Reclaiming Our Humanity: Lessons of the Holocaust for Today

Date: June 12-15, 2019
Location: Jackson, Mississippi

The TOLI-sponsored four-day seminar in Jackson, Mississippi will focus on the exclusionary polices of Nazi Germany and the Jim Crow laws operating during the same time period in the United States. By exploring the seminar’s overarching themes of humanization and dehumanization, teachers will be encouraged to make the kinds of connections they will later invite their students to make. Making these connections in the past can help students better understand the present and the challenges they face when working for a just and humane society. The seminar will include video testimony by Holocaust survivor Irving Roth and then turn to the vibrancy of contemporary Jewish life in Jackson, including a visit to Beth Israel Synagogue. The focus will then turn to Mississippi’s past, with a visit to the Civil Rights Museum in Jackson, where all pathways lead to a central section called “This Little Light of Mine” emphasizing the role of each individual in making a difference. Both historical eras will be examined through the lens of resilience in the face of systemic oppression, providing participants with what TOLI calls “a pedagogy of hope.”


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  • Tracei Willis

    Tracei Willis is a reader, writer, thinker, and facilitator of 9th grade learners in Louisville, MS. She has been teaching her students about the Holocaust since the beginning of her career in 2005, but her entire approach changed dramatically the summer of 2016 when she attended The Olga Lengyel Institute for Holocaust Studies and Human Rights in New York City. Tracei spoke about the change in her teaching methods at the plenary session of the NWP convention in St. Louis in November of 2017.  Tracei also travelled to Austria in March 2018 to attend an international TOLI seminar and study alongside teachers from around the world.

  • Dolyene Davis

    Dolyene Davis is a retired educator with over thirty years of experience on the secondary and university levels.  She has conducted professional development in over fifty school districts in the state and has mentored hundreds of teachers during her career.  She earned a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from the University of Southern Mississippi and an Educational Specialist degree from Mississippi State University.

    Dolyene was the one of the first teachers in the nation to receive National Board Certification in Adolescence/Young Adult Social Studies/History.  Holocaust and Human Rights, Civil Rights, Women Rights and Native American Rights have always been of special interest to her. In retirement Dolyene and her husband, John R., enjoy traveling, volunteering, reading and learning.


For more information about The Olga Lengyel Institute for Holocaust Studies and Human Rights (TOLI), please contact

TOLI is located at 58 East 79th Street in Manhattan. (get directions)