What is Americans All?
More than three decades ago, our nonprofit education foundation created classroom resources in history and civics, which are used today in more than 2,000 schools and libraries. Schools can use the Americans All storytelling tool and supplemental social studies information to educate students about the contributions that different ethnic and cultural groups made—and still make—to our nation. Families can use our storytelling tool to pass on knowledge and experiences, so children understand and appreciate their ethnic and cultural identity. Storytelling is not new, but it has never been used to unite a nation! Our use of storytelling makes all people part of our history.
In addition, storytelling brings communities together by sharing people’s common histories, rather than their differences. To start a serious conversation about institutional or systemic racism, we must first identify its driving forces and expose the continuation of these cornerstone beliefs in modern society. Our goal is to reinforce the notion that differences make us human, but respect for one another—a key to getting past stereotypes or politics—is the glue that makes communities work. Our engagement aims to help people understand that unconscious bias is the very human tendency to make quick and sometimes lasting judgments about other people without even realizing they are doing so. Moreover, once people can see that their unconscious biases may unintentionally lead to discrimination and potentially harm them personally or professionally, the road to change opens; we stop making the same mistakes again and can move toward creating a more perfect union.
Schools, students and students’ families and friends participate in Americans All at no cost and receive a free, 3-month trial to our Social Legacy Network for additional benefits including discounts from our program partners. For a small fee, local and regional small businesses and professional practices can use our storytelling tool and other resources to help rebuild after the COVID-19 pandemic ends; immigrant families own or manage many of these establishments that frequently employ people of color. Moreover, we gift more than 80 percent of our gross membership fees to schools and communities.
Why is understanding history critical?
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
—George Santayana, Ph.D., The Life of Reason, 1905.
When the Confederate States of America was formed in 1861 to succeed from the Union and protect the right to own slaves, Alexander H. Stephens, vice president of the Confederacy declared: “The Confederacy's foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests upon the great truth, that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and moral condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.”
By using stories and timelines, we can diminish stereotypes and impart lessons on the importance of diversity and the value of all people. Our program aims to persuade the nation of the benefits of tolerance, acceptance and inclusion.
Academic Benefits of Storytelling
Telling stories is one of the most powerful means that [all people] have to influence, teach, and inspire. Storytelling forges connections among people, and between people and ideas. Stories convey the culture, history, and values that unite people. When it comes to our countries, our communities, and our families, we understand intuitively that the stories we hold in common are an important part of the ties that bind.
This understanding also holds true in the business world, where an organization’s stories, and the stories its leaders tell, help solidify relationships in a way that factual statements encapsulated in bullet points or numbers don't. —Excerpted from a post by Vanessa Boris, author at Harvard Business Publishing, and Lani Peterson, Psy.D., a psychologist, professional storyteller and executive coach.
Get Social Studies Resources for a School
We support excellence in social studies instruction and promote civic engagement to help ensure all students are prepared to participate in our nation’s democracy, economy and workforce. Our goal is to give all public and private K–12 schools nationwide free electronic access to the Americans All program resources. They reflect the importance of diversity in social studies instruction. This information includes ethnic and cultural texts, period-specific photographs and posters and a music publication. To simplify school registration, our contact database includes information on most of our nation’s public and private schools, and each is assigned an identification number. All schools need to do is designate a point of contact.
Teachers can access grade-level-specific resource databases with information that supports state history and civics content standards. Embedded in these databases are links to other information to help strengthen learning opportunities and facilitate interdisciplinary connections. In addition, teachers can electronically access the Americans All collection that includes ethnic and cultural texts and songs, posters, hundreds of period-specific photographs, reference texts and grade-level-specific teacher’s guides. Moreover, sample lesson plans, simulations and test questions are offered. They can also take advantage of professional development opportunities that impart best practices for using these and other resources.
Contact information on our members is not shared or published.
Click here to register for Americans All, for free.
Click here to view the instructional video created by Dr. Gail C. Christopher and The Houghton Mifflin Company.
Click here if you want to become a school's point of contact, so your school can receive free social studies instructional resources.
Click here for tips on creating a legacy story for adults and young children.