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The Whole Staircase: Films Celebrating 400 Years of African American History & Culture

A Class Divided  (1985)

A Class DividedSociology professor, Julie Blanco-Davila, selected the PBS/Frontline documentary, A Class Divided, for inclusion in The Whole Staircase Film Series.

A Class Divided is about teacher Jane Elliot's lesson on discrimination and the effects of that lesson. “The day after Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed, a teacher in a small town in Iowa tried a daring classroom experiment. She decided to treat children with blue eyes as superior to children with brown eyes. FRONTLINE explores what those children learned about discrimination and how it still affects them today.” - Frontline

Julie Blanco-Davila received her Master's degree from Texas Tech University and joined the SJR State faculty in 2006. 

Screening Dates and Locations

Screening with Professor Julie Blanco-Davila

June 3, 2019, at 9:00 a.m.

St. Augustine Campus, Room C-116

If you need an interpreter, please contact Dr. Will by May 30, 2019

Film Screening (no presenter)

Date: November 21, 2019

Location: Palatka Campus Library

Time: 5:30 p.m. 

Members of the Race Issues Study Circle will be in attendance. 

All are welcome to this free event!

Film Information: A Class Divided

"After the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., an elementary school teacher in a small Iowa town decided to introduce ideas about racism and discrimination to her all-white class. This classic Frontline episode recounts Jane Elliott’s bold experiment and its provocative approach—awarding special privileges to her blue-eyed students while discriminating against those whose eyes were brown. The program tracks down Mrs. Elliott’s former third-graders to learn what effect those early lessons about ignorance and injustice had on their lives." - distributor's description

Run time: 54 minutes


Licensed through Films on Demand.

Resources for Further Exploration - A Class Divided

Online Resources

An introduction to A Class Divided 

An Unfinished Crusade: An Interview with Jane Elliott

Discrimination: Experimental Evidence from Psychology and Economics by Lisa R. Anderson, Roland G. Fryer, Jr. and Charles A. Holt, prepared for the Handbook on Economics of Discrimination

Books and eBooks at the SJR State Library
Books may be checked out by community patrons as well as SJR State students faculty and staff. If a title is located at another campus, the book may be sent to another campus upon request.

Please note: eBooks are only available to current SJR State students, faculty, and staff with a MySJRstate login.

Celebration • Education • Reflection

H.R.1242/Public Law 115-102, the 400 Years of African American History Commission Act, establishes 2019 as a year of "commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Africans in the English colonies, at Point Comfort, Virginia, in 1619."  The commemoration is intended “to recognize and highlight the resilience and contributions of African-Americans since 1619; to acknowledge the impact that slavery and laws that enforced racial discrimination had on the United States; and to educate the public about the arrival of Africans in the United States; and the contributions of African-Americans to the United States.” In recognition of this commemoration and with the Act serving as a guide, the SJR State Library has organized a year-long series of events that will provide educational experiences and resources to students and the community that celebrate the history and culture of African Americans.

Site created and maintained by Dr. Christina Will. Pages will be added and maintained throughout 2019.
Maintenance will cease at the end of 2019 but this site will remain accessible.

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St. Johns River State College, an equal access institution, prohibits discrimination in its employment, programs, activities, policies and procedures based on race, sex, gender, gender identity, age, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, pregnancy, sexual orientation, marital status, genetic information or veteran status. Questions pertaining to education equity, equal access or equal opportunity should be addressed to the College Title IX Coordinator/Equity Officer: Charles Romer, Room A0173, 5001 St. Johns Avenue, Palatka, FL 32177; (386) 312-4074; Anonymous reporting is available at Inquiries/complaints can be filed with the Title IX Coordinator/Equity Officer online, in person, via mail, via email or with the US Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights, Atlanta Office, 61 Forsyth St. SW Suite 19T10, Atlanta, GA 30303-8927. | St. Johns River State College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate and baccalaureate degrees. Questions about the accreditation of St. Johns River State College may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097, by calling 404-679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website (