Welcome to the inaugural blog post of the Memphis 13 Foundation! Today, we are thrilled to share with you our groundbreaking curriculum unit developed in collaboration with esteemed partners—the University of Memphis (UofM), the US Library of Congress, and the Memphis-Shelby County School District. This curriculum is a testament to our commitment to honoring the life and legacy of The Memphis 13, the courageous trailblazers who integrated the Memphis public schools 60 years ago.
The Memphis 13 Foundation recognizes the importance of representation and social justice in education. We firmly believe that studying The Memphis 13 provides a powerful lens through which young children can see themselves as agents of change in history, fostering a deeper understanding of social justice, equity, and inclusion. That is why we have partnered with the UofM, the US Library of Congress, and the Memphis-Shelby County School District to develop a comprehensive curriculum unit and professional development workshop series.
This curriculum unit offers an incredible opportunity for teachers to engage students in discussions about The Civil Rights Movement through a local lens. By using contextualized experiences, students can gain a better understanding of their schools as they were historically experienced by members of their own community—such as grandparents, aunties, uncles, and neighbors. It creates a connection between past and present, empowering students to recognize the significance of their own stories within the broader narrative of social progress.
The Memphis 13 curriculum unit is a result of collaboration between the UofM's Instruction and Curriculum Leadership faculty, M-SCS curriculum advisors, M-SCS elementary teachers, and members of The Memphis 13. This community-based approach draws upon the rich local knowledge and experiences to foster a deeper connection with language arts, history, humanities, and social studies. By integrating these subjects, we provide students with an interdisciplinary understanding of our community's stories and struggles.
To ensure the curriculum's effectiveness, the UofM faculty and M-SCS curriculum advisors have already begun working closely with six M-SCS elementary teachers. Together, they are co-developing the curriculum, infusing it with local perspectives, engaging activities, and age-appropriate resources. This collaborative effort guarantees that the curriculum reflects the diverse needs and experiences of our students while adhering to the highest educational standards.
We are immensely proud of this transformative curriculum unit, which represents our foundation's unwavering dedication to empowering education and embracing diversity. Through the lens of The Memphis 13, we hope to inspire future generations of students to stand up for justice, equality, and inclusion.
Stay tuned for more updates as we continue to develop and implement this curriculum in partnership with schools across the Memphis-Shelby County School District. Together, we can create an educational landscape that empowers students, celebrates our shared history, and fosters a brighter, more inclusive future for all.