John F. Kennedy Presidental Library, Boston, Massachusetts

On March 10 8th grade students in Jennifer Skerrett’s US History class participated in a virtual program with the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library. The program, “The Most Powerful and Precious Right”: Ensuring Voting Rights Past and Present was the culmination of a unit on voting rights in the United States. Students learned about the importance of voting and voting rights, barriers to voting, and strategies to protect voting rights.  

Both in class and during the program students analyzed primary sources that demonstrated racial discrimination in voting in the 1950s and 1960s. These sources included poll tax receipts, literacy tests, and voter registration data.

A key takeaway from the program included the power that citizens hold in a democracy; both by exercising their right to vote and using their First Amendment rights to advocate for change.

Next week, a small group of these eighth-graders will participate in a Zoom meeting with Lieutenant Governor Molly Gray, and continue practicing their civic engagement skills.

Thank you to Emily Wills and Sean Theoret, who also provided support for these exciting opportunities.

Justin Brown is the Principal at BFA Fairfax Middle School. He is a regular contributor to THE FWSU STORY. You can follow him on Twitter @jbrownenator

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