This daily schedule for the institute is subject to change, except for the dates for the guest presenters.

Each day will begin with a freedom song or other activity and end with a freedom song and evaluation/reflection on the day. There will be an hour break for lunch.

Unless noted otherwise, all the sessions will be at the Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke University. Coffee will be available each morning. Lunch will be provided by the institute at least once a week. On other days, participants can bring lunch or go to nearby eateries.

Week One: July 6-11,  1940-1954

Sunday, July 5

6:30pm – 8:00pm (optional)

Residence Inn Durham Lobby: Welcome packets available and a chance to meet some institute staff and fellow participants. This is optional. The alternative is to arrive at 9:00am on Monday morning at the Franklin Humanities Institute to pick up the welcome packet before the formal session begins.

Monday, July 6

9:00am – 9:30am 

Pick up welcome packets (if not picked up the evening before) and sign-in.

9:30am – 4:45pm

Welcome by co-directors and review of syllabus.

Big Shoes to Fill: Introductory activity.

Black Activism Leading Up to 1940: Presentation by Adriane Lentz-Smith (author of Freedom Struggles: African Americans and World War I).

Personal Identity exercise.

Tuesday, July 7

9:30am –  4:30pm

Presentation and discussion led by Judy Richardson and Wesley Hogan about Ms. Ella Baker’s work organizing NAACP chapters in the south during the late 1930s and 1940s, the Scottsboro case, the role of New Deal agencies like the WPA, and the NAACP Youth Council in Greensboro, NC, early SNCC.

Participants share topics/objectives for the lessons they will work on throughout the institute.

View and discuss the film Fundi: The Story of Ella Baker.

Wednesday, July 8

9:30am – 4:00pm

Use the Question Formulation Technique in preparation for the presenter.

Presentation by Jeanne Theoharis about the long history of Rosa Parks’ work in civil rights organizing in Alabama during the 1940s. Theoharis will focus her talk Parks and the ways in which the modern civil rights movement is rooted in the defense and protection of black women’s bodies. This will help historicize the #MeToo movement and Black women’s roles as leaders in the fight against racial and sexual violence.”

View and discuss the film Dirt & Deeds in Mississippi.

Thursday, July 9

9:30am – 3:00pm

Wesley Hogan on teaching the Civil Rights Movement with a focus on the connection between SNCC philosophy and organizing to today’s organizing. Also how teachers might share the stories of nonviolent direct action and voter registration with their students in innovative, compelling ways.

Archivist John Gartrell will present on contemporary approaches to research and documentation. He will also work with participants on the research needed for their lessons.

4:00pm – 6:00pm

Duke University reception for teachers with Valerie Ashby, Dean of Arts & Sciences.

Friday, July 10 

9:00am – 5:30pm

Ashley Farmer presents her work on black women’s intellectual production and activism in the Black Power era.


Saturday, July 11 and Sunday, July 12

Institute staff will provide a list of events and venues that may be of interest to participants to explore over the weekend including historic sites, civic activism gatherings, cultural events, and more. Participants will also have access to the university libraries for research.


Week Two: July 13 – 17, 1955-1965

Monday, July 13

9:30am – 4:30pm

Drawing on readings from The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks and the primary documents on the companion website, participants will examine the long history of local black activism that led up to the Montgomery Bus Boycott, including the roles of the Women’s Political Council, the local Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters Union, the NAACP, and Claudette Colvin.

View the segment from Eyes on the Prize on the Montgomery Bus Boycott (MBB), introduced by filmmaker (and institute co-director) Judy Richardson.

Discuss how to shift the narrative in the classroom about the commonly taught story of the MBB, taking into account the key institute themes: grassroots organizing by “ordinary people,” the long history of the movement, and the emergence of leaders from the Movement.

Freedom Schools Film: View segment from documentary in progress on Freedom Schools by Catherine Murphy with interviews with Hollis Watkins, Charlie Cobb, Dorie Ladner, and others.

Freedom School Lesson: Based on use of primary documents with participants working in small groups to examine the curriculum, instructors, students, and resistance.

