1776 Unites’ Bob Woodson and Ian Rowe Introduce New High School Curriculum Emphasizing the History and Future of African American Resiliency in the United States

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Sept. 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — 1776 Unites’ Bob Woodson and Ian Rowe announced the first installment of the 1776…

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Sept. 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — 1776 Unites Bob Woodson and Ian Rowe announced the first installment of the 1776 Unites Curriculum in an effort to provide learning environments across  the country with exemplary lesson plans, reading guides, assessments, activities, and other resources that allow teachers to provide a more complete and inspiring story of the history of African-Americans in the United States. The curriculum will also help young people of all races understand how they can be architects of their own future by embracing the principles of education, family, free enterprise, faith, hard work and personal responsibility.

The curriculum offers life lessons from largely unknown, heroic African-American figures from the past and present who triumphed over adverse conditions. Looking forward, the curriculum also includes lessons that help the next generation develop the types of character-based strengths like resiliency, optimism, tough-mindedness, and courage that are most associated with human flourishing.

The curriculum can be implemented anywhere where childrens’ character formation is happening, whether that be in schools, camps, after school programs, churches or homes. It is essential that kids learn they are agents of their own uplift, knowing their possibilities, responsibilities and what it means to be an American.

«We chose to launch the 1776 Unites curriculum on the eve of Constitution Day to underscore to our youth the power of embracing our country’s authentic founding virtues and values, as embodied in that most unique document, the U.S. Constitution. Embedded within the Constitution are the tools of self-betterment and self-renewal that our country has deployed on the journey to become a more perfect union. In the same way we hope this curriculum will inspire young people to achieve their own human flourishing,» according to Ian Rowe, experienced charter school leader, Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and Senior Visiting Fellow at the Woodson Center.

«Constitution Day,» observed on September 17 each year, was established to commemorate the signing of the Constitution, which created the framework of our federal government and enumerated the rights and freedoms of the American people.

According to Bob Woodson, a veteran of the civil rights movement and CEO of The Woodson Center and its 1776 Unites initiative, «The 1776 Unites curriculum offers authentic, motivating stories from American history that show what is best in our national character and what our freedom makes possible even in the most difficult circumstances. The curriculum maintains a special focus on stories that celebrate black excellence, reject victimhood culture, and showcase the millions of Black Americans who have prospered by embracing the founding ideals of America.» 

Three lessons, available for free with registration, are now available to debut the curriculum:

  1. The first lesson focuses on the 10 transcendent «Woodson Principles» developed by Bob Woodson over his nearly forty years of work with grassroots groups, transforming struggling neighborhoods and empowering the residents within them.

  2. The second lesson features the extraordinary life of Biddy Mason, an African-American woman who was born enslaved, but ultimately died as a multi-millionaire who became a prominent philanthropist and landowner.

  3. The third lesson features Elijah McCoy, born to fugitive slaves but ultimately became a Mechanical Engineer who secured nearly sixty patents. Mr. McCoy was inducted into the U.S. National Inventors Hall of Fame, and designed products that were so superior that train engineers demanded oiler systems that were to become known as the ‘The Real McCoy.’

While the lessons of Mason and McCoy look «back» on African-American history, some of the future lessons, similar to the Woodson Principles lesson, will engender discussion of «future» decisions adolescents and teenagers make as they enter young adulthood, such as choices around education, full-time work, marriage and children, which can help them avoid poverty and achieve economic success.

Additional lessons will be added on a monthly basis, featuring engaging stories from the past as well as lessons on how students can have agency over their lives. An upcoming lesson topic focuses on the Rosenwald Schools, the network of more than 5,000 schools founded by Booker T. Washington of the Tuskegee Institute and Julius Rosenwald, philanthropist and president of Sears Roebuck, built to advance black education in the early 20th century. Another upcoming topic is the Golden 13, a group of African-American servicemen who demonstrated perseverance and excellence in the process of becoming naval officers. Another lesson will demonstrate how building strong families can increase the net worth of a typical household and close the racial wealth gap by increasing the intergenerational transfer of advantage.  

These lessons have been created in consultation with experienced educators and instructional experts from FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education

Albert Paulsson, High School Social Studies Teacher, New Jersey

«The 1776 Unites curriculum teaches that resilience in the face of opposition defines Black America in particular, and that there is a rich history of Black Americans who rose above the harshest of circumstances by embracing their own personal agency and living out the true founding values of our country. These stories continue to unfold all around us today.»  

Due to the pandemic, and parents being thrust into teaching roles, 1776 Unites curriculum also can be used to supplement their children’s regular school work.


1776 Unites is a movement founded by the Woodson Center, which for nearly forty years has worked with 2600 grassroots leaders to revitalize low income neighborhoods through programs that empower people to be agents of their own uplift. 1776 Unites was launched in February 2020 as a nonpartisan and intellectually diverse alliance of independent writers, thinkers, and activists focused on solutions to our country’s greatest challenges in education, culture, and upward mobility.

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