How to use this website

What is Facing Freedom?

Facingfreedom.org complements the Facing Freedom in America exhibition permanently on display at the Chicago History Museum, both the website and the exhibition are designed for middle-and high-school teachers and students. This website can be used before you visit, after you visit, or independent of a visit to the Museum. 

The Facing Freedom in America website explores conflicts over freedom through four themes; each theme is supported by two stories, which highlight moments when Americans have struggled over the meaning of freedom.

Themes and Stories

The four themes and eight stories contained in Facing Freedom in America are:

Workers’ Rights

Pullman Porters, Chicago, 1920s
United Farm Workers, California, 1960s

Armed Conflict

Civil War, Mississippi, 1863
American Indian Rights, South Dakota, 1973

Race and Citizenship

Japanese Internment, West Coast, 1940s
Slavery, South Carolina, 1850s.

Public Protest

School Boycott, Chicago, 1963
Votes for Women, Illinois, 1910s

What can my students and I do on this website?

In addition to reading the stories, there are three main activities your students can do:

1. Discuss History Today: Participate in a discussion framed by an expert

Each Facing Freedom in America theme contains a Discuss History Today section. In this section an expert explores the theme in a historical context and its impact on contemporary American life. The expert poses a question and your students are invited to reply and participate in a discussion with their peers. For your convenience, proof of student participation is provided via e-mail or print receipt.

Discuss History Today topics and experts change every two months. Discussions will end with a statement by the historian recognizing student contributions and providing further insight into the topic. Closing statements  appear one week after the discussion closes. You can register to be notified, via email, when the closing statement posts.

Once a discussion closes you can no longer contribute to it. Closed discussions are accessible and printable via the “Read Previous Discussions” link found on each Discuss History Today.

2. The Facing Freedom Collection: Explore primary and secondary sources

The Facing Freedom in America Collection includes the primary and secondary sources that Museum curators used to interpret the history featured in the exhibition. Zoom in on Photographs, objects, documents; listen to audio; and watch videos that support each of the eight stories.

3. My Freedom Collection: Remix and interpret the Facing Freedom collection

In the My Freedom Collection section of the website you and your students have the opportunity to use the Facing Freedom in America resources to create and interpret your own collection in three easy steps.

My Freedom Collection is flexible enough to use as an assignment for students or as a tool to create a classroom lecture. Each collection saved is given a unique web address. Through the unique web address you can edit the collection in the future or share it via e-mail.

Help out by giving us feedback and best examples

Please send us comments, questions, or concerns; if you have good examples of collections created by you or your students please share them with us, and tell us why you think they are good.

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