Tuesday, July 14

9:00am – 4:00pm

Presentation on Black Education and Freedom Schools by SNCC veteran and journalist, Charles Cobb Jr. 

Lesson called “Teaching SNCC: The Organization at the Heart of the Civil Rights Revolution” by Adam Sanchez.

Presentation about SNCC and self-defense in the local movement by Charles Cobb Jr.

Wednesday, July 15

9:30am – 4:30pm

Historian Charles Payne will speak about the building of the grassroots Mississippi movement, including the MFDP, with a focus on how people like Ella Baker, and how older local activists like Fannie Lou Hamer, Amzie Moore, C.C. Bryant, and Herbert Lee became pillars of the struggle for voter registration in Mississippi and Southwest Georgia. (SNCC veteran and journalist, Charles Cobb Jr. will still be in attendance.)

Role play on the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, drawing on primary documents and film clips from Eyes on the Prize and Freedom Summer

Participants will work with their peer groups and individually on their curriculum projects, with assistance from the co-directors, guest presenters, and curriculum coordinator as needed.

Thursday, July 16 

9:30am – 4:30pm

Presentation on Teaching Freedom Summer in Mississippi and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) by Charles Payne. Will address how SNCC broke open the caste system in the American South between 1960 and 1965.

Critical conversation about teaching challenges — such as how to teach about the day to day, long term organizing grounded in local communities (whatever your community is at that time).

Work on lessons, with opportunity for consultations with Charles Payne.

Explore the website, Counter Histories, children’s/YA books on sit-ins, and timeline of sit-ins and resistance to segregation dating back to the 1800s.

Friday, July 17

9:00 am – 4:30pm

Presentation by historian Daphne Chamberlain on youth activism in Mississippi. Discussion with participants about how to highlight youth activism (then and now) in their lessons.

View and discuss the Eyes on the Prize segment on the sit-ins.

Post-World War II: Tobacco Workers Strike: Presentation by Robert Korstad on the role of local people, unions, and churches in the 1943 uprising of tobacco workers in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Saturday, July 18 and Sunday July 19

Free time to explore local sites and work on lessons.


Week Three: July 20-24, 1966-1980

Monday, July 20

9:30am – 4:30pm

Mississippi: Participants will learn from Emilye Crosby about the continuation of white violence against Black activists, as in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, when Vernon Dahmer, an activist since WWII, was murdered by the KKK after offering to pay poll taxes for blacks who could not afford to vote.

Eyes on the Prize, post ‘65: Judy Richardson, SNCC veteran and associate producer of Eyes on the Prize, and Emilye Crosby will present excerpts from and discuss the post-65 years with institute participants.

Tuesday, July 21

9:00am – 3:30pm

Lowndes County, Alabama: Historian Hasan Jeffries (Bloody Lowndes) Teaching the “hard history” of all U.S. history, beginning with slavery and including Lowndes County.

Viewing of the film Scarred Justice: The Orangeburg Massacre 1968  

Film discussion with Hasan Jeffries and Judy Richardson and participants. Jeffries and Richardson will also talk about other films for teaching about the Civil Rights Movement

Possible evening activity. Please hold the date.

Wednesday, July 22

9:30am – 5:00pm

SNCC veterans Courtland Cox and Jennifer Lawson of SNCC will share the story of the Lowndes County Freedom Organization, a powerful example of how the Civil Rights Movement continued after the Voting Rights Act. They will also describe the role of the Southern Freedom Movement in taking an early stand against the Vietnam War and the impact of the murder of Sammy Younge Jr.

View the film Freedom Song during and after lunch (take notes with questions to discuss next morning.)

Thursday, July 23

9:30am – 4:00pm 

SNCC veterans Courtland CoxJennifer Lawson, and Judy Richardson discuss Freedom Song film with participants.

Presentation on SNCC and Internationalism by SNCC veterans Courtland Cox and Jennifer Lawson.

Critical review of textbooks and children’s books.

Friday, July 24

9:00am – 12:30pm

Presentation by teacher participants of their work.

Closing activities, evaluation, and disbursement of teacher stipend checks.

Note this is a half-day to allow for those who need to travel home that afternoon.