History Classes Should be Spaces of Empowerment instead of a Politicized Battlefield

On January 8, 1811, the largest slave insurrection in the history of the United States unfolded. I showed my students a piece of art depicting this when I taught what is now known as the 1811 German Coast Uprising. Despite it happening just outside New Orleans, where I teach, many students were unaware of thisContinue reading “History Classes Should be Spaces of Empowerment instead of a Politicized Battlefield”

The Urgent Need for Student-Affirming Classes Amid the Education Crisis

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) recently released its annual “Nation’s Report Card,” a congressionally mandated report detailing the nation’s educational progress. The results were dire. Most U.S. states saw disturbing setbacks in math and reading across all demographics. In particular, reading scores declined in most states, with no states showing any considerable improvement.Continue reading “The Urgent Need for Student-Affirming Classes Amid the Education Crisis”

Teaching about Contemporary Controversies in High Schools and in University Teacher Education Programs

The AAUP Journal of Academic Freedom published research collectively conducted and written by Alan Singer, Chris Dier, Pablo Muriel, Adeola Tella Williams, and Cynthia Vitere. Abstract Because secondary school teachers face intense scrutiny and censorship, either self-censorship or official restrictions, in their teaching about contemporary controversies, preparing preservice teachers and supporting in-service teachers has becomeContinue reading “Teaching about Contemporary Controversies in High Schools and in University Teacher Education Programs”

Educators Have a Moral Obligation to Confront White Supremacy

Building Empathy With Students Isn’t Just One More Thing to Do In one of my Advanced Placement classes in 2018, a freshman raised his hand to ask about the declining birthrates of white people in the United States. This occurred during a discussion about the demographic-transition model, which contributes to understanding and predicting demographic shiftsContinue reading “Educators Have a Moral Obligation to Confront White Supremacy”

Deconstructing the “Great Replacement Theory”

White supremacists who commit these terrorist acts like the recent Buffalo massacre collectively believe in the “great replacement theory” (GRT) — a conspiracy that Jews & elites are replacing white people with non-Europeans. This myth is based on a distortion of statistics, pseudohistory, and white supremacism. Declining birth rates for whites and immigration fears areContinue reading “Deconstructing the “Great Replacement Theory””

My Students Hosted a Walkout to Protest Transphobic Legislation; I Proudly Joined Them

Last Friday, I highlighted the activism of high school students in a lesson on the early civil rights movement. In 1951, 450 Black students at Moton High School in Virginia hosted walkouts to protest inequitable conditions stemming from school segregation. The NAACP attached their cause with existing cases to challenge school segregation, resulting in theContinue reading “My Students Hosted a Walkout to Protest Transphobic Legislation; I Proudly Joined Them”

My Students Still Have Questions About the Capitol Riot. They Deserve Honest Answers

Jan. 6, 2021, is a modern lesson plan for the history left out of textbooks On Jan. 6, 2021, I was teaching a class when I received a news alert notifying me that Vice President Mike Pence was evacuated from the U.S. Capitol because of an attack on the building. As a history teacher, IContinue reading “My Students Still Have Questions About the Capitol Riot. They Deserve Honest Answers”

Louisiana Bill Criminalizes Teaching Authentic History

Representative Ray Garofalo, the head of Louisiana’s House Education Committee, recently introduced House Bill 564 to address “training with respect to certain concepts related to race and sex in elementary and secondary schools and postsecondary education institutions.” The bill defines “training” as “the teaching and education of a student or employee by means of lecturing or textbooks,Continue reading “Louisiana Bill Criminalizes Teaching Authentic History”

What I’ll Say to My History Class If There’s No Clear Winner on Election Night

Waking up to teach the day after the presidential election of 2016 was one of the most surreal moments of my more than decade-long teaching career. The demographics of the high school where I was teaching four years ago were roughly 50 percent white and 50 percent Black, Indigenous, and students of color. That morning,Continue reading “What I’ll Say to My History Class If There’s No Clear Winner on Election Night”

What President Trump Gets Wrong About ‘Patriotic Education’

Throughout his presidency, Trump has accused teachers, especially history teachers, as “indoctrinating” students to “hate America.” I joined four other state teachers of the year,* who all teach history, to set the record straight about what transpires in our classrooms. In a somber back-to-school season gripped by the pandemic, President Donald Trump late last monthContinue reading “What President Trump Gets Wrong About ‘Patriotic Education’”

Our Students Deserve Spaces Not Named After White Supremacists

On June 5 of 2020, a few friends and I attended a Black Lives Matter rally right outside of Jackson Square, in the heart of New Orleans’ French Quarter. We were fortunate to rendezvous with some of my former students. At the rally, protesters silently sat along the Mississippi River to reflect on the recentContinue reading “Our Students Deserve Spaces Not Named After White Supremacists”

