Revealing Hidden Figures in Social Studies: Using Trade Books to Teach Women’s Contributions throughout History

Nefertari Yancie and Rebecca Macon Bidwell

University of Alabama at Birmingham fff

As society has changed, women’s roles have also changed. Women and their impact on history have been largely ignored in traditional textbooks (Clabough, Turner, & Carano, 2017). According to the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), including women in the dialogue about history is important for helping students develop their own identities (NCSS, 2010). Set in the segregated South, the movie Hidden Figures (Melfi & Gigliotti, 2016) told the story of four female mathematicians battling both racism and sexism at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) during the 1960s. Stories such as the one told in Hidden Figures integrate women into the curriculum. Social studies trade books are one teaching tool that can be used to spotlight women’s roles in history.

            This article describes how to use trade books to integrate women into the middle school social studies curriculum. The activities described take students through a series of steps to read and analyze trade books depicting women throughout history. The three women discussed in the activities are Catherine the Great, Hatshepsut, and Joan of Arc. Following a brief literature review about the benefits of using trade books in the middle school social studies classroom, the authors provide three different activities used to integrate women into classroom instruction. The steps and resources to implement the three activities are given.  Additionally, an appendix is provided that contains a list of other trade books about women and their impact on history.

Benefits of Using Trade Books in the Social Studies Classroom

            Teachers should utilize a variety of resources to actively engage students in the middle school classroom (AMLE, 2010). Trade books are one resource social studies teachers can use to examine historical figures and events in more depth (Schell & Fisher, 2006). Most social studies textbooks dedicate only a column or a page to a historical figure. In contrast, the text and illustrations in trade books enable students to explore the values, biases, and idiosyncrasies of people from the past (Edgington, 1998). This makes it easier for students to make an emotional connection with historical figures (McGrain, 2002).

Trade books allow students to examine the content material in meaningful ways. The pictures, text, and other primary sources in a trade book work together to focus on a historical figure, event, or topic (Lynch-Brown, Short, & Tomlinson, 2014). This enables students to infer, problem solve, and make predictions. Biographical trade books present students with situations and/or obstacles that historical figures faced. Students think critically when they can place themselves in the shoes of the person and ask, “How would I have handled this?” This question and similar ones should be answered based on evidence from the text and the pictures, as well as further research on the part of the students. These processes reflect the current emphasis on literacy-based practices and inquiry-based teaching advocated for in the C3 Framework (NCSS, 2013). 

The simpler word and sentence structure in trade books make them useful when teaching social studies content. Struggling readers and ESL students find it easier to read and understand the content (Clabough, Turner, & Wooten, 2015). The easier readability level aids in comprehension, which allows struggling readers to grasp the essential content. The illustrations in trade books also facilitate the students’ ability to generate meaning of the text (Clabough et al., 2015). The different components in trade books allow students at all academic levels to be successful when learning social studies content. In the next sections, three activities are provided that allow students to connect in meaningful ways to female historical figures. The activities highlight the unique challenges women faced as their positions in society changed.

Finding Clues about Catherine the Great

An important benefit of working with trade books is that students are able to see multiple layers of historical figures. Social studies teachers often teach abstract traits such as progressiveness, fairness, and ruthlessness. There are people in history who encompass all of these characteristics, and trade books can help students to examine the social, political, and cultural context under which these people were shaped. As a result, they can also come to understand that all people are riddled with contradictions (Fresch & Harkins, 2009).

A trade book that shows complexity and depth in a historical figure is Catherine the Great: Empress of Russia (Vincent, 2009). Much focus is paid on Catherine’s reign, as she seized power from her husband and ruled Russia as a progressive queen for over 30 years. The following activity provides students with an opportunity to foster their analytical skills by examining the reign of Catherine the Great. The teacher begins the activity by reading the trade book aloud to the class. Students focus on the part of the book where Catherine shows herself to be a strong, arguably ruthless, leader who also embraced reforms, such as creating schools for young girls and encouraging the use of modern sciences and medicines.

After the reading of the text, the students are divided into pairs. Each pair is given two pictures of Catherine the Great and a graphic organizer. There is a prompt on the graphic organizer that reads as follows: “Catherine the Great was a queen who was controversial. What kind of ruler was she? Use clues from the pictures to answer the question.” The graphic organizer consists of two boxes that are side by side. Each box contains a different picture of Catherine the great and space for students to write down at least four “clues” about the pictures. The teacher informs the students that they only use the images for the clues to help them answer the prompt. For each detail, students should also briefly explain their reasoning by using evidence from the trade book to support their claims. A sample graphic organizer is provided in the next section.

