About Self-Evident Education


If we do not know and understand the history of race in the United States, we cannot fully understand American history and who we are as a country. Self-Evident Education envisions a world where all young people understand and honestly assess the ways that race and racism have been intentionally constructed. Through this education they will be able to accurately analyze the present, and create a future where racism can be intentionally dismantled.


Michael Lawrence-Riddell is an award winning public school educator with twenty years of classroom experience. He has conceived this platform in response to the urgent need for our society to honestly and rigorously engage in work to understand the histories and legacies of race and institutional racism.

Michael was inspired, in part, by his studies as an African-American Studies major at Wesleyan University, his work as a teacher of American History I, and his continued witnessing of the failures of our nation to truly reckon with the racial inequities present in history and our contemporary society. He wanted to teach the history of this nation through a lens of the creation of power and race as a tool of power. He also wanted to communicate to students in the cultural language that they understand: a multimedia lexicon. When, in his professional work, he found these materials did not exist in a high-quality and effective form, he set out to create them.

Big Ideas & Essential Questions

Because the American public does not critically understand the history and legacies of racism, people cannot put contemporary institutional racism (including, but not limited to: mass incarceration, unemployment, wealth inequality, police brutality, access to opportunity) into its proper context.

Many teachers want to engage with the important histories and legacies of systemic racism, but they don't have the experience or resources to know how to do it honestly and rigorously and so they avoid it, which continues to perpetuate a lack of deep understanding of our past.

Countless studies have shown the efficacy of multimedia learning. Of particular interest is multimedia’s ability to build immersive worlds for students to enter, through which they can understand the past.There are not enough engaging, multimedia resources for educators to use to teach the histories and legacies of the creation and weaponization of race.

Big Ideas

  • The tensions and contradictions between the professed ideals and the actual practices of the United States of America.
  • The resistance to oppression and contributions of African Americans in the quest to live out the professed ideals of the United States of America.
  • The creation and deployment of race as a tool of power

Essential Questions

  • Who and what do we memorialize? How? Why? What does that say about who we are and who we want to be?
  • In what ways have there been historical tensions between the ideals of: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and the practices of the American republic?
  • In what ways are there still tensions between the ideals of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” and the practices of the country?
  • How have oppressed groups used the ideals of American Democracy to argue for their own liberation?
  • What does race mean in an American context?
  • In what ways do race and gender intersect and what is happening at those intersections?