Examine the tension experienced by African-Americans as they struggled to establish a vibrant and meaningful identity based on the promises of liberty and equality in the midst of a society that was ambivalent towards them and sought to impose an inferior definition upon them. The primary sources used are drawn from a time of great change that begins after Reconstruction's brief promise of full citizenship and ends with the First World War's Great Migration, when many African-Americans sought greater freedoms and opportunities by leaving the South for booming industrial cities elsewhere in the nation. The central question posed by these primary sources is how African-Americans were able to form a meaningful identity for themselves, reject the inferior images fastened upon them, and still maintain the strength to keep "from being torn asunder." Using the primary sources presented here, look for answers that bring your ideas together in ways that reflect the richness of the African-American experience.
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The collection African American Perspectives: Pamphlets from the Daniel A.P. Murray Collection, 1818-1907, contains pamphlets and other materials, most of which were written by African American authors about pressing issues of the day. In this lesson, students use the collection's Timeline of African American History, 1852-1925 to identify problems and issues facing African Americans immediately after Reconstruction. Working in small groups on assigned issues, students search the collection for documents that describe the problem and consider opposing points of view, and suggest a remedy for the problem. Students then present the results of their research in a simulated African American Congress, modeled on a congress documented in the collection's special presentation, Progress of a People.
This lesson encourages students to identify problems facing African Americans immediately after Reconstruction. Students then work in small groups to identify documents describing a particular problem, consider opposing points of view, and suggest a solution and present their research findings.
This lesson invites students to search and sift through rare print documents, early motion pictures, photographs, and recorded sounds from The Library of Congress. Students experience the depth and breadth of the digital resources of the Library, tell the story of a decade, and help define the American Dream.
This site helps teachers and students navigate the vast online collections of primary source materials at the Library of Congress. The links, arranged by chronological period, lead to sets of selected primary sources on a variety of topics in U.S. history.
This is a lesson in which students take a trip around the world in 1896 using an online collection of 900 images. The collection includes photos of railroads, elephants, camels, horses, sleds and sleighs, sedan chairs, rickshaws, and other types of transportation, as well as city views, street and harbor scenes, landscapes, and people in North Africa, Asia, Australia, and Oceania.
This is an annotated collection of Library of Congress resources about America's pastime. It includes early baseball pictures, baseball songs and stories, baseball cards, the first all-professional baseball team in America (the Cincinnati Red Stockings, 1869), Cy Young, Ty Cobb, home run kings, and letters and speeches by Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play major league baseball.
This site offers twelve puzzle sets. Each set challenges you with four or five jigsaw puzzles made from images found in the American Memory collections. As each puzzle in the set is completed, a new puzzle will appear...until you have completed all of the puzzles in that set. You will then have a chance to use what you have learned to discover the Big Picture...the theme the images in the set have in common
This site offers thumbnail histories of nearly 30 well-known brand names associated with soft drinks, potatoes, cereal, fruit, airplanes, buses, pianos, sewing machines, jeans, shoes, and other products.
This unit provides a flexible investigative structure for the study of selected themes in U.S. history and culture using the American Memory collections and related resources. Core goals are the development of relationships between selected themes and resources, refinement of student skills in interpretation, analysis, and evaluation of primary sources, and the creation of multimedia projects drawing upon different modes of expression.
This is a teaching unit that leads middle and high school students through the process of critically examining photographs (by Lewis Hine) as historical evidence.
The Civil War through a Child's Eye lesson focuses on the use of historical fiction and primary sources to expand students' perceptions of the Civil War era. Literature and photographic images reflect, communicate, and influence human perspectives of historical events. Specifically, the unit helps students to view the Civil War era through a child's eye, rather than from an adult perspective.Following an introduction to the Civil War using photographic, daguerreotype, and non-fiction sources, students read Paul Fleischman's Bull Run in Readers Theater format. Next, students examine and interpret primary source images of Civil War era children. Then, students reveal their understanding of a child's perspective in a literary portrait. In sum, this lesson integrates reading, writing, and US history standards.
This site includes images of newspaper articles (1787), notes Washington and Jefferson wrote on drafts of the Constitution (1787-88), Jefferson's chart of state votes (1788), Washington's diaries (1786-89), Hamilton's speech notes for proposing a plan of government, a Philadelphia map (1752), the broadside Bill of Rights (1791), and other artifacts.
This site looks at American political parties of the past, presidential inaugurations, images of presidents and first ladies, our first uniform election day, political cartoons by Herbert Block (Herblock) and Pat Oliphant, the 1877 electoral commission created by Congress to resolve the disputed presidential election of 1876, the 19th and 24th amendments (ending the poll tax and giving women the right to vote), and the Nixon-Kennedy debates.
