Entries by Judy Dodge Cummings

Teaching School Desegregation through the Story of Sylvia Mendez

Picture books are powerful teaching tools, not just for elementary kids but for older readers as well. I have taught, read, and written about American history for decades, but it took a picture book to introduce me to the Mendez family and their fight for school integration.  Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh explores a legal case I’d wager is not taught in many history classes. It should be.

Myth Buster: What Caused the Civil War?

Myths and misconceptions exist about what caused the Civil War. In 2015, the 150th anniversary of the start of the war, the Pew Research Center conducted a poll to explore Americans’ beliefs about this pivotal conflict. The results indicated that 48% of Americans believe the southern states seceded because of states’ rights and 38% of people believe the South seceded over slavery. But what does the historical evidence show?

The Taste of Shared Humanity

In an age of immigration bans and border walls, it’s easy to see the world through an “us versus them” lens. But sometimes all it takes is a fleeting incident to alter one’s world view. When I was seven and traveling through India with my family, a bag of taffy helped me recognize the place of privilege I hold as a white, middle-class American. But that candy also helped me feel a kinship to other children. Here’s my tale of discovering the taste of shared humanity.