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College of Science & Mathematics

Using Skype, Bill Carrigan shares his research with California high school students

While Rowan University was closed for snow, History professor William Carrigan took his research to California via Skype. On January 27, 2011, Carrigan discussed the history of lynching and mob violence against Mexican Americans with high school students.

Natalia Baldwin, a teacher at Overfelt High School in San Jose, contacted Carrigan after reading his co-authored article, "The Lynching of Persons of Mexican Origin or Descent in the United States, 1848 To 1928." The article examines organized racial violence against Mexican Americans and argues that this significant phenomenon has often been overlooked or forgotten by scholars and the general population.

Overfelt's population comes from a working class, largely immigrant neighborhood. About 80 percent of students receive free or reduced lunch. Neighborhood gangs and crime confront students daily. Many speak English as a second language and have parents who do not speak English. "Though many students struggle to engage in their classes, they're all intelligent with amazing heart," says Baldwin. "They love to puzzle through things and have incredible ideas. This conference increases students' critical thinking and ability to analyze data." Students create questions based on articles, poems and videos they review in class. "Their questions are insightful and as good or better than many of the questions I have received after public lectures," says Carrigan.