Did the Attack on Pearl Harbor Unify America?
Students analyze oral history interviews recorded shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor to investigate the perceptions of different groups of Americans and determine if this was an event that ultimately brought many Americans together. After, students will look into a current issue where people may have perspectives that are being overlooked, conducting and sharing…
Why is the Civil Rights Movement Taking So Long?
Students analyze oral histories to explore potential social, economic, and geographic barriers to achieving or promoting civil rights. After, students craft a response to the lesson’s question in writing or video format.
Champions of Change
Students analyze a variety of primary sources to consider how African American song took root as a means of spreading the message of equality and as a critical part in unifying America in the struggle. After, students investigate the influence of contemporary music and musicians on memorializing the successes of the past and emphasizing the…
Immigration and Migration: Today and During the Great Depression
Students analyze historical primary sources, including oral histories, photographs and films and collection, to develop an understanding of the lives of immigrants during the Great Depression. Then students gather migration stories of a family member, friend, neighbor or community member, comparing the stories they collected to those of the past and considering the value that…
Exploring Community Through Local History: Oral Stories, Landmarks and Traditions
After being introduced to the American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936-1940 collection, students explore the local history and contemporary culture of their community through written and spoken stories; through landmarks such as buildings, parks, restaurants, or businesses; and celebration of cultural traditions.
To Kill a Mockingbird: A Historical Perspective
Through study of literature and and analysis of relevant primary sources, students of all backgrounds better grasp how historical events and human forces have shaped relationships between black and white, and rich and poor cultures of the United States. After, students may consider whether there are people in their community with an historical perspective on…
Oral History and Social History
Students study social history topics by analyzing life histories from the Federal Writers’ Project (1936-1940) that recount the lives of ordinary Americans. Based on these excerpts and further research in the collections, students develop their own research questions, then plan and conduct oral history interviews with members of their communities.
Immigration: Our Changing Voices
Students analyze primary sources to identify issues involved with the migration of a community or family and examine the traditional picture of immigration. After, students investigate their own family history and put it into the context of immigrant stories.
American Lives Across the Centuries: What Is an American?
Students will use the words of Jean de Crèvecoeur in his 1782 work, Letters from an American Farmer, to guide them as they analyze a life history documented by the Works Progress Administration from 1936-1940, using their analyses to create a patchwork of biographies. After, students consider what it means to be an American today…