Episode 1: The Fight for a True Democracy
Episode one explores the many ways in which Black Americans have fought to help the U.S. move toward the ideal of democracy it was founded on. This episode includes some scenes of graphic violence, which we identify in the guide.
Printable handouts for Episode 1:
Some questions to consider before listening:
- What is democracy? How have you heard it defined?
- What are some symbols of democracy that you know of? Are any of these symbols in your home? In your school?
- Some of the history and personal stories told in this podcast are hard to listen to because they describe painful events. What can we do to take care of ourselves when something is both important to hear and difficult to listen to?
|ime Stamp||Main Topic||Questions to consider|
|0:00-4:45||Introduction/story of the White Lion||Nikole Hannah-Jones comments that the White Lion, the first slave ship to arrive in the British North American colonies, arrived at a port ironically named Point Comfort.
What is ironic about that name? Does this irony remind you of any other historical names or landmarks?
|4:45-10:35||Nikole Hannah-Jones’ anecdote about her dad & the flag||How did Hannah-Jones feel about the American flag her dad flew in their yard as a child? Why?
What flags have you seen flying in and around your neighborhood? Do you know some of the stories behind why people fly them?
|10:35- 20:25||Thomas Jefferson and the hypocrisies of the founding documents of the U.S.||In what ways does the podcast suggest the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were hypocritical when written? Do you agree?
What is some evidence that Thomas Jefferson and some of the other founders of the country were aware of this hypocrisy?
This section is bookmarked by the reflection of an elderly Black gentleman whose grandfather was enslaved by Jefferson. Why do you think it was important to the podcasters to include his voice?
|25:55-30:22||Reconstruction||What initially allowed for some progress in developing rights for Black Americans during Reconstruction? Why was that progress eventually halted?
Have you heard the term “The Great Nadir” before?
What questions do you have about the experiences of Black Americans during this period of history?
|30:22-34:15||The story of Isaac Woodard Jr. (graphic descriptions of violence)||How does learning about the violence against Isaac Woodard Jr. and other Black veterans after the World Wars make you feel?
Have you heard stories similar to Woodard’s before? What hypocrisy does this violence against Black Americans who fight for the country reveal?