I’m kicking myself for forgetting this: all this hubbub around the beginning of the school year and I missed the premiere of an important film.
This past September, PBS aired the documentary For Love of Liberty: The Story of America’s Black Patriots. It chronicles the triumphs and struggles of African Americans in combat from the American Revolution to today’s struggles in Iraq and Afghanistan. One of the main themes is the bravery and skill of these soldiers in the face of a double-standard: often, their treatment in the armed forces mirrored their second-class position back on the home front.
As the country was born, grew and developed, so too did African American soldiers contribute in every step of the way, often thanklessly. During the Revolution, many Blacks joined both the British and American ranks (though many more joined the British side) in the futile hope of achieving freedom. That same hope propelled Blacks to contribute with honor in the Civil War. In the subsequent World Wars, Blacks struggled to maintain dignity and assert their rights as citizens, even with segregated units, white officers, substandard equipment and provisions, and a hostile Jim Crow America upon their return. Finally, Blacks are represented in massive numbers in today’s military, even as a Black president finally takes office in 2009.
Often, these types of documentaries get tedious, slow, and brutally long. The US Army, and thanks to the folks at the Social Studies and History Teachers Blog, part of Multimedia Learning LLC, put together a shortened version of the film to be used in classrooms, each segment focusing on a specific area of history. There are even facilitator guides for high school and college that augment the viewing with questions, project ideas and lesson plans.
Below is the shortened film in 9 segments. These classroom-ready 3-5 minute chunks are perfect for your classrooms, along with the facilitator guides. Let us know how you like them.