Prominent Black leaders release curriculum to counter 1619 Project
1776 Unites, a project led by prominent writers, thinkers, historians, and academics, has released its first installment of a curriculum that uses “authentic, inspiring stories from American history” to “celebrate black excellence, reject victimhood culture, and showcase African-Americans who have prospered by embracing America’s founding ideals.”
From lesson plans and reading guides to assessments, activities, and other resources, the 1776 Unites curriculum is free to access and will add new lessons monthly. This first installment is intended for high school students, with modules for K-8 coming soon. The curriculum not only “counter[s] the contemporary grievance-based ideologies” that are “holding children back all across our nation” but also “equips students to seize the opportunities afforded them today” and helps “young people of all races understand how they can be architects of their own futures by embracing the principles of education, family, free enterprise, faith, and personal responsibility.”
The first history lesson teaches students about Biddy Mason, a woman who was born into slavery, won her freedom in court, and died a millionaire real-estate investor in Los Angeles. She founded a school, an orphanage, and the Los Angeles First African Methodist Episcopal Church. She used her knowledge of herbal remedies to serve as a health care provider. Her philanthropic efforts helped create and sustain African-American institutions in the city and shaped the city’s overall civic life for future generations.
The second history lesson is about the life of Elijah McCoy, a prolific inventor who held 57 patents, mostly on designs related to locomotives. As a son of fugitive slaves, McCoy was born free in Canada. The family relocated to Michigan and saved up money to send McCoy to a boarding school in Scotland, where he studied mechanical engineer. He became a railroad engineer and inventor whose patents were of such great quality that they are remembered as the origin of the common expression “the real McCoy.”
The third lesson currently available dives into 10 principles for personal growth and community development that were developed by Bob Woodson, the founder of 1776 Unites. Students learn why these principles are important, how Woodson applied them throughout his work as a neighborhood empowerment advocate and civil rights movement veteran, and how students themselves can apply them in their own lives and communities.
“No nation or individual should be defined by its birth defects or what it used to be in the past,” Woodson said on a call that announced the curriculum to reporters. “America should be defined by its promise.”