Miss. making civil rights a school focus

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Mississippi, where violence in the 1960s came to epitomize the struggle for racial equality, could be a pioneer in offering history lessons on civil rights from kindergarten through high school.

A new state law will help school districts develop and pay for civil rights curricula. Districts, though, will not be required to implement such courses.

Susan Glisson, executive director of the Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation at the University of Mississippi, spearheaded the bill. She said it was modeled after those in several states, including Mississippi, that required the Holocaust to be taught in public schools.

Glisson said the institute did not know of any other state with a similar program devoted solely to civil rights history.

Currently, textbooks in the state make reference to the civil rights movement, but districts usually don't devote an entire course to it.

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