About mrwhitten

I am a history teacher at Burlington High School in Burlington MA, and this blog is for my US-China Relations course that mostly seniors take.

Michael Milton presents at NCSS

On November 21, Michael Milton, of the BHS Social Studies Department, presented with Dan Krutka at the National Council for the Social Studies Conference in Boston. They presented an activity that Mr. Milton does with his World History classes, merging the Enlightenment thinkers with Twitter.
Conference attendees were taken through the activity in groups where they assumed the roles of Voltaire, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau and Wollstonecraft and then responded to the USA Patriot Act.

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Nelson Mandela

from the Boston Globe, Coverage of Nelson Mandela's visit to Boston, http://www.bostonglobe.com/2013/07/17/nelson-mandela-visit-boston/sXVhfsd1JX1zxUzjFeInXK/story.html

from the Boston Globe, Coverage of Nelson Mandela’s visit to Boston in 1990, http://www.bostonglobe.com/2013/07/17/nelson-mandela-visit-boston/sXVhfsd1JX1zxUzjFeInXK/story.html

Nelson Mandela died in his home in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Thursday at the age of 95.

Nelson Mandela became a figure of global importance for his role in the ending of the racist system of Apartheid that had been imposed in South Africa.  Mandela was a member of the African National Congress, which was a body that he described as dedicated to the “overthrow of white supremacy and the establishment of a truly democratic form of government.”  For his efforts, he was arrested multiple times before being tried for treason and sentenced to life imprisonment in 1964. He concluded his defense with this statement: “I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”  After his imprisonment, he became a rallying point for those working to change the government, but that change was a long time in coming.

Nelson Mandela was released from prison on February 11, 1990, at the same time that democracy movements had sprung up around the globe and the Cold War was ending, and he emerged as a leading figure in the effort to dismantle Apartheid.  Working with South African President F.W. De Klerk, they successfully did just that, subsequently electing Mandela as the new leader of the country and earning both men the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.

Though Mandela’s personal and political struggle was long, and by his own admission he was in no way a perfect man, he became known for his forgiveness of those who had so brutally oppressed him, and his public ability to forgive even those who were his jailers served as an inspiration for South Africa as it attempted to reconcile its own history, and for the world as it continues to struggle with oppression in its many forms.

Here at Burlington High School, we wish to acknowledge the struggle that Mandela led, the victories he achieved, and the leadership he showed. Though he himself remarked “I am no angel,” he did make the world a better place through his actions and his determination. South Africa has “lost its greatest son,” as current South African President Jacob Zuma said on Thursday, and the world has lost an individual who, for a while, transcended not only the petty boundaries humans create to separate themselves, but the bounds of history itself.

May we know more like him in the years to come.

Parent Teacher conferences

Several teachers in the department offer on-line sign ups for Parent Teacher Conferences. Click on the teacher’s names below to visit their sign up sheets/blogs for more information. Teachers will be added as their sign up forms become available, so if your child’s teacher is not here, check back!

Todd Whitten (please fill out the requested information on the spreadsheet)

Stephanie Fishel

Michael Milton

Todd Saxon

Options for the future

No promises are implied here, but in the future, which AP courses would you like to see the BHS Social Studies Department offer?

A new blog in the department

We’ve got a new blog in the family! http://modernamericabhs.wordpress.com is the blog for the senior elective Modern America. It is open to students to post their reactions, thoughts, and extra materials as they go through the course exploring the popular culture of America from the 60’s through now. Feel free to let them know what you think by sharing your memories, commentary, and favorites from the past!