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Home Educator Seminar: Reconstruction and Reaction

Educator Seminar: Reconstruction and Reaction

Reconstruction and Reaction

A Montpelier Seminar for Educators

The period of Reconstruction lasts from the end of the Civil War through 1877. For many African Americans, some four million people that are freed from slavery from the Southern states, the experience of Reconstruction is simultaneously one of joy, tremendous promise, and hope, as well as one of real hardship, uncertainty, and sorrow. The 14th and 15th Amendments made efforts to protect the rights of African Americans, and briefly succeeded in enfranchising them. People participated in politics at unprecedented levels. At the local level people organized political associations to gain information about state and national politics. People participated in elections, and for the first time black men in meaningful numbers were voted into office at local governments, at the level of state governments, and even at the level of the national government. At the same time, virtually every African American community had to contend with the legacies of slavery. Even before the endpoint of Reconstruction in 1877, many of the strides towards civil and political rights for African Americans were coming under attack. The legacy of this tumultuous period in US history reverberates today.

Through reading and discussing primary documents from American history, this seminar is designed to help teachers think more deeply about these fundamental issues, so they can teach the principles of American constitutionalism more effectively.  This seminar will be led by Dr. Hasan Jeffries, Associate Professor of History at The Ohio State University, and Jeremy Nesoff, Director of District Partnerships at Facing History and Ourselves.

Seminar Scholars

Hasan Kwame Jeffries

Hasan Kwame Jeffries teaches, researches, and writes about the African American experience from a historical perspective. 

He has chronicled the civil rights movement in the ten-episode Audible Originals series “Great Figures of the Civil Rights Movement,” and has told the remarkable story of the original Black Panther Party in Bloody Lowndes: Civil Rights and Black Power in Alabama’s Black Belt, which has been praised as “the book historians of the black freedom movement have been waiting for.”

Hasan has collaborated on several public history projects, including serving as the lead scholar and primary scriptwriter for the $27 million redesign of the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee, the site of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He currently serves as the chairperson of the Board of Directors of The Montpelier Foundation, which stewards the Virginia estate of James Madison, the fourth president of the United States and the architect of the Constitution.

Hasan regularly shares his expertise on African American history and contemporary Black politics through public lectures, op-eds, and interviews with print, radio, and television news outlets, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, NPR, CNN, and MSNBC. 

He has also contributed to several documentary film projects as an historical advisor and featured on-camera scholar, including the 2023 documentaries Fight the Power: How Hip Hop Changed the World (PBS) and Lowndes County and the Road to Black Power (NBC/Peacock). And his 2020 TEDx Talk “Why we must confront the painful parts of US history” has been viewed more than 2 million times.

For his public history work, the King Arts Center in Columbus, Ohio honored him with a 2023 Legacy and Legends Award.

Hasan’s commitment to teaching what he calls “Hard History” led him to edit Understanding and Teaching the Civil Rights Movement, a collection of essays by leading civil rights scholars and teachers that explores how to teach civil rights history accurately and effectively, and to host the podcast “Teaching Hard History,” a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Learning for Justice division. Hasan also helps school districts develop anti-racism programming and culturally responsive curricular content centered on social studies by conducting professional development workshops for teachers and administrators.

A College of Arts and Sciences Alumni Associate Professor in the Department of History at The Ohio State University, Hasan takes great pride in opening students’ minds to new ways of understanding the past and the present. For his pedagogical creativity and effectiveness, he has received numerous awards, including Ohio State’s highest commendation for teaching – the Ohio State Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Hasan graduated from Morehouse College in 1994 with a BA in history and earned his PhD in American history with a specialization in African American history from Duke University in 2002. 

Jeremy Nesoff

Jeremy Nesoff is the Director of District Partnerships at Facing History and Ourselves. He is a member of the Senior Program Team with responsibility for implementing organizational program strategy. He uses his experience as the grandson of two Holocaust survivors, attending and then teaching in NYC Public Schools, and more than 27 years experience as a Facing History and Ourselves teacher, school leader, Facing History program staff member and in program leadership to develop meaningful learning opportunities for students, teachers, schools and school districts. 


Jul 30, 2024 - Aug 01, 2024


1:30 pm - 12:00 pm




Claude Moore Hall
Claude Moore Hall
13372 Laundry Road, Montpelier Station, VA 22957