Don't Know Much

For Educators- Book a “Virtual Visit” to Your Classroom

Dear Teachers, Librarians, and others

There is a lot of history to talk about. Democracy. Civics. Impeachment. Presidents. Slavery.

In February 2020, during Black History Month and around Washington’s Birthday (AKA Presidents Day), I am offering a limited number of free classroom Skype session. To be considered for a Skype session, please fill out this  Contact Form,  specifying school location, grade level, and class size. (Multiple classes are welcomed.) The sessions run from 45 minutes to one hour with ample opportunity for your students to ask questions.

You are also invited to request a free virtual classroom visit on the topic of Democracy and Dictatorships, the subject of my forthcoming book, STRONGMAN: The Rise of Five Dictators and the Fall of Democracy  (Holt Books, October 2020)

As we move through this Presidential election year, the issue of civic engagement is more important than ever. My hope is to speak with Middle School and High School students and their teachers about what democracy is, what threatens democracy today, and how to protect it.

The virtual visit will draw on the themes of Strongman: The Rise of Five Dictators and the Fall of Democracy. The book provides accounts of five of the most murderous dictators in modern history and the death of democracy. They are Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, Mao Zedong, and Saddam Hussein.

I can also discuss my recent book, In the Shadow of Liberty: The Hidden History of Slavery, Four Presidents, and Five Black Lives, now available in paperback.

In it, I tell the stories of five people who were enslaved by four American presidents — Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and Jackson.

  • BILLY LEE, who became George Washington’s valet and fought in the American Revolution alongside him.
  • ONA JUDGE, who escaped from Washington’s Philadelphia home—only to be tracked down by the president’s men.
  • ISAAC GRANGER, who survived the devastation of Yorktown before returning to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello.
  • PAUL JENNINGS, who was present at the burning of James Madison’s White House during the War of 1812.
  • ALFRED JACKSON, who was born into slavery at Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage, survived the Civil War, and lived at the plantation into the 20th century.

More comments and information about this book can be found here. 

I also continue to offer Skype sessions focused on World War I— why it was fought, how it shaped world history, and why it is relevant today. But I will also explore some hidden history from my recent book More Deadly Than War: how the war was intricately intertwined with the Spanish Flu pandemic that killed an estimated 100 million people worldwide in the space of a year and ranks as the deadliest outbreak of disease in modern history.

During my 45-minute sessions I will discuss:

  • what started the war
  • when and why the U.S. entered the fight
  • how the war drove the Spanish Flu and how the flu changed both the war and the world

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