Community High Schools School of Education

300 High School Students Examine Racial Divisions, Nationally and Locally

Has the United States healed its racial divide? Can we create a society where all men and women are fundamentally equal?

At Hofstra University’s Emancipation Day Program

Has the United States healed its racial divide? Can we create a society where all men and women are fundamentally equal? These were questions more than 300 students from eight Long Island high schools were asked to consider when they attended Hofstra University’s Emancipation Day program on Thursday, April 18, at the Student Center Theater, North Campus. The program had special resonance because 2013 marks the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

The event opened with a discussion presented by Dr. Alan Singer of Hofstra University’s School of Education. He gave an overview of the Emancipation Proclamation and the debate that is focused on its actual and immediate impact on slavery in the United States after it was delivered by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863.

At 10:30 a.m. there was a dramatic presentation, the Grand Emancipation Jubilee, performed by students from Hofstra’s social studies education program. Then historical re-enactors from Hofstra’s Department of Rhetoric mingled with students to highlight pivotal moments (Freedom Summer) and people – James Weldon Johnson, Henry Ward Beecher and William Lloyd Garrison in U.S. civil rights history.

At 11:15 a.m. Michael D’Innocenzo, Hofstra University professor of history and the Harry H. Wachtel Distinguished Teaching Professor for the Study of Nonviolent Social Change, discussed the struggle for Civil Rights in the 1960s and the continuing struggle today.

The program concluded with an interactive dialogue as students from local high schools examined and searched for solutions to racial divisions on Long Island and the United States.

Participating schools included East Williston (Wheatley) High School, Wyandanch Memorial High School, Hastings Academy (Alternative Baldwin High School), East Meadow High School, Uniondale High School, Garden City High School, the Uniondale Cornelius Court School, and the Bronx Design and Construction Academy.

‘For more information and inquiries regarding media coverage, please call Ginny Greenberg at University Relations at (516) 463-6819 or contact Dr. Alan Singer at (516) 463-5853.

Hofstra University is a dynamic private institution of higher education where more than 11,000 full and part-time students choose from undergraduate and graduate offerings in liberal arts and sciences, business, engineering, applied science, communication, education, health sciences and human services, honors studies, the Maurice A. Deane School of Law and the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine.

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