Voices of a People's History
Voices of a People's History


September 1, 2011 - June 30, 2012

During the 2011–2012 school year, the non-profit organization Voices of a People’s History is running a pilot project in Chicago to bring free educational resources, public performing arts programming, film screenings, and professional development workshops to educators and their students in Chicago area public schools and in community organizations.

The Chicago Voices pilot project launches in Fall 2011 and includes several elements:

+ Providing 1,000 educators a free curriculum toolkit based on primary source historical documents and aligned with national teaching standards. The Chicago Voices Educators Toolkitincludes The People Speak Extended Edition DVD, accompanying sourcebooks by Howard Zinn, teaching and viewing guides, lesson plans, a Chicago people’s history readings script, classroom video modules, and historical illustrations and graphics, all packaged in a cotton tote bag.

+ Providing public arts programming, including live performances with students and professional artists, as well as free community film screenings of The People Speak and discussions throughout the year.

+ Offering professional development workshops for educators in order to evaluate the curricular material and deepen classroom use.

+ Conducting an evaluation survey and report for possible replication in other districts.

As with Voices of a People’s History as a whole, the Chicago pilot project is inspired by the work of the late historian Howard Zinn (1922-2010), who co-founded Voices and whose books will be part of the free toolkit provided to Chicago educators.

The Chicago Voices Educators Toolkit includes a DVD, several books, and a pre-loaded 2GB carabiner USB flash drive packed with educational material, all collected in an organic cotton tote bag from The People Speak tagged with the film’s message: Democracy Is Not A Spectator Sport.

The Toolkit is suitable for middle and high school and introductory college classes. Relevant subject areas include Social Studies, U.S. History, English, Language Arts, Drama, Writing, Sociology, Women’s History, Labor History, African-American Studies, Race and Ethnicity Studies.

Who can get a toolkit? Any educator actively teaching young people in Chicago area public schools (including suburbs) or community organizations. Teachers must sign up and provide basic information about their school or educational organization and valid contact information.

How do you get a toolkit? Everyone who signs up will have to pick up their toolkit in person at our events held throughout the year. Voices doesn’t have the resources to individually ship toolkits. Educators can sign up in person at our free events or online by filling out this formHERE.

Chicago Voices is holding events throughout the year, across the city, including free film film screenings of The People Speak and distribution of the Toolkit, live performances, and professional development workshops.

SEPTEMBER 21: Project launch with a free film screening and toolkit giveaway at Victory Gardens Biograph Theater.

OCTOBER 13: Free film screening and toolkit giveaway at The Jane Addams Hull-House Museum at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Co-sponsored by Teachers for Justice and theCaucus of Rank-and-File Educators.

NOVEMBER 5: Exhibit, workshop and free toolkit giveaway at the Second Annual Youth Development Summit at UIC

NOVEMBER 19: Exhibit, workshop and free toolkit giveaway at theEleventh Annual Teachers For Social Justice Curriculum Fair

DECEMBER 2: Free film screening of The People Speak and toolkit giveaway at Erie Neighborhood House.

DECEMBER 8: Holiday Party: “Cocktails and Community” with the Caucus of Rank and File Educators, Louder Than a Bomb, and Victory Gardens Theatre.

DECEMBER 9: History Channel Seminar Series at the Newberry Library

DECEMBER 15: Occupy Chicago Education Committee Documentary Screening Series Kick-Off with a free screening of The People Speak by Howard Zinn.

JANUARY 5-8: Exhibit at the American Historical Association Annual Meeting

JANUARY 21: The 4th Annual WBEZ Winter Block Party for Chicago’s Hip-Hop Arts. Free film screening and discussion.

JANUARY 31: Live performance, “The People Speak, Live!” at the Metro with Matt Damon and a cast of local Chicago actors, poets, activists, singers, and even a journalist.

The Chicago pilot project is led by Project Director Mariah Neuroth, and educator and youth advocate, in cooperation with poet, educator and activist Kevin Coval, co-founder and Artistic Director of Louder Than A Bomb: The Chicago Teen Poetry Festival, subject of a documentary of the same name, premiering on the Oprah Winfrey Network October 2011. A regular contributor to Chicago Public Radio and a four-time HBO Def Poet, Coval teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and at schools throughout the city. He is the author of Everyday People and Slingshots (A Hip Hop Poetica); his newest collection, L-Vis Lives!: Racemusic Poems, was released by Haymarket Books in September 2011.

Project Director Mariah Neuroth began her career in Chicago as the Youth Program Coordinator for Interfaith Refugee and Immigration Ministries. Mariah was the founding board chair for the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation and is a charter member of the Interfaith Youth Core. She recently served as Chief Program Officer of the Umoja Development Corporation and is now pursuing a Masters of Education in Youth Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Contact Mariah Neuroth at mneuroth [at] gmail [dot] com
With general questions about Voices contact us at voices [at] peopleshistory [dot] us

The Chicago Voices project is supported by Lannan Foundation, established in Chicago in 1960 and now based in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Louder Than A Bomb: Chicago Youth Poetry Festival is the lead community partner for the Chicago pilot project.

The Chicago Voices Educator Toolkit is made possible by the generosity of our partners at The People Speak; book publishers Haymarket Books, Seven Stories Press, The New Press andHarperCollins; broadcasters HISTORY and A&E Television Networks; and, organizationsLouder Than A Bomb: Chicago Youth Poetry Festival and the Chicago Teachers Union.