The Legend of Jean Saint Malo

June 19th was a day of remembrance in Louisiana, specifically in my home community of St. Bernard Parish, almost a century before Juneteenth. It was a day where people celebrated the life of Jean San Malo and what he came to symbolize – freedom and resistance.  In the late eighteenth century in Spanish Louisiana, JeanContinue reading “The Legend of Jean Saint Malo”

Bella Ciao, Class of 2020

There are quite a few speeches and letters circulating around the internet for the Class of 2020, understandably so. However, this particular one by Lina Abdellatif, a Chalmette High student, hits home and is more important than ever. Lina was one of the Valedictorians at Chalmette High, named Student of the Year, and a PosseContinue reading “Bella Ciao, Class of 2020”


投稿日2020年3月16日 クリス・ダイアー 高校を卒業する君たちへ 金曜日午後、学校終了のベルが鳴り終わった後、高校3年生数人が、私の教室に入ってきました。みんな、プロムパーティー(アメリカの高校の社交行事のダンスパーティ)や卒業旅行のことを心配していました。生徒の話を聞いているうちに、教師として胸が張り裂けそうになりました。今、これから卒業を迎えようとしている君たちも、これを読んできっと同じように心配していることでしょう。

Una carta abierta a los estudiantes de último año de secundaria

Estimados Seniors de Escuela Secundaria: El viernes por la tarde, algunos estudiantes de último año entraron a mi clase después de que sonó la última campana. Estaban molestos porque su viaje de senior a Disneyworld probablemente será cancelado. Me rompió el corazón de maestro al escuchar. Porque esto es difícil. Se supone que este deberíaContinue reading “Una carta abierta a los estudiantes de último año de secundaria”

An Open Letter to High School Seniors

Dear High School Senior, On Friday afternoon a few seniors came into my classroom after the last bell rang. They were concerned about prom and their senior trip. It broke my teacher heart to listen. As you’re reading this, you most likely have similar concerns. This is supposed to be your year. The year forContinue reading “An Open Letter to High School Seniors”

100 Iconic Photos of New Orleans Through the Ages

I’ve compiled a listicle of my favorite historical photos of New Orleans.  Through its complex history, New Orleans experienced a series of issues: slavery, war, riots, segregation, hurricanes, etc.  I stopped prior to 1980 to keep it as historical as possible.  I kept it at 100 to keep it succinct, but there are many moreContinue reading “100 Iconic Photos of New Orleans Through the Ages”

The History Surrounding New Orleans’ Confederate Memorials

On September 14, 1874, over 5,000 heavily armed members of the White League, a white supremacist paramilitary organization, mobilized to overthrow the Reconstruction government of Louisiana.  Under the guidance of John McEnery, a Democrat upset at his recent loss for governorship, they stormed Canal Street to initiate the coup.  There they clashed with the MetropolitanContinue reading “The History Surrounding New Orleans’ Confederate Memorials”

The Historic Music of Angola Penitentiary

In 1933, famed ethnomusicologist John Lomax and his son Alan Lomax pioneered on an arduous journey to capture the sounds of the American South.  They wanted to find African-American folk songs in its purest form as close to the days of slavery as possible.  Lomax believed prisons provided the best source as its walls createdContinue reading “The Historic Music of Angola Penitentiary”

The Upstairs Lounge Fire: The Largest Massacre of Gay People in U.S. History

On a Sunday afternoon on June 24, 1973, around sixty patrons were drinking at the Upstairs Lounge, a gay bar in New Orleans’ French Quarter.  At 7:56pm, the buzzer that signaled a cab sounded.  The man that opened the steel door was greeted by a hurling Molotov cocktail that quickly engulfed the staircase and spreadContinue reading “The Upstairs Lounge Fire: The Largest Massacre of Gay People in U.S. History”

15 Historic Landmarks New Orleans Lost

A fascinating yet painful look at some of New Orleans’ iconic landmarks that did not endure the test of time.  As Benny Grunch would say, they just “ain’t dere no more.” 1. First Saint Charles Hotel The first Saint Charles Hotel was built in 1835. A traveling Brit called it the “finest piece of architectureContinue reading “15 Historic Landmarks New Orleans Lost”

South Louisiana: The Almost Hippopotamus Capital of the West

As the United States entered the 20th century, increasing population and industrialization led to a nationwide meat shortage.  Moving west to acquire more land for grazing or hunting became a limited option as the frontier closed and buffalos were hunted into near extinction.  In southern Louisiana, newly invasive water hyacinths, similar to water lilies, transportedContinue reading “South Louisiana: The Almost Hippopotamus Capital of the West”

The Infamous Bombing of St. Louis Cathedral

New Orleans’ St. Louis Cathedral faced a myriad of obstacles through its circa 300 years of existence.  It was first built in 1718, the same year the city was founded under French explorer and colonizer Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville.  The Great New Orleans Fire of 1788 scorched the original structure, and a new structureContinue reading “The Infamous Bombing of St. Louis Cathedral”