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Primary Source
A Note from Natacha

I am the K-12 Director of History and Social Studies for Boston Public Schools and have also served as an elementary teacher in Boston. Throughout the years, I’ve had the pleasure of understanding the unique value of Primary Source from the teacher and administrator perspectives and I can tell you that Primary Source is in a league of its own.

Primary Source programs are fantastic experiences that allow our teachers to dive deep into content, and  connect that content to our students. Working in Boston, where we have 86% students of color, it is particularly important that what we teach allows our students to see themselves as well as others in the curriculum. Primary Source finds a way to showcase a myriad of voices in all of its work.

Your support will help to sustain its vitally important work. Please consider making a gift to Primary Source today. It means a tremendous amount to me, to our teachers, and to our students.

Thank you so much for considering my request and best wishes for the holiday season!


Natacha Scott
K-12 Director of History and Social Studies
Boston Public Schools

Social Studies is Social Activism
Presented by J. Malcolm Cawthorne

This year is the 30th anniversary of Primary Source’s founding. We have marked this milestone with initiatives that celebrate the educators and supporters who have helped make this possible. Our final capstone event was Culture & Cuisine at Darryl’s on Monday, November 18, 2019, at Darryl’s Corner Bar & Kitchen in the South End. Our guest speaker was J. Malcolm Cawthorne, noted Brookline High School educator and METCO Coordinator, who discussed “Using African American History to Mobilize Student Activism.”

Malcolm remarked that for African Americans, the study of history and resulting acts of activism have been instrumental to opposing racism. He noted the roots of this phenomenon when African Americans began building schools in the 19th century, and providing history lessons even without textbooks. This legacy contributed to the emergence of many noted Black historians, whose work inspired generations of activists, including Dr. Carter G Woodson (1875-1950) and Dr. John Hope Franklin (1915-2009). Current scholars include Dr. Peniel Joseph (b. 1972), Dr. Ibram Kendi (b. 1972), and Dr. Beverly Tatum (b. 1955).

Malcolm pointed to well-known examples of student activism, including the February 1960 sit-in by the Greensboro (N.C.) Four, whose success in desegregating Woolworths contributed to the crescendo of protest for equal rights. In April, 1960, Dr. Martin Luther King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) created a youth program similar to the highly successful NAACP youth program. From this work, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was born, and it helped to develop leaders like Stokely Carmichael and H. Rap Brown, among others.

Malcolm continued that local history and resulting activism are equally important. He cited the work of Hidden Brookline, which shines light on local stories that are not a part of the typical narrative associated with the town. Sometimes, this has meant helping the town confront its ugly past with race and racism. This includes the shocking fact that in 1750, 25% of the residents in Brookline owned slaves. In recent years, students have been instrumental in identifying a new name for the Coolidge Corner School, which formerly had been named for a slave owner.

Malcolm concluded his remarks by noting that he is most proud of presenting these historical connections as a teacher. His Racial Awareness Seminar at Brookline High School has produced activism by prompting students on how to use their knowledge to promote anti-racism. Students want to know that they can have an impact on their communities. Seeing examples of African American activists in history provides the belief to all students that change is possible and they can be agents for that change.



Save the Date: Spring Benefit

Our annual Spring Benefit
Opening Minds. Inspiring Change.
is in the works.

Stay tuned for more information in January!

Hebrew College
160 Herrick Road
Newton Centre, MA 02459


Alpha Exchange is accepting educator applications for its April 12-26, 2020 China Leadership Delegation!

The China Leadership Delegation is a 10-day program designed to support education leaders in deepening their understanding of this complex country and strengthening their institution’s cultural exchange programs and partnerships.


SCHOOL VISITS: Meet with educators, observe classes and interact with students, learning about current trends in Chinese education while sharing perspectives from your home district.

CHINA PARTNERSHIPS: Establish meaningful partnerships with Chinese schools, learning how to facilitate effective and affordable two-way exchanges between students and faculty.

IMMERSIVE SIGHTSEEING: Visit important historical and cultural sites in three different cities, deepening your understanding of China through primary experience.

US-CHINA YOUTH FORUM: Join 300 students and educators from over 50 schools in China and the US at the annual UCYF form held at the prestigious Keystone Academy in Beijing.

GLOBAL NETWORK: Join a network of globally-minded educators from around the US and learn how one particular school developed a thriving Center for Global Understanding to promote intercultural learning for faculty and students.

Click here for information about the trip and the itinerary.

In order to obstain registration information, contact Christine Gonzalez at

Sign up for 2020 Programs

Face-to-Face Programs

Mosaic America: Teaching Inclusive Elementary
Social Studies

      Open to all educators
Jan. 28, Feb. (Online), Mar.. 4, 2020

Civic Learning and the
Project of Democracy
 For educators of grades 6-12
Feb. 13, Mar. (Online), Apr. 7, 2020

Dynamic Continent: People and Regions in the 4th Grade
Social Studies

    For educators of grade 4
Jan. 8, 2020

Rocking the Américas: Latin Artists and the Making of
US Pop Music

    For educators of grades 6-12
Jan. 15, 2020

Migrations in World History and Today’s World
    For educators of grades 6-12
Apr. 2, 2020

Online Courses

Engaging Culturally & Linguistically Diverse Students & Families in Secondary Schools
For educators of grades 6-12
SESSION 2: Feb. 26 - Mar. 24, 2020

Japan and the World: Historical & Cultural Developments (5th Century - Present)
For all K-12 educators
Jan. 29 - Mar. 31, 2020  

India’s Century of Change: Diversity,
Democracy & Social Dynamics

For all K-12 educators
Jan. 29 - Mar. 31, 2020  

Globalizing Early
American History

For educators of grades 6-12
Jan. 29 - Mar. 3, 2020 

Global Understanding in Action: Human Rights, Educational Access & Gender Equity
For all K-12 educators
Jan. 29 - Mar. 3, 2020 

Windows to the Islamic World: Art, Architecture & Music
For all K-12 educators
Feb. 26 - Mar. 24, 2020 

Preparing Students for
Global Citizenship

For all K-12 educators
Feb. 26 - Mar. 24, 2020 


*Partnership Educators: Contact your school district's Primary Source representative to inquire about registration. Partnership seats
are limited.

Click here to find your

January, 13 2020
What Teachers Need to Know: Africa Edition

Do you teach about global cultures or world events in your classroom?

If so, Primary Source created this podcast series for you. In every compact episode, What Teachers Need to Know offers vital insight for understanding world cultures and current events so that you can facilitate deeper learning about the world with your students. Meet subject-matter experts and explore online resources that can help make a complex and dynamic world accessible to K-12 classrooms.

Together, we can prepare the next generation to be informed and engaged global citizens.

Episode 1 of What Teacher's Need to Know: Africa Edition will be available on January 13th!


Building-Blocks-for-Global-CitizenshipPrimary Source Picks

Primary Source Picks is our gift to you in honor of Giving Tuesday. This list of global reading suggestions for children and adults is our way of thank you for helping to sustain our work with teachers and their students.

We believe that every child deserves a high quality education with learning opportunities and resources about diverse cultures and global connections. You help make that happen!

Click here for the full list. 



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63 Pleasant Street, Suite 220
Watertown, MA 02472
(617) 923-9933

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63 Pleasant Street, Suite 220
Watertown, MA 02472
(617) 923-9933

© 2020 Primary Source
Primary Source is a 501c3 nonprofit organization.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Use

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