Rethinking History’s Heroes: Parkland teacher says heroes are ordinary people doing extraordinary things

Activist-educator Alana Murray’s world studies students are rethinking history’s heroes and how they achieved great things. “If you start with the premise that kids interact everyday with people who are doing pretty extraordinary things, then it gives them a sense of empowerment,” said Murray, a teacher at Parkland Middle School in Aspen Hill. That idea is nothing new to Murray, who comes from a family active in the civil rights movement for generations. Growing up with examples like her paternal grandfather, Donald Gaines Murray, the first African American to attend the University of Maryland School of Law, she says heroes are not born extraordinary, but are ordinary people who learn to do great things as they confront problems. (Download PDF)