Breaking Bias: Lessons from the Amistad

The New Jersey State Bar Foundation has created a curriculum and guide, Breaking Bias: Lessons from the Amistad, which looks at African American history through an anti-bias lens and highlights the contributions that African Americans have made to the United States as well as the lessons our country has learned from this history.

The NJSBF’s guide is intended to complement the curriculum of New Jersey’s Amistad Commission, which created a valuable online curriculum and resources in response to New Jersey’s Amistad Legislation. This legislation requires K-12 educators to teach African American history as American history and not just relegate the learning of this history to Black History Month. The Foundation’s curriculum, which aligns with NJ Student Learning Standards, serves as a tool that ties the law to the lessons of the Amistad.

The curriculum was developed for grades 3-12. Four units, plus a half unit covering African Civilizations, have been released online (scroll down to the bottom of the page to access it). Two more units will be released soon. Join us in two workshops as we explore the curriculum and answer these questions:

              1. How can I teach important content about Black history and structural racism?
              2. What are effective methods for teaching this topic?
              3. How can I make sure certain Black voices are heard?
              4. How can I and my students take personal and collective responsibility for standing against racism?

Workshop part one introduces participants to our background unit and units 1 and 2 which cover African civilizations, race as a social construct and chattel slavery both nationally and in New Jersey. Workshop part two introduces units 3, 4, and 5 which cover the reconstruction era, Jim Crow and the great migration, and the dawning of the civil rights movement. Click here for more information.

This program is FREE for educators. In person trainings are from 9am-3pm and offer 5.5 professional development credits. Virtual trainings are 3 hours at various times and offer 3 professional development credits.  Please visit our Events Page to see our current offerings.

All in person trainings max out at 30 participants and virtual trainings at 60 participants. To be put on a wait list for a training, please click here.



If you register for and do not show up at a workshop, we will notify you that you have been placed on our “No Show” list. Should this occur three times, you will be removed from our email list.

We understand that things happen that might prevent you from attending a workshop for which you are registered. You may cancel your registration at any time up to the morning of the training by simply emailing [email protected] or by calling 732-937-7523 in order to prevent being placed on the “No Show” list.

The New Jersey State Bar Foundation is a nonprofit philanthropic and educational organization. Funding is furnished by the IOLTA Fund of the Bar of New Jersey and limited to providing education to the public. Your cooperation in honoring your registration at our free workshops is essential.

We strive to host inclusive, accessible events. To request an accommodation or for inquiries about accessibility please contact Jessica Taube, [email protected] or 732-937-7523.

PLEASE NOTE: Registration links will be released approximately two months prior to training dates. To be the first to learn about upcoming trainings, sign up for our educator email list.

Thank you for your interest in the Breaking Bias: Lessons From the Amistad curriculum from the New Jersey State Bar Foundation. Anyone can gain access to the free curriculum by clicking the image to the right. To receive email notifications about when new units are available and when the workshop covering the second half of the curriculum has been released, please fill out this form to be added to our Amistad email list.

Amistad Curriculum Sign Up
Grade levels you are affiliated with (click all that apply)

Introduction to the Curriculum

The Foundation’s six-unit curriculum specifically focuses on how African Americans have not only been victims but agents of their own change throughout history, how racial oppression has transformed over time in the U.S. and what our responsibilities are, both individually and collectively, to respond to racism. The curriculum looks to answer the following questions (and many more):

  • What is race?
  • What have been the consequences of social constructs about race in our country?
  • How was chattel slavery a national problem that was reinforced in both the North and the South?
  • How did enslaved people and other African Americans resist oppression and bring about positive change?
  • How did resistance and resilience among African Americans bring progress despite the obstacles in their path?
  • In what ways did the Jim Crow era reinvent earlier forms of African American oppression?
  • What rights were African Americans demanding during the civil rights era, and why was there resistance from many white communities to sharing these rights?
  • How does racial bias in media impact real-life policies and practices that affect the lives of African Americans?

For more on diversity and social justice issues, subscribe to Respect, the Foundation’s diversity newsletter or checkout posts on our blog, The Rundown.