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.