PM Press Blog

It Did Happen Here High School Curriculum

In the It Did Happen Here curriculum for grades 9–12, students connect policies from Oregon’s early decades to racism in the last decades of the twentieth century, including the rise of hate groups in the 1980s. They will study the experiences and actions of the diverse activists who confronted hate groups, how they built coalitions, and the impact of that activism on their lives. The curriculum also invites students to consider how the histories of hate groups — and those who resisted those groups — are relevant today.

Students will analyze primary sources, think about subjects and events from diverse perspectives, and establish and communicate their own ideas.

Essential Question: How did everyday people organize against hate groups in the 1980s? What can we learn from their work? What connections does it have to today?

The murder of Ethiopian immigrant Mulugeta Seraw in 1988 brought into public view the increase in organizing by violent White supremacists at that time. In response, disparate groups came together to organize against White supremacist violence throughout Portland, Oregon, and the Pacific Northwest. Drawing from first-person interviews from the It Did Happen Here podcast and companion book, It Did Happen Here: An Antifascist People’s History, the curriculum examines how community members such as immigrants, civil rights activists, militant youth, and queer organizers confronted right-wing fascists and exposed White supremacist organizations and neo-Nazi skinheads.

This curriculum was created in collaboration with Erin Yanke and Mic Crenshaw of the It Did Happen Herepodcast, the Oregon Historical Society, and Western States Center.