Our Mission and Who We Are

The rationale for the TDEP & Crafting Freedom initiatives  was summarized with 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.”

The Thomas Day Education Project (TDEP) & the Crafting Freedom Initiatives are comprised of a  group of educators, scholars, and ordinary citizens throughout the United States committed to improving the teaching of African-American history and culture in K-12 education, in museums and at historic sites. We are always focused on making this content available  to Americans who can gain the most benefit from knowing it, such as high risk youth of color who lack  a deep  knowledge of their  history, and the men and women who teach and mentor them. We pursue our mission through educator workshops and by developing and  disseminating cutting-edge 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. Thomas Day was the original  focal point and theme of most  of our work but in recent years we’ve expanded the “Crafting Freedom Initiative.”  It includes summer workshops for teachers, a website of teacher-developed materials, and highly engaging and interactive sessions  delivered directly to students . The growth and continued expansion of  the Crafting Freedom initiative complements our ongoing TDEP work.

TDEP & Crafting Freedom  infuse knowledge into K-12 classrooms at museums,  historic sites, and other venues  through:

  • Educator-focused  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.
  • Direct classroom instruction to in-school or after-school  student populations which deploy the media, materials and best practices developed and honed over a decade.