top of page

About Us

Central High’s Civil Rights Memory Project was inspired by the American Memory Project at the Library of Congress. The Memory Project immerses students in the oral history of civil rights and human rights through hands-on, intergenerational learning and it requires students to analyze causes and effects of historical events and also the resulting impact on both individuals in their families and institutions in our communities.

The Memory Project, now in its 15th year, has been part of  the 9th grade Civics curriculum for incoming classes of freshmen at Central High. Students interviewed an older family member or friend about their personal experiences involving some issue of civil/human rights and the changes they have seen in lives and laws during their lifetime. Then students wrote narrative essays about their interview experience to re-tell “particular stories that stick in my mind, and why.” The essays were shared in class and posted on the Memory Project website.

The Memory Project assignment addresses strands in Civics on the diversity of America’s citizens and changes in civil rights through laws and Supreme Court interpretations of the Constitution. It also incorporates the essential questions and skills in both Reading and Writing standards of the Common Core and, in particular, the new C3 Social Studies curriculum model calling on teachers to prepare students for “college, career and civic life.”

In the ten-plus years since that first batch of interviews and essays came back, interested students have volunteered to preserve and share these civil rights stories—in increasing ways and creative formats. The work of this Memory Project Team presents a model of student action and project-based learning that can be adapted elsewhere in the state and nation by students and teachers and by public history interpreters in state/national heritage sites.

bottom of page