White Gold: Sugar, Slavery, and You

In this program, we will gain a broad understanding of the development of sugar slavery throughout the colonial period. We will explore the creation of the sugar mill slave plantation complex from its beginnings in Brazil, into the Caribbean, and eventually the American South. We’ll use these places as case studies to understand the way sugar changed the world more than any one government intended.

The program then takes us through sugar’s historical and current impact on the natural environment. We conclude the course with a widening of scope. We explore sugar consumption as a negative health phenomenon, research the path of several other foods (chocolate, coffee, shrimp) to our tables, and build an awareness of how our food choices impact other human beings and the natural environment around the globe.

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Course Format and Information

Educator Cohort
July 13-July 24

Student Cohorts
• July 13-July 24
• August 3-August 14

For all cohorts, synchronous meetings take place over Zoom on:
Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays
1pm to 4pm (ET)

• Mapping the geographic influence of sugar (in historical perspective)
• Virtual Tour of a Sugar Mill Slave Plantation in Cuba
• Round Table with Cuban Historian in Trinidad Cuba
• Debrief: Generation Questions and Implications
• Homework: Interviewing family members.

• Understanding the development of Slave Plantation Sugar Mills
• Mini Research Intensive in Small Groups: Enslaved People in the Caribbean
• Video Interview with AfroCuban Scholar
Discussion Group and Sharing

• Cuban Hardwood Forests, Before and After
• Off to Brazil — The Atlantic Forest Before and After
• Round Table Discussion with Brazilian Environmental Activist Analice Souza
• Extending our knowledge of Sugar in South America
• Homework: Mapping our Family’s Sugar intake over 18 hours.

• Sharing our Sugar Consumption Charts
• Mini Research Intensive #2: Food of your Choice
• Collective Food Mapping — Implication in Big Food
• Discussion: The Impact of globalization of food production and consumption

• Sugar as a Health Phenomenon: Food Equity, Food Deserts
• Round Table with Food Justice and Equity Expert
• Mini Research Intensive #3: Organizational Research in Your Community
• Creating Artifacts of our Learning

• Overview of the Certified Fair Trade Movement
• Promises and Pitfalls of Conscious Consumerism
• Final Commitments Creation
• Final Discussion and Celebrations
• Closing

Program Kit

Students who participate in this program will receive a Program Kit in the mail containing materials for the course, including but not limited to:
• Sugar Snacks from program countries
• Fair Trade Chocolate
• Relevant reading materials
• Create &Design Supplies
• Moleskin + pen
• Headset and more!


In US Dollars

Total for the program


Includes access to all virtual sessions, program kit, and educational materials.

Frequently Asked Questions

When will this program take place?

For educators, this program will run from July 13th – July 24th, separate from the student cohorts.

For students, this program will run from July 13th – July 24th and August 3rd – August 14th.

For all cohorts, sessions will be held on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM EST.

What platform will we use for the sessions?

Sessions will be held on Zoom. Participants will also use Canvas to interact with media and content during the synchronous sessions and for the very short asynchronous (homework) assignments.

What do I need to participate in this program?

Students need a computer with a camera and microphone/speaker, and an internet connection with ample bandwidth to handle videoconferencing. Headphones are recommended.

How long is this program?

This program is a combined total of 18 hours.

How much does it cost?

$459.00 USD.
This includes access to all virtual sessions, program kit*, and educational materials.

*Program kit will only be shipped to addresses in the US.

What ages is this program designed for?

The curriculum and activities are specifically designed for rising 9th – 12th graders.

Can I access the sessions after they have been held?

Sessions will be recorded and available to participants during the course of the program only.

When is the registration deadline for this program?

For the Educator Cohort, educators must register by July 5th to receive a program kit, and by July 10th to participate without a program kit. The price is the same for both scenarios due to shipping feasibility.

For Student Cohort 1, students must register by July 5th, 2020, at 11:59 PM EST.
For Student Cohort 2, students must register by July 26th, 2020, at 11:59 PM EST.

If you are interested in registering after the deadline has passed, please contact us.

What work do I need to do OUTSIDE of the synchronous moments?

In order to take full advantage of the experiential education potential of a program like this, we’ll be asking you to go out into the world and complete some tasks and activities. These will range from talking to family members, doing short bouts of online research, or exploring your backyard in some cases. If you cannot complete an assignment for any reason, check with your Beyond Travel Program Leader.

What if I need to cancel?

All program fees are non-refundable. Please note that all programs are contingent on reaching a minimum number of participants. If this number is not reached, then you may shift your registration to another cohort, or receive a full refund. You will be notified if a program is not filled 7 days before the program start date.

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