This site looks at Europe's view of North America before and after Columbus, Martin Waldseemuller's 1507 map of the world, Diego Gutierrez's 1562 map of America, Spanish and Portuguese encounters in America, the Dutch in America, exploration and settlement of America from British and American points of view, Lewis and Clark, Henry Hudson, Jacques Cartier, and early images of the U.S.
features journal entries from 20 points in the journey of Lewis and Clark: mission preparations, winter in St. Louis, first council with Indians, death of Sergeant Floyd, first killing of a buffalo, Sioux camps, near run-in with Teton Sioux, Rocky Mountains, Nez Perce, falls of the Columbia River, and others. The site also provides letters from Thomas Jefferson to Lewis and Clark; images of people, places, plants, and animals; and maps.
This site provides photos, letters, articles, and resources for learning about the history of flight -- aircraft and balloons, Alexander Graham Bell's aerodynamic studies, the Wright brothers, Charles Lindbergh, Igor Sikorsky's helicopters, and Amelia Earhart.
This collection uses primary sources to explore the golden age of musical theatre on Broadway. Digital Public Library of America Primary Source Sets are designed to help students develop their critical thinking skills and draw diverse material from libraries, archives, and museums across the United States. Each set includes an overview, ten to fifteen primary sources, links to related resources, and a teaching guide. These sets were created and reviewed by the teachers on the DPLA's Education Advisory Committee.
This activity aims to enhance reading and understanding of The Grapes of Wrath through ethnographic research -- collections of sound recordings, drawings, photos, fieldnotes, and correspondence. Students show how cultural artifacts support one of themes in the novel.
offers photos, diaries, and timelines for learning about women pioneers, women during the Civil War, women's suffrage in the Progressive Era, eight women who served on the front during World War II, First Ladies, literature about women and discrimination, African-American women in the sciences, women in Muslim societies, Native American women writers, Zora Neale Hurston, Margaret Mead, research in women's history, and more.
This collection uses primary sources to explore the Hudson River School. Digital Public Library of America Primary Source Sets are designed to help students develop their critical thinking skills and draw diverse material from libraries, archives, and museums across the United States. Each set includes an overview, ten to fifteen primary sources, links to related resources, and a teaching guide. These sets were created and reviewed by the teachers on the DPLA's Education Advisory Committee.
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This site looks at European and Chinese immigration to the U.S., early 20th century immigration documents, 350 years of Jewish life in America, America as a religious refuge (17th century), Irish words, the Tenement Museum in New York City, and the first Yiddish cookbook in America. The website includes images of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, stories of immigrants, and interactive timelines and maps showing immigration patterns.
Through dialogue, documentation, research, and interviews, students understand their role in society. This unit provides a background to students' family histories, and gives them an opportunity to listen to the voices of immigrants of the past.The students identify the issues involved with the migration of a community or family. By examining the traditional picture of immigration, students then consider their own families to have a better idea of their own history and their own voices.
The primary goal of this activity is to give students the genuine experience of oral history in order to appreciate the process of historiography. We identified immigrants in our community who reflect the ethnic diversity of our student body, enabling students to compare and contrast the stories of these contemporary immigrants with those researched in the thirties reflected in American Life Histories, 1936-1940 and other American Memory collections. Students engage in visual and information literacy exercises to gain an understanding of how to identify and interpret primary historical sources.As designed, this project is almost a year-long experience. However, individual components can be adapted as standalone units, dropped altogether, or expanded to suit local needs.
Intro to Library Research is designed to teach students about libraries (specifically the University of Minnesota Libraries) and the basics of academic library research. Students will learn how to pick an appropriate research topic, how to create an efficient search strategy, how to pick the best library databases, and how to evaluate resources. It takes about 30 to 40 minutes to complete and includes an online worksheet students should complete based on their own research topics.
This collection uses primary sources to explore the cultural impact of swing dancing. Digital Public Library of America Primary Source Sets are designed to help students develop their critical thinking skills and draw diverse material from libraries, archives, and museums across the United States. Each set includes an overview, ten to fifteen primary sources, links to related resources, and a teaching guide. These sets were created and reviewed by the teachers on the DPLA's Education Advisory Committee.
This lesson helps students examine the motivations of people who traveled west during the 1800s, as well as the conditions they encountered, the conflicts between settlers and native people, and policies of the federal government. Students interpret first person narratives and choose a role for in-depth study -- a gold miner, fur trader, pioneer family, Native American, or explorer.
This site provides primary source documents that students use to examine the working conditions of U.S. laborers at the turn of the century and to develop their own answers to a question: Was there a need for organized labor unions?
What evidence do we have that French Canadian immigrants settled in New England? Who were these people? Why did they come to the region in such large numbers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries? What was life like for them? What values did they bring with them that helped shape the region? Using American Life Histories, 1936-1940 and The Nineteenth Century in Print: Periodicals to answer these questions, students reach an understanding of the impact that French Canadians have had in New England.
