Even when conventional understandings endow agency to those denied power and privilege, they oftentimes depict their deeds as discrete and separate acts. It is thus a commonplace for students to see the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s as organized against white supremacy in the South by and for African Americans. The principal relationship is between white and black (and possibly North and South), and the sole beneficiaries are African Americans.
Rather, "Fighting for Democracy" and especially its follow-up lesson that focuses on the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s will highlight the intersections among excluded groups (like the related efforts of African, Asian, and Mexican Americans for integrated public schools), instead of their divergences, and in place of the familiar binary of white and nonwhite, this curriculum will present a more complicated formulation of race in the U.S. Finally, "Fighting for Democracy" emphasizes that the benefits of equality extend to those who hold and are denied power alike.
Multiculturalism, this curriculum maintains, does not consist of separate strands of experiences or even the summation of those diverse cultures and their contributions. "Fighting for Democracy" encourages students to discover and forge connections across those apparent divides of race, ethnicity, gender, class, and citizenship, and, above all, to find in the lives of others themselves and their fortunes.
Sign in front of neighborhood in Los Angeles, California, ca. 1950s. Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research