Freedom School Curriculum, 1964

From: Radical Teacher: Issue #40, 1991, "Mississippi Freedom School Curriculum — 1964,"

Rather than being built around facts to be memorized and answered on standardized tests, Freedom Schools are based on asking questions. The basic set of questions are:

And the secondary set of questions are:

To help students and teachers develop their answers to these questions, they study seven units:

Unit 1: Comparison of the students' reality with that of others.

Purpose: To create an awareness that there are alternatives.

Unit 2: North to freedom? (the Negro in the North).

Purpose: To help students see the conditions of Negros in the North, and that migration to the North is not a real solution.

Unit 3: Examining the apparent reality (the "better life" that whites have).

Purpose: To find out what the whites' "better life" is really like, and what it costs them.

Unit 4: Introducing the power structure.

To see that some people profit by the pain of others or by misleading them.
To see that some people make decisions that profoundly affects others.
To develop the concept of "political power."

Unit 5: The poor Negro, the poor white, and their fears.

To see that the "power structure" derives its power by playing upon the fears of the people—Negro and white
To come to an understanding of these fears—what has helped them to produce them and what they, in turn, have produced, namely, the myths, the lies, the system
To grasp the deeper effects of the system we have produced and have allowed to continue, the deep psychological damage to Negroes and whites

Unit 6: Material things and soul things.

To develop insights about the inadequacies of pure materialism
To develop some elementary concepts of a new society

Unit 7: The Freedom Movement

Purpose: To grasp the significance of direct action and political action as instruments of social change

See also Mississippi Freedom School Curriculum from Education and Democracy for the entire, extensive Freedom School curriculum.

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