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Saplings from Anne Frank's tree take root in US

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 23, 2013 at 1:59 pm •  Published: March 23, 2013
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"We're taking the lead in producing the educational materials that will go along with the tree," Patchen said. "We're producing this unit of study ... that focuses heavily on the humanities and presents the tree through selections of her diary and ... as a symbol of renewal."

Central High School in Little Rock, Ark. plans to plant its sapling in September, on the 56th anniversary of the previously segregated high school's integration. A group of black students called the Little Rock Nine, who braved angry mobs in the fall of 1957 to integrate the school, became a symbol of the civil rights movement.

"Both (Anne Frank and the Little Rock Nine) dealt with hatred from ignorant people," said Nancy Rousseau, the school's principal. "All of them displayed great bravery and courage, which wasn't necessarily seen then or now, also, in adults. They were all children."

Other states that have sites receiving saplings are Massachusetts, Idaho and California.

The Anne Frank Center wants the sapling project to go beyond the initial planting of the trees. The center is launching an education initiative called Confronting Intolerance Today that will encompass a "teaching and discovery" website to create dialogue and show how the sites are using the sapling project to advance tolerance, a distinguished speaker series and temporary exhibits from the center that will show the history of Anne Frank.

"We know that the tree was a sign of hope of Anne Frank who was unable to leave her living quarters," said Yvonne Simons, executive director of The Anne Frank Center USA. "She wrote about it in a diary. For us, the tree portrays a symbolism of hope and growth and renewal."