“The past is myself, my own history, the seed of my present thoughts, the mould of my present disposition.” – Robert Louise Stevenson Journeys of Reconciliation Project Contacts: Kelly Brisbois, J.D. Executive Producer/Writer Tel: (415) 515-5111 Website: http://www.oralhistoryeducation.com Email: email@example.com Trevor Getz, Ph.D. Assoc. Professor, San Francisco State University Associate Producer Tel: (415) 338-7561 Website: http://online.sfsu.edu/~tgetz Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Coetzee Zietsman Director of Photography Chedzamedia, Inc., Johannesburg Email: email@example.com Milton Reynolds Program Associate, Facing History and Ourselves Tel: (515) 786-2500, ext. 225 Emai: Milton_Reynolds@facing.org For information about teacher resources on American Civil Rights and the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission go to:www.facinghistory.org Understanding the history of human rights struggles Kathy Nasstrom Associate Professor, University of San Francisco through the stories of those who experienced them Tel: (415) 422-6074 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org in South Africa and the United States For information on oral history programs: Oral History Association Tel: (717) 245-1036 Website: http://www.dickinson.edu/oha JOURNEYS OF RECONCILIATION San Francisco area on an oral history project. These students are interviewing a diverse group of activists who experienced the struggle to end Apartheid in South “This is my brother. I know those shoes.” Africa. As a comparative study, they are also interviewing activists from the Civil – Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu, Rights Movement in the United States. While this project centers on a past that is No Future Without Forgiveness often painful, it is a project that also looks to the future. As these students explore issues of race and justice, they are also focusing on the process of reconciliation in In 1947, a group of eight black and eight white civil rights activists participated in both countries. After the fall of Apartheid in 1993, South Africa offers the world a the first “freedom ride” to protest the southern states’ segregation laws on buses unique model of transitional justice through its establishment of the Truth and and trains. This group of activists formed C.O.R.E., the Congress of Racial Reconciliation Commission and its creation of innovative methods for promoting Equality, with a mission to end racism in the United States through nonviolent social change. The United States offers a model that is strongly rooted in its courts, activism. They called their first freedom ride: Journey of Reconciliation. and is driven by landmark rulings from its Supreme Court. Later, a group of activists and leaders in South Africa would take their own journey In both countries we see similar events and find interesting contrasts. Access to of reconciliation. They formed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission which public services in both countries was governed by laws that determined rights sought to heal their country from the pain of racism experienced under the according to skin color. “Whites Only” signs were posted on bus seats, train cars, Apartheid laws that had been endured for 45 years. public beaches, bathrooms, parks, theaters, and restaurant tables. In both countries, the history of segregation and racism is a difficult field of study, yet it is one that is For many centuries race has determined one’s place in society throughout the very important to undertake. As the generations shift, the memory of these past world. This history of race and the quest for human rights does not stand idle, events must be collected, documented, and shared. waiting outside of the doors of our schools, homes, and places of work. It walks The historian James Carroll states, with us through those doors, in myriad forms. Understanding this history is “How we understand the past is the important so that we can develop an informed perspective on the issues we wrestle most important element determining with today and for the decisions we will make in the future. the future.” How students understand Oral History Project history is affected by the tools offered in the classroom to help them discover and interpret it. Oral history is a tool that aides students with this process and promotes a discovery of the past while honoring the people who experienced it. Documentary Memories vary with the unique perspective of the individuals who are interviewed. The collection of these memories looks like a richly formed patchwork quilt made from the fabric of their lives. The stain of bigotry is present, but the strong colors reflecting diversity and its triumph over adversity are what stand out. These stories will be represented in an intellectually vibrant and educational documentary. The oral history interviews conducted by these students are filmed for the purpose of creating both the documentary and an archive for academic research. This unique documentary is the result of an international partnership between Chedzamedia, Inc. In order to gain understanding and perspective of the past, a group of high school in Johannesburg, San Francisco State University, Facing History and Ourselves in students from Johannesburg is joining forces with high school students from the Oakland, and the University of San Francisco.