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.
Smithsonian Institution Brown v. Board of Education
The Library of Congress offers a variety of classroom materials as well as professional development to help teachers use their free materials effectively in their classroom. You can even organize and search material based on Common Core or State requirements. The Library of Congress contains a repository of primary resources in a variety of media (texts, images, audio, video, etc). Their professional development includes funded trips to the library to work at your own pace, free modules. Be sure to check out the Library of Congress’s Resources for Teachers.
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.
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.
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.
Black soldiers could not officially join the Union army until the Emancipation Proclamation was issued on January 1, 1863. But, on the ground, they had been fighting and dying from the beginning.
When three escaped slaves arrived at Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia, in May, 1861, Union General Benjamin Butler had to make a choice. Under the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act, he was compelled to return the men into the hands of the slaveowner. But Virginia had just signed the ordinances of secession. Butler determined that he was now operating in a foreign territory and declared the men “contraband of war.”
The online exhibit includes numerous stories, first hand accounts, and images from that fateful event in which four young African-American college students sat at a “white’s only” lunch counter and refused to move, sparking a six month movement that would ultimately pave the way for Civil Rights in the state of North Carolina.
To learn more about the Civil Rights movement in America, to see more images and/or videos, and to access teaching resources, see the online exhibit.