How to Teach an American Inauguration

Since 2008, My College Students Have Been Exploring—in Real Time—What the Transfer of Power Ceremony Reveals About the Nation

“Wouldn’t it be cool to go to D.C. for the inauguration?” I remember telling a fellow adjunct instructor in late 2008. Barack Obama had just been elected, and most of us were filled with joy at the arrival of the nation’s first Black president. A new era of hope in America was beckoning us to take part.

“You can go, you know,” my colleague replied.

“I would have to cancel class.”

“Don’t cancel class. Teach the inauguration with your cell phone. Your students will love it.”

I did, and I’ve never regretted it. …