Examining Racism and Discrimination Through Oral History

This curriculum centers on oral histories of discrimination as told by Japanese American, Black, and American Muslim individuals. Their stories are framed within larger historical and contemporary contexts in order to show how structural racism impacts individual lives. It is designed for middle and high school classrooms, with learning activities aligned to Common Core State Standards.

Please note that this curriculum is still under development. If you have any questions, feedback, or would like to inquire about hosting a teaching workshop based on this curriculum please email education@densho.org.


This curriculum was created by Densho in partnership with the Northwest African American Museum, Wing Luke Museum of the Asian American Experience, Casa Latina, Council on American-Islamic Relations of Washington State, United Indians of All Tribes Foundation, and the Holocaust Center for Humanity. Barbara Yasui, Dia Penning of World Trust and Ron Ritchhart of Harvard Project Zero served as consultants on this project. Teachers in Seattle and Spokane, Washington; Birmingham, Alabama; and New York City provided critical early feedback.

To promote thinking and inquiry, oral histories in this curriculum have been paired with Thinking Routines–a process and structure developed by Harvard Project Zero’s Visible Thinking. Thinking Routines have a few simple steps to evoke deep thinking, which can prompt questions and learning. They can be used in many different contexts with a variety of content, and we have found them to be effective in deepening thinking about racism and discrimination.

This project was funded, in part, by a grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program and the Kip Tokuda Memorial Washington Civil Liberties Public Education Program.

Stay up to date on Densho News. Sign up for our Newsletter >Subscribe

  • As descendants of Japanese American incarceration, we stand with all those who have suffered the atrocities of US c… https://t.co/k8lozuMPxZ
  • The Marshall-Albright family's roots in L.A. stretch back to 1892, when former slaves George and Josephine created… https://t.co/26ZPga1wxr
  • In August 1945, Giichi Matsumura hiked into the mountains above Manzanar and never came back. For 74 years, his gra… https://t.co/yy01oEioXx
  • Dozens of Iranian Americans were detained at the border and subjected to invasive questions about their political v… https://t.co/RHmp2cgQC4
  • The exclusion of Japanese Americans from the West Coast during WWII came to an official end #OTD in 1945. Over the… https://t.co/eAI8APpR3M