Skip to Content

NEA honors Bay area high school teacher Jeffrey Steinberg for bringing history to life

WASHINGTON - June 23, 2011 -

Jeffrey Steinberg, a high school history teacher from the San Francisco Bay area, will be honored by the National Education Association (NEA) for his work to keep the work of the civil rights movement alive for today’s students.  Steinberg will be honored during NEA’s annual Human and Civil Rights Awards dinner in Chicago on Friday, July 1, 2011 with the Carter G. Woodson Memorial Award.  The award is presented jointly by NEA and the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History.

“If history forgotten is history repeated, then we all owe a debt of gratitude to Jeff Steinberg,” said Dennis Van Roekel, NEA president. “Jeff has created a meaningful way to provide students with a true sense of the lives and actions of heroic individuals from the fight for civil rights who brought about changes that still affect the lives and liberties of all Americans.”

Steinberg created Sojourn to the Past as a curriculum intended to move students beyond stock images and slogans to a more meaningful understanding of the civil rights movement and the people who created it.

Sojourn moved from the classroom to a ten-day pilgrimage to the South for high school juniors and seniors in 1999. As part of their Sojourn, students visit civil rights landmarks in Atlanta, Birmingham, Montgomery, Selma, Little Rock, and Memphis. The rigorous Sojourn curriculum combines research and discussions with individuals who took part in the civil rights movement.

Since its inception, Steinberg has led more than 5,400 students on a total of 55 expeditions. The journeys are preceded by presentations he makes about the Civil Rights Movement to school-wide assemblies that reach more than 40,000 students a year. In July 2010, Congress unanimously voted to recognize Sojourn to the Past as the longest running civil rights/social justice education program for young people in the United States.

Carter G. Woodson Memorial Award is named for the founder of the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History. Woodson published books and journals about Black History, and initiated what is now Black History Month. He is known as the father of Black history.

For more information, visit:
Follow us on twitter at

# # #

The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional organization, representing 3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Dana Dossett  (202) 822-7823,