Possible Student Example of Graphic Organizer

The teacher brings the class together to discuss the clues they discovered in each picture and what they believe the details say about Catherine the Great as a ruler. This is an opportunity for students to share and learn from each other. They can explain their thinking processes and also defend their ideas with evidence from the paintings and the trade book. After the discussion, the teacher provides students with the instructions for the writing activity. Students write two paragraphs that consist of five to eight sentences each. Using clues from their graphic organizers as supporting details, they compare and contrast Catherine the Great’s two leadership styles. The writing piece also needs to include how students believe Catherine should be remembered as a ruler. The authors have given an example of the writing activity in the next section.

Possible Student Example of Writing Activity

Catherine the Great had two aspects to her style of leadership. She was an avid learner of the Enlightenment philosophers and wanted to learn about their philosophies to make the lives of her subjects better. Political thinkers were invited to Russia, and Catherine would speak with them about their ideas. This resulted in her creating reforms such as opening schools for girls. However, Catherine the Great also had another side to her leadership style.

Catherine could be very controlling. While Catherine did use the military to expand the borders of Russia, she also used the military to take control of Russia from her husband, Peter. The Church’s land and wealth were taken over, which meant the Church had to answer to her. Catherine was progressive-minded, but she did not do much to help the millions of serfs in Russia. However, there are other reasons history should remember her as a good ruler. She was smart enough to take power from her husband because he was not ruling in the best interest of the people. Politicians and other nobles appreciated that she listened to them, and the common people were grateful for the reforms that were established in Russia. Catherine had absolute control over Russia, but so did other rulers of countries during the same time period. During this time, a person had to be strong to rule, and Catherine showed she had the strength to keep power.

This activity is beneficial to students because it utilizes trade books in a manner that usually cannot be done with textbooks. Textbooks usually provide superficial information about a historical figure, barely scraping the surface of how the time period’s culture, traditions, and politics shaped the person’s decisions and actions. Trade books can bring historical figures to life by allowing students to see the contradictions that exist within people. For instance, Catherine the Great fully embraced the Enlightenment philosophies, while at the same time doing very little to ease the oppression of Russian serfs. Activities with trade books allow students to see figures from the past as three dimensional and requires them to think on a higher level (Brooks & Endacott, 2013; Edgington, 1998). The analysis of the seemingly divergent aspects of Catherine’s personalities may lead students to understand that history is not black and white, but many shades of gray.

Dedicating Hieroglyphics to Hatshepsut

Janice Trecker (1973) offered insight into how little women were featured in U. S. History high school textbooks of the 1960s. As a result, when asked to name women from American history, students could name very few. Today’s history textbooks may include more women, but the information remains limited (Allard, Clark, & Mahoney, 2004). Trade books are resources teachers can use to fill the gap often left by textbooks. The rich content and pictures provide students with material that demonstrates how women have not only contributed to history but accomplished great deeds.     

A trade book that illustrates a woman in a leadership role is Hatshepsut: His Majesty, Herself (Andronik, 2001). Hatshepsut’s life is explored, from her childhood to her rise as a successful female pharaoh. The following activity highlights the section of the book where Hatshepsut has her greatest temple built, the “Holy of Holies.” The teacher reads aloud how the carvings on the walls of the temple depicted Hatshepsut’s life, accomplishments, and how the gods chose her to rule. The will of the gods was often interpreted by priests and inscribed on walls of temples, along with great stories about the prowess and great attributes of the pharaoh. This activity has students create their own inscriptions for the wall of Hatshepsut’s temples. They use hieroglyphics to tell about her life and great deeds. The message in the hieroglyphics are supported by evidence in the trade books. It is recommended that the teacher provides students with a copy of the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic alphabet and symbols that mean entire words, such as “pharaoh.” Examples of Egyptian hieroglyphics can be accessed at https://www.ducksters.com/history/ancient_egypt/hieroglyphics_examples_alphabet.php and http://www.landofpyramids.org/egyptian-hieroglyphics.htm.

