The project was based on a proposal by Hannah-Jones to dedicate an issue of the magazine to a re-examination of the legacy of slavery in America, at the anniversary of the arrival of the first slaves to Virginia. The plan was to challenge the notion that American history began in 1776. The initiative quickly grew into a larger project. The project encompasses multiple issues of the magazine, accompanied by related materials on multiple other publications of the Times as well as a project curriculum developed in collaboration with the Pulitzer Center, for use in schools. The project employed a panel of historians and support from the Smithsonian, for fact-checking, research and development. The project was envisioned with the condition that almost all of the contributions would be from African-American contributors, deeming the perspective of black writers an essential element of the story to be told.
from the NHC Teacher Advisory Council
These resources are favorites of the NHC Education staff and the NHC's Teacher Advisory Council.
Abraham Lincoln and Joshua Speed met in Springfield, Illinois, during the 1830s. Although Speed returned to his native Kentucky, they remained friends throughout life. In this letter, Lincoln expresses his thinking about slavery, which contrasted with Speed, who grew up on a plantation and owned slaves. The year before Lincoln wrote this letter, the Kansas-Nebraska Act passed Congress, repealing the Missouri Compromise of 1820, and opened the territories to slavery. The passage of this bill proved a turning point in Lincoln's career. As he observed, "I was losing interest in politics, when the repeal of the Missouri Compromise aroused me again."
"George Robertson was a Kentucky lawyer and professor who once served as legal counsel for Abraham Lincoln and other Illinois heirs of Robert Todd, Lincoln's father-in-law. During one of Lincoln's absences from Springfield, he dropped off a copy of his speeches and writings on slavery and other topics. In his response to this, Lincoln expresses his pessimism about the prospects of gradual emancipation and the way Americans now regarded liberty. The letter closes with the reference Lincoln would use three years later in his famous "House Divided" speech"
This document is intended to serve as a resource to white people and parents to deepen our anti-racism work. If you haven’t engaged in anti-racism work in the past, start now. Feel free to circulate this document on social media and with your friends, family, and colleagues.
(added to the Staff Picks by the NHC Teacher Advisory Council by Duke Richey, TAC '20)
This was a concluding assignment for our students, and it bookends lessons done at the beginning of the year from the National Archives relating to the Six Big Ideas found in the U.S. Constitution (federalism, republicanism, popular sovereignty, checks and balanaces, separation of powers, and limited government). https://www.archives.gov/legislative/resources/education/constitutionStudents really enjoyed the opportunity to explore things currently in the news and to tie those events to one of our country's founding documents. The discussions held provided students an open space to comment and connect with one another and the six topics we'd harkened back to over the year-long course.
In his influential essay, “The Painter of Modern Life,” the French poet Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867) encapsulates the character of modernity as expressed by writers and artists of the second half of the 19th century. Choosing to focus on the watercolor painter and illustrator Constantin Guys (1802-1892), whom he describes as the “man of the crowd,” and “lover of universal life”—themes also addressed in his iconic prose poems—Baudelaire praises the artist’s ability to capture the fugitive and transitive nature of the present moment in his brilliant, caricatural sketches. Most importantly, Baudelaire’s essay paves the way for artists such as Manet and the Impressionists, who would redefine forever the notion of what constitutes “beauty," as they no longer look to antiquity for inspiration, but focus on subjects such as street scenes with prostitutes, and the shifting social and physical landscape of Paris. Just as the individual both loses and gains his identity as he merges with the crowd in Baudelaire’s prose poems, the artist is compared to a “mirror as vast as the crowd itself… a kaleidoscope gifted with consciousness, responding to each one of its movements and reproducing the multiplicity of life… an ‘I’ with an insatiable appetite for the ‘non-I,’ at every instant rendering and explaining [life] in pictures more living than life itself” (Charles Baudelaire, “The Painter of Modern Life,” in The Painter of Modern Life and Other Essays, trans. Jonathan Mayne [London: Phaidon, 1964], 9).
As we learn about the history of the Cherokee people, we should not overlook what is a thriving culture represented in the many ways it is preserved. This Curiosity Corner recognizes this diverse group through their extraordinary contributions in the art of pottery.
(added to the Staff Picks by the NHC Teacher Advisory Council by Amanda Smith, TAC '20)
With a Library of Congress grant, the Inquiry in the Upper Midwest produced several videos of students of different ages engaging with primary sources in ways the demonstrate culturally relevant pedagogy. The webpage includes links to further information and resources.
This lesson plan explores African American attitudes toward the justice system in the 1920s as expressed in blues music during the time period. Many US history classes examine the period of deteriorating race relations in the early part part of the 20th Century as well as the activism of people like Ida B. Wells, Booker T. Washington, WEB DuBois, and Marcus Garvey. Blues music is an excellent source for understanding African American attitudes because during this time period it was music largely written by and for African Americans, unlike jazz music which had become popular music by the end of the 1920s. In this lesson, students explore a variety of songs about the justice system and then write a DBQ about African American perspectives of the justice system as expressed in blues music from the 1920s. Then students examine the marketing of the this music and make a 1920s advertisement for one of the songs they used in their essay.
