Caitlin LeClair

King Middle School
Portland, ME

Project Description:

“Small Acts of Courage”, LeClaire’s creative teaching concept, will involve having 90 seventh-grade students participate in an integrated study of the Civil Rights Movement. By using primary and secondary research sources, students will focus on the years 1954-1964. As a school with a diverse student population, where 32 languages are spoken, they also will discuss how issues of race and background affect the students in their own lives. The students will first study historical events and leaders during the Civil Rights era from a variety of perspectives including political power, leadership, religion, economics and communication. They also will interview local citizens regarding their connection to and personal experiences within the Civil Rights era. They will record their interviews, and each student will write a biographical narrative about the local citizen and their involvement with this struggle. All interviews will be included in a four-volume collection called Small Acts of Courage, and it will be presented to the interviewees at a celebration held at the school. Additionally, the oral histories will be donated to one of the special collections at a local university library. LeClair, who lives in Portland, believes the students will ultimately be honoring those who are interviewed since many have never shared their stories outside their families.