On May 17, 1954 the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas declaring that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal" on the basis that it violated the 14th Amendment guaranteeing equal protection of the law. It remains a defining moment in U.S. History.

Representative John Lewis (1940–2020) 

Bryan Stevenson, Executive Director of EJI

Representative John Lewis (1940–2020) was 14 in 1954. He recalls feeling hopeful for a better future when he learned of the Brown decision and often shared this optimism and conviction to work for justice. “When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, we have a moral obligation, a mission and a mandate to do something, to say something, to speak up and speak out.” 

  • Celebrate the 70th anniversary of Brown and reaffirm Lewis’ work with your students by watching Life Stories’ documentary short John Lewis: His Last March.

Bryan Stevenson, Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative, shares in a Life Stories interview that he is a "product of Brown v. Board and grew up in a community where Black children couldn't go to the public schools." 


This month, award-winning author and artist Faith Ringgold died at the age of 93. Ringgold’s highly personal works of art can be seen in collections across the United States and she is recognized as a leader in breaking down barriers as a Black female artist. In the clip above, Faith shares how important one's identity is to both creativity and storytelling.

Life Stories honors her life and we invite you to celebrate her with your students.

  • See her full interview here.
  • Share her biography in your classroom and connect her work to students' lives.
  • Learn more about her tremendous body of artistic work here.

THE THREAD: Listen to April's Storytellers

The five storytellers that premiered this month in Season One of The Thread all share a core commitment to live their life with purpose and meaning.


Stay tuned for four more episodes and lessons of The Thread released weekly!

May 6: Reginald Dwayne Betts, A Voice for the Incarcerated

May 13: Tony Hawk, Finding Your Passion

May 20: Darren Walker, Hope and Courage in Action

May 27: Katie Couric, From Tragedies to Triumphs

July 12-13

National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) Conference 2024

Make a date with media literacy this summer! Join the upcoming virtual conference organized by NAMLE for open and honest dialogue between educators and experts on the state of #MediaLiteracy. We will be presenting a session on July 13! Register here.

November 21-23

National Council of Teachers of English Conference (NCTE) 2024

Save the Date this fall for a trip to Boston for the annual NCTE conference. We’ll be presenting a session “Documentary Storytelling: Teaching Compassion and Solidarity Alongside Argument and Critical Media Literacy” focusing on THE THREAD episodes and launching a new national partnership we will be announcing soon! More information here.

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