I remember receiving my first social studies book in third grade. The teacher went on and on about the important people in this book – the people who made America great. So I tore through the book, page after page, looking for the chapter that confirmed my great place in this nation’s story. Chapter after chapter, I found nothing. Until late in the book I found a picture of a black man with a scarred back. The caption beneath the picture simply read ‘The American Negro, Slave.’
Throughout American history there have been defining moments, patriots and heroes. From the revolution to present average citizens have sacrificed and served. These are the stories of America. Yet, the stories we hear are incomplete, a disservice to the true legacy of America.
Hasan brings to light the stories of the people of color who have been present at all points of our great history – average persons, determined patriots and committed heroes. America is at her greatest when all people have stood together to overcome our greatest challenges. From many voices have come the stories of America. Hasan ensures all voices are heard.
Historically, Chautauqua brought entertainment and culture for the whole community, with speakers, teachers, musicians, entertainers, preachers and specialists of the day. US President Theodore Roosevelt was quoted as saying that Chautauqua is "the most American thing in America." Modern Chautauqua retains the critical ingredients of the old Chautauqua – the involvement of the whole community, a featured “lecture” and dialogue.
Hasan’s Chautauqua is a superb example of experiential, interactive learning that is engaging for adults as well as youth. Hasan has connected with groups ranging from corporations, colleges, historical organizations, schools, prisons, to churches to present his Chautauqua in over thirty states.