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Introduction || Timelines || Primary Sources || Featured Organizations || Featured Teachers || Sample Lessons || Research Questions and Biographical Notes || Curriculum Resources || Website Links || Curriculum Frameworks


Antonio T. Benson

Cynthia Webb

Elaine Cawley Weintraub

Barbara White

These four exemplary teachers served on the Advisory Committee for this project and assisted in the evaluation of the timelines and primary sources for appropriateness to grade level and curriculum. In addition to submitting ideas and questions during the research phase, they were asked to develop lessons related to the project’s curriculum model prepared for the website. Some of these lessons specifically relate to the timeline and primary sources, while others are related to the larger picture of slavery and abolition. To learn more about these teachers, click on the names above, then turn to the next section to view their lessons. The MSP welcomes contributions from other teachers who want to share their lessons and ideas on African Americans in Massachusetts.

Antonio T. Benson

Antonio Benson has been teaching in the Boston Public Schools for the past fifteen years at every level from elementary up to senior high school, and pre-school before that time. For the last five years he has been active as a history teacher at Community Academy in Roxbury, an alternative program for at-risk students in grades 8-12. Here he teaches American History, World History and the Black Experience, and he finds that all three are related and can be taught together. He thrives on this program that is more innovative than the regular classroom, where he can work with a special group of kids in a non&endash;traditional setting. In his exploration of slavery and desegregation as part of the course on the Black Experience, his students study Africa, the Caribbean and the United States. In Antonio ‘s spare time he is a doctoral candidate in the Leadership in Urban Schools program of the University of Mass. Boston Graduate College of Education. At the end of this school year he will become a fellow in the Education Policy Fellowship Program at Northeastern University, a program to improve educational, social and personal development of children and youth.

He works on cultural tours in a travel business on the side, including a recent civil rights tour with high school students to Georgia and Alabama. The photo above is from his passport, which is in use on cultural tours abroad, ranging from Brazil this summer to Africa and Europe in the past. Tony resides in Boston with his wife and family of three boys (22,18, 15) and one girl (5).

The unit Antonio is sharing with this project introduces the topic of West Indies and the Caribbean: Sugar and Slavery. There is new research on the number and activity of slaves in Massachusetts before slavery was ruled unconstitutional, and there is still an important story to be told about the connections of the north to the slave trade through the business of making rum and molasses. Antonio is developing lessons and researching the Massachusetts connection, and he will be adding more resources and suggestions after an institute this summer.

Dr. Elaine Cawley Weintraub

Dr. Cawley Weintraub has been a teacher of history at the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School since 1992. She is the co-founder and research historian for the African American Heritage Trail of Martha's Vineyard. The Heritage Trail is a physical entity consisting of fourteen sites documenting the previously unrecorded history of the African American community of the Vineyard. She is also the president of the African American Heritage Trail history project which is a community based educational program involving research, dissemination and development of the African American Heritage of the island. The history project actively involves her sophomore students who are researchers and presenters in the unfolding story of the history of people of color on Martha's Vineyard. She is a Paul Cuffe fellow, an award granted by the Munson Institute of the Mystic Seaport museum. The fellowship was given in recognition of her original research work into the role of African Americans in the maritime history of New England.

Dr. Cawley Weintraub presented her research at the Race, Ethnicity and Power in Maritime America at the Mystic Seaport Museum in 2000. She has published several articles addressing educational issues, African American history and Irish history. She is the author of theAfrican American Heritage Trail of. Martha's Vineyard. .A frequent presenter at conferences addressing cultural and ethnic issues, Dr. Cawley Weintraub has been recognized by the ADL, the NAACP and was a finalist for the Massachusetts Teacher of the Year program in 2000. She has developed a program of Irish Studies at the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School andleads a group of heterogeneously grouped students to Ireland each year. She has presented her research and oral history work at several sessions of the American Conference on Irish Studies including the conference held in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1995. Dr. Cawley Weintraub has presented several workshops for teachers using the model of the African American Heritage Trail as a program that can be adapted to the varying needs of any community based, as it is, on archival research. She acts as a consultant on culturally sensitive and inclusive education. Elaine Cawley Weintraub received her doctorate in 2000 from the Fielding Institute of Santa Barbara, California.

A lesson plan on School Integration in Boston and Nantucket and notes on using the Martha's Vineyard African American Heritage Trail as a model are included in the section on Sample Lessons.

Cynthia Webb

Cynthia Webb has been a Program Director at Dorchester High School for the past five years. She holds both a Master of Education and a Master of Management from Lesley College. Several of her responsibilities include supervising the Academy of Public Service, the Entrepreneur Business Academy, the Engineering Technology Academy, and the Social Studies Department. Her lesson suggestions focus on 19th century education for African American children in Massachusetts.

Barbara White

Barbara White has been teaching in the Nantucket Public Schools for 29 years. She is currently teaching eighth grade U.S. History. She holds a M.A. from Boston University in African-American Studies, as well as an M.A. in Educational Administration from the University of Lancaster in England. She was the recipient of a Rockefeller Foundation Scholarship in 1978 which funded her research in African-American history on Nantucket. Her work on the integration of the Nantucket Public Schools in the 19th century was published by Boston University Press. WGBH in Boston later based a documentary, "Rock of Changes" on her work.

Mrs. White and her family spent the 1996-97 school year in Cairo, Egypt, where she was academic head of an international school. Mrs. White and her husband, Mark White, also a teacher, collaborated on a project funded by the Eleanor Roosevelt Institute, contributing chapters to a book published by Greenhaven Press, War or Peace in the Twentieth Century. In 1982 Mrs. White was one of ten recipients of an award from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for "outstanding work in the field of stereotyping and combating discrimination for Chapter 622, Title IX". This was based on her role as Affirmative Action Officer for the Nantucket School system from 1979-1983.

Mrs. White has been an active member of the school community. She and her husband co-founded the first Peer Counseling program for a public school in Massachusetts. She has been a long-standing member of the Friends of the African Meeting House on Nantucket, a group dedicated to the restoration of the African Meeting House. At present, she is the group's secretary.

The lessons she developed on Desegregation in Nantucket for this project reflect her tireless work over many years to increase awareness of the African American contribution to Nantucket's history and to promote cultural understanding.


© Massachusetts Studies Project 1997 - 2002