THE PASS IT ON PROJECT
The Pass It On Project follows a group of Brooklyn eighth-graders on a road trip to the sites of the Civil Rights Movement, during the summer following President Obama's 2009 inauguration.
Recognizing that their students may not completely grasp the historical significance of President Obama's election—or have the knowledge to view it through a critical lens and see beyond the "post-racial, dream fulfilled" narrative that dominated the media—two teachers at a Brooklyn middle school designed the Pass It On Project: An in-depth study of the Civil Rights Movement culminating in a road trip to through the south to visit the sites of key events, and learn from some of the Movement's surviving heroes.
The program's goals: contextualize the significance of Obama's election victory, broach candidly the history and legacy of racism in America, empower students' sense of ownership over their education, and inspire student activism.
The Pass It On Project documents the group's semester-long preparations and follows the students as they leave the familiar environments of school and home to embark on this transformative journey. It presents an alternative to textbook learning that demonstrates the transformative potential of engaging students in authentic learning experiences; especially with regard to history and social activism.
Told through the eyes of the students and teachers, interwoven with first-person accounts from surviving Civil Rights heroes, this coming of age story explores issues of education, race, and social justice through characters that span three generations. They remind us of that if we have the courage to discuss it, our nation's past can inspire us to stand up for a more just future.