School Programs

Created Equal: Image, Sound, and Story Grade 8

Lynda Shenkman

Created Equal: Image, Sound, and Story is an interdisciplinary curriculum and professional development program which prepares eighth graders to

  • learn the history of a seminal moment in the Civil Rights movement in America.
  • understand the power of people and the media to advance social change.
  • share their own story about racial justice through the creation of multimedia arts projects.

Students are empowered as historians, storytellers, media makers, and social activists as they grow to understand how the past and the present are connected, shaped, and shared.

“By connecting past and current events, students learn about the civil rights fight and realize that it’s still happening. What’s more, they are studying it happening in their community, which makes it even more relatable. They no longer say ‘The civil rights movement was 60 years ago and has nothing to do with me,” - Arlain Boucaud, Teacher, East Flatbush Community Research School, MS 581.

Program Overview

The Created Equal curriculum uses New York filmmaker Stanley Nelson’s documentary Freedom Riders (2010) as a jumping off point for students to make connections between 1960s-era Civil Rights activism and contemporary activism. Students build skills working with primary documents from the 1960s and critically engaging with contemporary media, including #BlackLivesMatter social media content and Janelle Monae and company’s “Hell You Talmbout” protest song.

As students make local connections to civil rights activism in the North, they develop the skills necessary to unpack contemporary civil rights battles around ongoing issues, including fair housing, police violence, segregated schools, and employment discrimination.

“Created Equal is an excellent resource because it works within the students’ medium. They Instagram, they Facebook, they use their phones. It’s them. It’s the age of technology, students enjoy the power of using it, and Created Equal allows them to do so” - Stephanie King, Teacher, East Flatbush Community Research School, MS 581.

The curriculum was developed by the JBFC in partnership with the Brooklyn Historical Society (BHS), and supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Building on the media arts pedagogy as exemplified by the JBFC's Image, Sound, and Story curriculum, Created Equal: Image, Sound, and Story provides in-depth interaction with leading scholars, hands-on training in the project's digital curriculum, and classroom support as teachers implement the lesson plans with students.


Now in its fourth year, participants include middle schools in Brooklyn and Mt. Vernon. Please click "Request Info" below to learn more and sign up for our Schools & Teachers e-bulletin. Professional development for the 2018-2019 school year is offered Feb. 5 and 15. More info here.