Jane Elliott

"Blue Eyed Workshop"

Year of Birth

1933

Nationality

US

Field of Knowledge

Activist

Jane Elliott (née Jennison; born November 30, 1933) is an American diversity educator. As a schoolteacher, she became known for her “Blue eyes/Brown eyes” exercise. She first conducted her famous exercise for her class on April 5, 1968, the day after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. When her local newspaper published compositions that the children had written about the experience, the reactions (both positive and negative) formed the basis for her career as a public speaker against discrimination.
Elliott’s classroom exercise was filmed the third time she held it with her third-graders in 1970, becoming the documentary The Eye of the Storm. This in turn inspired a retrospective that reunited the 1970 class members with their teacher fifteen years later in “A Class Divided”, an episode of the PBS series Frontline. After leaving her school, Elliott became a full-time diversity educator. She still holds the exercise and gives lectures about its effects all over the U.S. as well as in several locations overseas. She has conducted the exercise with college students, as seen in the 2001 documentary The Angry Eye.

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