The Thomas Day Education Project (TDEP) is a group of educators, scholars, and ordinary citizens throughout the United States that is committed to improving the teaching of African-American history and culture in K-12 education, in museums and at historic sites. We pursue our mission through teacher workshops and by disseminating outstanding media and material – most of it developed through a process of teacher-scholar collaboration. Thomas Day (1801 – 1861) was a 19th-century free African-American craftsman and a founding father of the modern Southern furniture industry. Day is a focal point and theme of much of the work of TDEP. In a larger sense, he symbolizes the legions of African Americans whose stories and contributions to the making of America have not been told.
TDEP is infusing knowledge into K-12 classrooms and at museums and historic sites through:
- Educator-led workshops on teaching African-American history and culture, with a substantial number of scholarly lectures and seminars and a focus on “best teaching practices.”
- State-of-the-art media and materials that use primary sources – documents and artifacts – as well as oral histories, web videos and the lastest technological tools to teach knowledge and skills such as critical thinking, writing, and research.
The rationale for the TDEP was summarized in these words from the report of President Clinton’s 1997 Initiative on Race:
“The absence of both knowledge and understanding about the role race has played in our collective history continues to make it difficult to find solutions that will improve race relations, eliminate racial disparities, and create equal opportunities in American life…Educating the nation about our past and the role race has played in it is a necessary corollary to shaping solutions and polices that will guide the nation to the next plateau in race relations.”