Exploring American Sacred Values – A CTI Teachers As Scholars Event: Feb. 21 at the Gantt Center

CTI hosted Exploring American Sacred Values, a special event for the public providing a window into penetrating learning in a CTI seminar for teachers, on Thursday, Feb. 21, at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture, as part of CTI’s Teachers As Scholars series.

The event was based on the 2018 CTI seminar of the same name, led by Kendall Mobley, religion professor at Johnson C. Smith University, with 10 CTI Seminar Fellows (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools teachers). Mobley and the teachers participated in the February event as program speakers and exhibit presenters.

Mobley provided a retrospective of the seminar, focusing on American civil religion as “religion repurposed to infuse the present political order and with sacred significance and authority” and how it shapes current national traditions, symbols and beliefs. Four Fellows also spoke about curricula they developed in the seminar, examining CMS values related to America’s founding fathers, pay-for-play in college sports, forced conformity in early Native American schools, and media influence on social values and the American dream:

  • Recognizing the Wilson Way Values in the American Revolution, Pia Townes, 8th Grade Social Studies, Wilson STEM Academy
  • At What Cost? Native American Children and Boarding Schools of the 19th and 20th Centuries, Tracy Kennedy, 4th/5th Grades, E.E. Waddell Language Academy
  • Harmony at the Key: Conversations on the Court, Deborah Brown, English, Zebulon Vance High School
  • Intersection of African-Americans, Civil Religion and Media Influence, Franchone Bey, English and Film, West Charlotte High School

The presentations were followed by a panel discussion moderated by Angie Chandler, senior manager of program and educational initiatives for the Gantt Center.

All 10 Seminar Fellows also shared curriculum exhibits related to American values that the teachers targeted to address with students. Topics included: how Charlotte’s Excelsior Club nurtured community; segregation, civil rights and legislation; voting as a civic duty; oppression of women; acculturation of English language learners; and what it means to be an American.

“Exploring American Sacred Values” is part of CTI’s “Teachers as Scholars” educational series for the public that highlights collaborative work by professors and teachers in CTI seminars. This Feb. 21 event was supported by a grant from UNC Charlotte’s Chancellor’s Diversity Challenge Fund and Johnson C. Smith University.

CMS classroom teachers can apply to participate in the upcoming 2020 CTI seminars; March 8 is the deadline for applications.

January 2018 WBTV interview with Kendal Mobley