The end of May marks the beginning of the Siege of Vicksburg, a campaign against the pivotal port city of Mississippi that would ultimately decide the fate of the war. The Library of Congress houses numerous documents pertinent to teaching the Civil War. Today, they highlight the Vicksburg Daily Citizen’s Final Edition. Printed on the back of wallpaper, the piece highlights the defiant and innovative spirit of Confederates. Vicksburg would fall on July 4, 1863 after the citizens of the town suffered wide spread starvation, disease, and regular shelling from the Union Army.
Today marks the anniversary of the landmark case, Brown vs. Board of Education. On this day in 1954, the Supreme Court ruled that the segregation of races for education under the “separate but equal” clause was unconstitutional. The case would begin the unwinding of separate but equal institutions throughout the country (a process that would take decades). In honor of the 59th anniversary, here are a great list of resources for teaching this topic:
Library of Congress - The Library of Congress highlights Brown v. Board of Education along with a series of other landmark cases, arguments, studies, etc on the issue of Civil Rights in American history. You can explore the LOC online as well as in person.
Ourdocuments.org - Explore high resolution images of the Brown decision as well as other documents related to Civil Rights and the landmark Supreme Court decision.
Separate is Not Equal: Smithsonian Institution - the Smithsonian commemorates the landmark case with an in depth online exhibit that explore segregation in the United States.
National Archives - The National Archives hosts high resolution images of landmark papers, including the Supreme Court deciding and dissenting opinion on the Brown v. Board of Education case.
If you've read any news in the past day, you've seen reports regarding cannibalism in colonial Jamestown. It was known prior that the colonists had undergone a number of starvation years where they were forced to eat foods that they wouldn't normally. The trash pits from the sites hold the remains of animals who aren't normally butchered, including horses, cats, dogs, rats and snakes.
If you teach Social Studies or History and want to incorporate more technology into your curriculum, check out “Teaching History with Technology.” The site includes many free and paid resources. Every week, they highlight a tool in their “New Resource of the Week” section. It contains a variety of lesson plans on various subjects, US and World History, AP Subjects, Geography, and more. They even provide ways for educators to expand on a favorite of multimedia incorporation: the PowerPoint presentation in their “Presentations and Multimedia” section. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Visit “Teaching History with Technology” to explore further.
This quarter’s Gilder Lehrman’s “History Now” series features the historical role of first ladies in American politics. The issue, “First Ladies’ Contributions to Political Issues and the National Welfare” highlights the roles of the President’s spouse from Martha Washington all the way to Betty Ford. It explores their personalities, political temperament, social role, and even controversial status.
In addition to these fascinating articles, they include two lesson plans that help educators present the material in alliance with the common core as well as an interactive map of their birth places. Gilder Lehrman provides a plethora of resources for teachers of American History.
If you are looking for some good brief videos to supplement your course content, check out Crash Courses’ videos on US History, World History, Chemistry, Biology, Ecology, and Literature. The videos are usually only 11-13 minutes in length, have great imagery, and provide accurate information in a thoughtful way. While it won’t replace a week’s worth of lesson plans, it is a great supplement to course content. Check out their YouTube Channel and follow them on twitter.
In honor of Black History Month, the Library of Congress is hosting the electronic exhibit “African American Odyssey: A Quest for Full Citizenship.” The exhibit displays more than 240 artifacts, including documents, images, videos, and more.
The exhibit “explores black America’s quest for equality from the early national period through the twentieth century.”
This is a rich, multimedia exploration into the experience of African Americans in this country for over 200 years.
During 1920′s Prohibition, Chicago was embroiled in more gang-related gun violence than is found on the streets even today. One fateful Valentine’s Day in 1929 saw Al Capone‘s outfit wipe out their rival Southside Irish Gang led by Bugs Moran.
Al Capone’s men, disguised as Chicago Police officers, “arrested” members of Bugs’ outfit in what initially appeared to be a standard “shake down.” Seven men were lined up along the wall of an abandoned warehouse and summarily executed.
The gruesome brutality of the St. Valentine’s Day massacre marked the end of Capone’s days in Chicago. Citizens, outraged at the prevalence of violence and police corruption, demanded that the government take action against organized crime. While Capone would never be held accountability for any of his violent criminal activity or boos smuggling, he was ultimately indicted and convicted of income tax evasion.
See more in the story from the Chicago Tribune.
Today is the 204th birthday of President Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln is one of America’s most celebrated Presidents, having served during the Union’s darkest time – the Civil War. His problematic tenure in office saw the United States nearly torn apart, the abolition of slavery, and the beginnings of our reunification. His assassination at Ford’s Theatre in April 1865 ensured he would not live to see the survival of his beloved country.
February is Black History Month – a time when Americans focus on the history, achievements, and contributions that African Americans have made. While it is not the only cultural heritage or focused history month, it is the oldest and often viewed as the most controversial. Black History month has been a unique and growing entity among not only American cultural history, but throughout the world (Canada and the UK most markedly).
In the United States, historian Carter Woodson (often called the “Father of Black History”) and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History proposed that the second week of February be recognized as “Negro History Week.” The date was chosen due to its proximity to the birthdates of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas. He wanted Americans to focus on an celebrate the achievements of Black Americans with the ultimate goal of it being weeded out as Black History became a part of the American Historical curriculum:
“If a race has no history, if it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated.” — Carter Woodson
“What we need is not a history of selected races or nations, but the history of the world void of national bias, race hate, and religious prejudice.” — Carter Woodson
The celebration of Black History week was hugely popular and spurred several Black History Clubs, interest from educators, and grew in importance with the Civil Rights movement. In 1976, the Federal Government recognized the expansion of Black History Week to Black History Month. In 1987, Black History month was celebrated for the first time in the United Kingdom. In 1995, Canada’s government officially recognized Black history month in Canadian curriculum.