If We Knew Our History - Zinn Education Project Monthly Column
Presented by the Zinn Education Project
A Collaboration between Rethinking Schools and Teaching for Change

Rethinking Cinco de Mayo
By Sudie Hofmann 

I recently came across a flier in an old backpack of my daughter's: Wanted: Committee Chairs for this Spring's Cinco de Mayo All School Celebration. The flier was replete with cultural props including a sombrero, cactus tree, donkey, taco, maracas, and chili peppers. Seeing this again brought back the moment when, years earlier, my daughter had handed the flier to me, and I'd thought, "Oh, no."

After making some inquiries, I was told the school wanted to celebrate Cinco de Mayo because it was Mexico's Independence Day. However, Cinco de Mayo is actually Battle of Puebla Day, commemorating the defeat of Napoleon III in 1862. Mexico's Independence Day is Sept. 16. I wrote the school and asked if they might consider canceling the event. I was concerned that the stereotypes associated with Chicana/os, such as fast-food items, pi�atas, sombreros, and serapes would be central to the event. Unfortunately, I was correct. Continue reading.

"Rethinking Cinco de Mayo " is the featured article from the
Zinn Education Project series, If We Knew Our History, posted on Huffington Post.
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Related Resources
Teaching Activity. Lesson by Bill Bigelow and student reading by Howard Zinn. Interactive activity introduces students to the history and often untold story of the U.S. Mexico War. Continue reading.
Teaching Activity. By Brian C. Gibbs. A teacher uses the activist history of Theodore Roosevelt High School in East Los Angeles to pose students the question: "What would you be willing to do to create change?"  

Teaching Activity. By Gilda L. Ochoa.
Reflections on teaching students about the 1968 walkouts by Chicano students in California. Continue reading

Teaching Guide. By Bill Bigelow. Lessons for teaching about the history of U.S.-Mexico relations and current border and immigration issues. Published by Rethinking Schools. Continue reading
Book - Non-fiction. By Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy. Pictures by David Diaz.
Book that features the rich diversity of the Latino and Latina experience in the United States. Continue reading.

Film. Directed by Eduardo L�pez & Peter Getzels. Documentary that examines the direct connection between the long history of U.S. intervention in Latin America and the immigration crisis we face today.  

Continue reading

Origins of Mother's Day
May 9, 1858: Mother's Day for Peace
Mother's Day began as a call to action to improve the lives of families through health and peace. To explore the history and purpose of Mother's Day, beyond the textbooks and commercial media, we offer the original proclamation by Julia Ward Howe, a short film called Mother's Day for Peace, an excerpt from an article on the Appalachian origins of Mother's Day, and an excerpt from an article called "The Original Anti-War Mother's Day." Continue reading
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�  2015 The Zinn Education Project, a collaboration of Rethinking Schools and Teaching for Change.  
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The goal of the Zinn Education Project is to introduce students to a more accurate, complex, and engaging understanding of United States history.
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