In 2010, the Texas State Board of Education voted to minimize the role of slavery in developing new guidelines for teaching about the Civil War. Patricia Hall, a Republican board member, asserted, "States' rights were the real issues behind the Civil War. Slavery was an after issue." Starting next month, 5 million students in Texas will learn about American history based on these changes.Read more
In case you're wondering why South Carolina seceded from the Union, take a look at the Declaration of Secession (December 24, 1860). There are 18 mentions in total of "slaves," "slave-holding," or "slavery." The mentions have been boldfaced and italicized here.
Go here to read Texas' declaration of secession which mentions slavery 21 times. Mississippi seceded a few weeks after South Carolina stating that "Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery-- the greatest material interest of the world."Read more
Winston-Salem, NC — In 2013, Story of America was embedded in the North Carolina General Assembly to document the passage of what many call the most aggressive voting restrictions law since the end of the Jim Crow Era. (See embedded video series below.)
A Federal Court trial to determine the constitutionality of these restrictions gets underway today in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. I spoke with Allison Riggs, lead counsel for the League of Women Voters, which, along with the U.S. Department of Justice and the North Carolina NAACP will argue that House Bill 589 violates the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, as well as the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Columbia, SC -- For the last few weeks since the massacre at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston on June 17th, the fierce debate here and around the nation revolved around whether or not the Confederate flag should be removed from SC's Capitol grounds.
From the day after the shooting, the Confederate flag drew attention and scorn for flying at full mast when the state and US flag above the dome were lowered by the Governor's order to half-mast in an expression of mourning. Petitions began circulating as early as June 18th through MoveOn and other networks with hundreds of thousands people demanding the removal of the Confederate flag from all government property in South Carolina.Read more
Editor's note: Annabel is one of the producers of Story of America. This is an auto-biographical story about how she became committed to being an active citizen.
This is the oath that I took when I became an American citizen in June, 1991, in Boston:
I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United
We had a simple question when Eric Byler and I began our journey around the country with Story of America: Why have we become so divided as a nation and how can we become more united?
As I watched the video of our interview with James Morgan of Bakersville, NC, a mining town in the Appalachian Mountains, I finally recognized what really propelled this journey. It wasn't some academic answer to my question; it was something deeply personal.Read more
Today a friend in the justice movement texted me these words: "Happy New Year. I'm depressed." In trying to offer some advice, I summarized the remarks quoted below, which had made me feel better about life.
As you know, Story of America aims to create greater understanding and civil engagement on divisive issues.
One of our goals for 2015 is to create better dialogue between communities and law enforcement. We were able to contribute to the dialogue in Prince William County through our critically acclaimed documentary project 9500 Liberty, the youtube series and the feature film. This is the trailer for the film.
Federal complaint filed after wave of anti-immigrant sentiment kills housing deal in Lawrenceville, VA
A federal complaint has been filed by Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME) citing events that I witnessed and documented for Story of America. On June 20, 2014, I traveled to Lawrenceville, Virginia to film an emergency town hall meeting about the possibility of putting an Unaccompanied Alien Children’s (UAC) program on the campus of the recently closed St. Paul's College.
5 Hour Wait to Vote in Urban Centers: 2016's most cynical election strategy coming to Wisconsin, North Carolina, & Ohio
This video shot on election day 2012 by Eric Byler, Bobby Wangerman, Annabel Park, and Michael Levin is the best documentation so far of the unfairness of long lines at the polls in urban centers. Recently, swing states like Ohio, North Carolina, and Wisconsin have implemented policies designed to engineer long lines at the polls in urban centers.