like property ownership, democracy and the prevention of violence in America. Dr. Williams is the founding director of the Racial Justice Initiative at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn.

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Retro Report Senior Producer Bonnie Bertram talked about what it was like to make her film, “Facing Eviction.” Photo credit: Alex Remnick

Retro Report Senior Producer Bonnie Bertram led a discussion about “Facing Eviction,” an hour-long documentary she made with PBS Frontline that chronicles the profound impact the coronavirus pandemic had on housing and evictions around the country.

Teachers asked Bertram about the reporting process, from how they decided to cover the cities depicted in the film to how they were able to get an intimate, behind-the-scenes look at people being evicted in real time.

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Retro Report’s Director of Education, David Olson, shared a video titled, “New York Tenants Are Organizing Against Evictions as They Did in the Great Depression." Photo credit: Alex Remnick

Retro Report’s Director of Education, David Olson, shared “Whites-Only Suburbs: How the New Deal Shut Out Black Homebuyers.” That short documentary video illustrates the lasting effects of race-based federal lending rules from New Deal programs in the 1930s that locked Black families out of many suburban neighborhoods.

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Annie Evans of New American History shared digital tools for teachers. Photo credit: Alex Remnick

Annie Evans, the Director of Education and Outreach for New American History at the University of Richmond, spoke about online and interactive tools for teachers, and suggested Bunk History, a curated aggregation of online resources; and American Panorama, a digital atlas of U.S. History.

The New York City Department of Education Social Studies team shared materials available for educators on the NYCDOE website, including the “Civics for All” comics.

In an affinity mapping activity, educators brainstormed ways to incorporate the resources into their own curriculum, and took away classroom-ready materials and Continuing Teacher and Leader Education credit.

CAROLINE WATKINS is the Audience Engagement Manager at Retro Report.

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