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How to Confront White Supremacists (Lessons & First-Person Accounts)

These five articles (and a video) are all free on the Internet. Two are published by from NCSS. They may be useful material for study and conversation in grades 7-12 this school year, 2017-18. Please also refer to the "NCSS Response to the Tragedy in Charlottesville, Virginia," where related resources are also listed, at

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Holding a civic dialog in a classroom:

Candra Flanagan and Anna Hindley, "Let's Talk! Teaching about Race in the Classroom," Social Education (January/February 2017),
"Teachers can use specific tools and strategies highlighted in this article to foster open, honest, and productive dialogues on race and identity in an educational setting."

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A racist college student is gently confronted and converted by his classmates:

Eli Saslow, “The White Flight of Derek Black,” Washington Post (October 15, 2016).
“Derek Black was already hosting his own radio show. He had launched a white nationalist website for children and won a local political election in Florida. . . .”

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An African American talks with the Klan, one-on-one; they surrender the robe and hood to him:

Conor Friedersdorf, “The Audacity of Talking About Race with the Ku Klux Klan,” The Atlantic (March 27, 2015).
“Can conversation help end bigotry?" Improbable conversations started by musician Daryl Davis, who is black, suggests that "it would be unwise to discount the possibility.”

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On the front line of integration as a child, she changed minds slowly. It was not easy:

Millicent E. Brown, “Millicent’s Story: School Desegregation in South Carolina, 1963,” Social Studies and the Young Learner (November/December 2013), Pullout 1-4.
"After three years, I was still looked at as 'an exception;' however, I knew that I was only one example of many capable students from my community. ... Three years of 'being bigger' landed me in the hospital, diagnosed with a nervous condition brought on by holding in all my fears, hurts, emotions, pains, frustrations, and sadness for so long." -- M. E. Brown.

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Sent to disrupt the meeting, he was forced to confront himself:

“Civil-Rights Activist, Ex-Klansman C.P. Ellis: A Remembrance,” All Things Considered/NPR (November 8, 2005).
“C.P. had a machine gun, and he would show it to the city councilmen in the trunk of his car every morning. And when I'd walk up to the school building, I had my white Bible in my hand …  Me and him was over there mad with each other, but we wasn't getting anything done that the children wanted. And me and him cried at that time, and we began to melt down towards one another. … It's just a strange thing, but it really happened. And the funny part about it, we stayed friends all these years.” -- Ann Atwater, Durham, NC

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"On Race Relations," VIDEO available at
Ta-Nehisi Coates is a writer for "The Atlantic" and author of the best-selling memoir, Between the World and Me. Many articles are also available through this website.
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