A Shaker Heights High School project about the Kent State shootings will be brought into classrooms throughout the Cleveland area thanks to a nonprofit that believes education is the key to stopping such events from happening again.
Facing History and Ourselves
awarded Shaker Heights High School teacher John Morris $3,000 to collaborate with Kent State University professor David Hassler on the project. American history, literature and theater students at Shaker Heights will learn about the ramifications of the massacre through the play May 4th Voices: Kent State 1970
. Pupils at regional Facing History classrooms will also be part of the program, says Mark Swaim-Fox, executive director of the local chapter of Facing History.
The play offers different viewpoints from a violent moment in American history, investigating a critical moment in the social protest movement. Stagings of May 4th Voices
will take place for students as well as the wider Cleveland community, with help from Facing History staff and educators.
"It aligns with critical thinking of how we remember the past," says Swaim-Fox. "We want this to be a resource for the kids in our network."
Facing History is a Massachusetts-based educational group working across the country to combat racism and prejudice through education. Swaim-Fox hopes the play garners a new audience, with curricular materials about the shootings circulated to a new generation of young learners.
"The play is uncovering untold stories from a chapter of history that sometimes gets passed over," he says. "This will be a great vehicle for students to look at a complicated time period."
SOURCE: Mark Swaim-Fox
WRITER: Douglas J. Guth