Harvard Case Study: MLK and Voting Rights
by Josie Koehne
On August 20, our Washington County Unit of the LWV of Oregon hosted an evening civics lesson event for adults and students via Zoom, hosted by Sunset High School social studies teacher, Alisa Harvey of Beaverton.
Various state leagues across the country sponsor high school social studies and civics teachers to attend a training by Harvard University’s Paul Whiton Cherington Professor of Business Administration, David Moss, on the Harvard Case Study Method that he developed. The Harvard Civics Project is an initiative formed (1) to bring case method teaching to high schools, and (2) to use this methodology to deepen students' understanding of American democracy.
Alisa Harvey did an excellent job bringing Martin Luther King and the voting Rights Act to life using a case study that the event’s participants read beforehand in order to answer questions during the Zoom meeting. A lively discussion took place around a number of historical factors at work at the time that influenced decision-makers after the civil war up through the passage on the Voting Rights Act in 1965.
The final question posed was what should Martin Luther King, Jr. do at an important decision point about whether or not to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge on a march planned from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama to demand voting rights for African Americans. It was an exciting and engaging way to learn about history. Alisa proved to be an excellent teacher!
LWV Leagues across the country are soliciting and sponsoring civics and social studies teachers to study at Harvard next summer to learn this case study method, and in exchange, they agree to host a case discussion event after they return home. If you would like to submit an application to apply for a Harvard Case Study Method sponsorship, please contact Kathleen Hersh, Chair of the Washington County unit at firstname.lastname@example.org