Teaching Tolerance magazine highlights golden anniversaries of the civil rights movement

The new issue of the SPLC’s Teaching Tolerance magazine, released today, celebrates the upcoming golden anniversaries of pivotal moments in the civil rights movement and provides insights to help teachers delve into the complexities of the movement and explore the lesser-known characters who shaped it.

“Educators often present lessons about the civil rights movement as though it is a simple fairy tale,” said Teaching Tolerance Director Maureen Costello. “But students deserve to know the unvarnished truth about it – that it was a years-long struggle fraught with danger, violence and uncertainty but marked by thousands of heroic acts by people whose names are long forgotten.”

The cover story of the Fall 2012 issue – “Once Upon a Time in America” – encourages teachers to develop lesson plans that go beyond the traditional themes. It notes that the 50th anniversaries of several major events – including the inspirational “children’s march” in Birmingham and Alabama Gov. George Wallace’s “stand in the schoolhouse door” – will come during the 2012-13 school year.

Teaching Tolerance is distributed free of charge by the SPLC to more than 400,000 educators nationwide.

The magazine also examines the impact of the federal law commonly known as Title IX, which was enacted 40 years ago. “Beyond the Playing Field” outlines the radical changes that followed Title IX as it leveled the playing field for girls and women in education and athletics. The article also discusses the perpetual backlash from schools and men’s athletic programs that don’t take the law seriously.

Another article, “You’re Not from Around Here,” helps teachers challenge regional biases in the classroom, calling such destructive stereotypes “one of the unexamined corners of intolerance.”

The magazine also examines issues involving white privilege, poverty in suburban schools, students with hidden disabilities, and the dangers of “conversion therapy,” which is based on the discredited theory that LGBT people can become heterosexual through therapy.

Teaching Tolerance magazine, published twice a year, is the nation’s leading journal serving educators on diversity issues.