Summer Institute 2016


“Profoundly impacted my personal understanding of a critical time in history and how I can continue to think about how choices are not inevitable.”

-Participant in Summer Institute, 2016


The DePaul University and Facing History and Ourselves Collaboration had its fifth annual Summer Institute: “Race in America: The Reconstruction Era and the Meaning of Democracy.”

The Summer Institute took place on June 27-29 on DePaul University’s Lincoln Park Campus. This three-day professional development seminar helped education professionals deepen their knowledge of the Reconstruction Era and improve their professional educational practice and ethical commitments.


Forty-four in-service educators studied the choices made and actions taken during the Reconstruction Era, which exposed the fragility of democracy in the United States and ultimately led to the subjugation of millions of African Americans. By examining events from this period, participants learned how this history helped shape the present and considered how we as individuals and members of groups can make a difference in the world today.

By learning about the relationship among freedom, citizenship and equality in the Reconstruction Era and its ties to today, participants discovered interdisciplinary teaching strategies that allow students to understand multiple perspectives; develop their critical thinking, historical and literacy skills; and strengthen their moral decision-making and civic engagement. We have found the concepts and pedagogy of our Summer Institutes to be useful and applicable to all levels and curriculum areas.

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