This is a lesson I wrote for the National Women's History Museum on Marsha P. Johnson, grassroots activism, and the Stonewall Riots.
The concept of intersectionality, in its widespread use across global academia, is rightfully under criticism if employed within a predominantly white, bourgeois space to govern the integration of a supposed ‘other’ into a pre-existent, biased system. This paper ponders whether intersectional approaches can be a helpful tool to engage, both on a structural and a practical level, with the challenges of diversity in New Music.
I selected it because of the impact it had on me. I find it to be an interesting prompt that defines the issues of diversity and intersectionality—simultaneously asking readers to think deeper about their position, safely within the articles own intersectional tone. The reading is helpful in structuring conversations that can help students, educators and institutions identify where and how to make changes in their communities. Especially as it states to reframe the conversations to New Music as a diverse ecology vs diversity in New Music. (The term "New Music” can be interchangeable with any domain. My school, my community, etc…)
Historically Thinking is a podcast about historical knowledge and how we achieve it. Each conversation explores an aspect of the most fundamental historical question that I think there is: “what’s the real story (or stories) here, and how can I know it?” It so happens–and this is no accident–that this is also one of the most essential human questions.
In this episode Lendol Calder talks about uncoverage, a term he coined some years ago to describe how he thinks history survey courses ought to be taught. Zambone and Calder discuss how surveys are usually taught, and why history teachers should consider another approach.Calder describes how his finest moment as a lecturer led him to stop lecturing; discusses his new approach to introductory history courses; and argues that how he teaches now conforms more closely to how historians actually study history.
History’s Mysteries offers a a K-5 social studies curriculum based on inquiry and the use of primary sources. The content explores topics not normally explored in typical elementary social studies classes. Inquiry models are available for all grade levels and focus on the study of primary sources. Each inquiry is includes editable Google slide presentations and student handouts that are ready to use. There is a also a professional development module for teachers who would like to design their own inquiry modules. This is a wonderful resource designed to introduce young learners to how historians conduct research and the importance of what they do.
Every year I change this series of lessons slightly, so please feel free to do the same. Originally this was a unit for the begining of the 8th grade school year. It was designed to help students recall issues which led to the Civil War, while helping them consider what freedom might have meant to individuals in the period of Reconstruction. In addition to learning content, this lesson works on skills of the Common Core such as close reading and using text dependent evidence. Ultimately, a teacher could use these resources for writing an argument essay. I found many of these resources at the National Humanities Center website at http://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/pds/maai2/freedom/freedom.htm. The NHC has obtained persmision to use these resources at their site.
This exercise involves a two part activity introducing students to the medieval bestiary, and introducing some initial analytical questions through a close look at one entry. Students will get a sense of what the genre entails through their initial raw impressions and analysis of the text and image. This activity is intended to transition into the historical context of the artifact in a more interactive way.
This lesson introduces students to the Manden Charter, an oral history of regulations and laws in medieval West Africa. It asks students to compare the Charter with other similar sources from the middle ages, to analyze the differences between textual and oral traditions, and to asses the Charter's place in the medieval legal tradition by assembling a creative group project.
This lesson will focus on the history of racial inequality and current practice of racial bias, mostly focusing inward on what individuals can do to personally become aware of, reflect on, and work to combat their own implicit bias.
This is a full lesson/activity focused on the history and current state of human rights, including interpretations, violations, and protections. Overall, students enage with the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights by choosing one specific right, personifying that right as a "superhero," researching where the right has been, or is currently being violated, and finally developing a presentation using any type of medium where the student's hero saves the day.
In this lesson, students will explore descriptions of points along the Silk Road and connect them with representations of non-European textiles and architecture found in European art. Taking the travel narratives of Marco Polo as foundational texts, this lesson asks students to identify statements of value associated with various trade goods discussed in the travel narrative and to consider what preconceptions Marco Polo seems to have brought to his encounters with various peoples. The lesson consists of a short introductory discussion to set historical bearings, a group conversation and close reading of one section of The Travels of Marco Polo, and small group analysis of another extract from Marco Polo followed by a brief concluding discussion.
During the Civil War, the Lincolns chose to move their family from the White House to a cottage on a hilltop overlooking the city. They made this move three summers in a row, in the midst of a war that threatened the country they held so dear. It would be tempting to think of the Cottage as a pastoral retreat, a refuge from the chaos of war, but the evidence suggests otherwise. The White House may have been the “iron cage,” but life at the Soldiers’ Home brought Lincoln closer to the war and its human cost. Here Lincoln said, “my thoughts — my solicitude for this great country follows me wherever I go.” Lincoln encountered people from all walks of life here and on his commute, gaining new perspectives on freedom, justice, and humility.
This online module includes an animated short film and a series of primary source activities about Lincoln’s daily commute from the Cottage at the Soldier’s Home to the White House, and the people he encountered along the way. The film and online module are made possible courtesy of the White House Historical Association. Please note this module requires Flash Player to run.