This site offers maps, manuscripts, timelines, and photos related to the famed expedition. It includes resources for learning about Meriwether Lewis, Sacagawea, Congress's role in the Louisiana Purchase, and Thomas Jefferson's life-long commitment to western exploration.
This is a place where students can learn about the oral history interview process. The site includes examples of how to conduct interviews with people in the community and collect and analyze their life histories. The site links to life histories that were written for the U.S. Works Progress Administration (WPA) from 1936-1940.
Learning history from real people involved in real events brings life to history. The Grandparent/Elder Project provides a means to learn about the twentieth century from real people and primary sources. A 1913 New York Times newspaper provides a view of the world on the brink of a World War. An interview with a grandparent or significant elder provides a human face for life in the twentieth century. Through researching primary and secondary sources, students become conversant with significant aspects of twentieth century history.
This collection uses primary sources to explore the early history of Rock and Roll music. Digital Public Library of America Primary Source Sets are designed to help students develop their critical thinking skills and draw diverse material from libraries, archives, and museums across the United States. Each set includes an overview, ten to fifteen primary sources, links to related resources, and a teaching guide. These sets were created and reviewed by the teachers on the DPLA's Education Advisory Committee.
This collection looks at inventors and inventions that changed our lives: the telegraph, photophone, animation, sewing machine, ice cream cone, nuclear fission, flight, and others. It includes Thomas Edison's journals and failed inventions, and Alexander Graham Bell's notebook entry describing the first successful experiment with the telephone (March 10, 1876). George Westinghouse, James Smithson, Benjamin Banneker, and Samuel Morse are among others profiled.
This collection uses primary sources to explore social realism in American art. Digital Public Library of America Primary Source Sets are designed to help students develop their critical thinking skills and draw diverse material from libraries, archives, and museums across the United States. Each set includes an overview, ten to fifteen primary sources, links to related resources, and a teaching guide. These sets were created and reviewed by the teachers on the DPLA's Education Advisory Committee.
This project investigates and examines the impact transportation has had on peoples' lives. We chose to compare and contrast the turn of the centuries. This lesson introduces primary documents, specifically visuals. We intend for this activity to be used across grade levels and provide a basic framework that is adaptable. We intentionally left out a lot of specifics so that students would critically think about and come up with questions and ideas on their own for more in-depth study.
This activity was originally created for an online, video-conference produced by the National Digital Library Program in conjunction with the National First Ladies Library. The web pages were designed to provide the participating middle schools with resources and a structure to prepare for an online Bowl Event (an oral quiz/game in which teams compete by answering questions they have previously seen and answered). Turn-of-the-Century First Ladies, our selected topic, was chosen to take advantage of the expertise of the two presenting organizations. Any topic with many "factoids" would work as well. The activity can be used in a single classroom as a cooperative learning, team project. It can also be used as a cross classrooms event in a school with multiple classrooms per grade level.
This activity could be the engaging kick-off to a deeper study of women's history. It could be part of the study of our nation's turn-of-the-century Presidents. It could be the beginning or culmination of an in depth study of the role of First Ladies in our country's past, present and future. Or, the activity could be repurposed entirely, to develop a set of understandings around a different topic. Creative teachers will determine how much time is needed for their implementation of this activity. However, it is recommended that at least an hour be devoted to the Bowl Event and five to eight hours to research and preparation.
The 1507 World Map by Martin WaldseemÌ_ller is one of the world's most important maps. For the first time, this map labels America and shows the continent as a separate land mass. It is often referred to as America's Birth Certificate. Students will investigate this map by looking closely at the details of each section of the map and then draw conclusions on the revelation of this new and unusual world to the people of 1507.
This is a lesson in which students analyze a single Civil War photograph and then find and analyze related images. The aim is to help students see relationships between the Civil War and American industrialization.
This site examines 16 inventions: the submarine, battery radio, cotton gin, reaper, electron microscope, telephone, gramophone, telecommunication cable, snow gauge, ornithopter, airphibian, and others.
This collection documents the history of human flight. Photos, drawings, and articles are presented in six categories: myth and fantasy, early science, balloons and airships, kites and gliders, the Wright brothers, and after the Wright brothers.
This collection uses primary sources to explore the impact of women blues performers. Digital Public Library of America Primary Source Sets are designed to help students develop their critical thinking skills and draw diverse material from libraries, archives, and museums across the United States. Each set includes an overview, ten to fifteen primary sources, links to related resources, and a teaching guide. These sets were created and reviewed by the teachers on the DPLA's Education Advisory Committee.
A lesson that uses primary documents to help students (Grades 9-12) learn about the women's suffrage movement that began in the 1840s and led to women's right to vote nationwide in 1920.