Students use the hieroglyphics as a guide. They pretend to be scribes who are instructed to engrave into the walls of the Holy of Holies why Hatshepsut is such a great ruler.  The hieroglyphics are drawn on paper that is provided by the teacher. The drawings must use a combination of the alphabet and symbols to describe Hatshepsut’s accomplishments and her attributes as a leader. The “engravings” must be supported by at least two details from the trade books. See the following as an example.

Possible Examples of a Student Engraving

After completing the hieroglyphics, students write a paragraph that consists of six to ten sentences. The paragraph must explain the meaning of the hieroglyphics, and students must cite at least two details from the text to support their claim. In addition, they are to express whether they believe it was an accomplishment for a woman to attain the position of pharaoh during this time period. Students give at least one reason to support their answer. The authors provide a possible example in the following section.

Possible Example of a Student Paragraph

Hatshepsut was a woman who declared herself pharaoh and reigned over Egypt at a time when women were not supposed to rule by themselves. She even dressed as a man by wearing a short kilt instead of a long dress and tied a gold beard to her chin. The hieroglyphics show this by the man and woman side by side next to the symbol for crown. Many Egyptian pharaohs wanted to be remembered by building great monuments. Hatshepsut built a famous temple that is called the Holy of Holies, which is portrayed by the symbol for a temple. The temple was built under the watchful eye and blessing of the god Horus. The falcon represents him. It was an accomplishment for Hatshepsut to attain the position of pharaoh during this time period. In ancient Egypt, there was not a word in the language for a female ruler so by becoming pharaoh she carved her own place in history by ruling Egypt for 22 years.

Trade books provide an in depth look into the lives of historical figures (Edgington, 1998). Textbooks tend to glance over events that define and shape the lives of a person. This activity allows student to examine such pivotal moments and examine how culture, the time period, and societal norms shape a historical figure’s actions and decisions. It is important for students to be able to view people from the past in historical context (Brooks & Endacott, 2013; Colby, 2010). By knowing the political, social, and cultural customs of the era, students gain insight into why people made certain decisions as well as better understand the ramifications of a woman taking a leadership role of the pharaoh.

Tweeting with Joan of Arc

            Social studies textbooks often give limited versions of stories that deserve to be told in greater detail. Trade books can be used to tell the accounts of people and events in a manner that students find engaging and interesting (McGrain, 2002). This is especially true with biographical trade books about women. The challenges women faced were as unique as the methods chosen to meet them. Students will find themselves invested in the lives of these historical women as they learn about the courage it took to succeed in a male-dominated world.

            Teachers can use the trade book Joan of Arc to help foster students’ empathy as they explore the values, beliefs, and courageous actions of a teenage girl (Demi, 2011). This activity focuses on the section in the trade book when Joan was captured by the Burgundians, put on trial, and executed. The teacher reads aloud to students and shows the illustrations of Joan’s journey from arrest to execution. Then, each student is given a “Tweet” handout. The worksheet resembles a tweet with some of the same features students would find on an actual Twitter account. Students assume the role of a person from Joan of Arc’s time and write a tweet as the historical figure. They should use all of the literary mechanisms employed by Twitter, such as the acronym LOL, which stands for “laugh out loud.”

            The teacher instructs students to send a tweet to the Burgundian or the French people where they are stating their opinion about the fate of Joan of Arc. A prompt should be included on the handout. A possible prompt may include the following. “Dear (insert French or Burgundian people), I feel what happened to Joan of Arc was (insert a descriptor)! Joan of Arc…” Students support their opinion about what happened to Joan at the hands of the Burgundians. They are required to use at least one supporting detail from the book to support their opinion. There is a 50-word count, which does not include the prompt. This word limit challenges students to edit their work so it must include the most relevant information.

The hashtag comment at the end of the tweet should reflect the message and its overall tone. For instance, if a student’s tweet is angry, the hashtag comment should reflect the same emotion. After completing the activity, the teacher brings the class together and allows students to read their tweets aloud. The authors have provided a possible example of a tweet in the next section.

Possible Student Example of a Tweet

Trade books draw students into the lives of biographical figures. In order for students to respond empathically, they need to be able to see another’s perspective (Ashby & Lee, 2001). The ability to see perspectives and express empathy is essential in social studies. If students are going to be engaged in the classroom, they need to connect and care about the historical figures being studied (Brooks, 2008). When students become invested in the lives of people from the past, they want to understand the decisions that were made, and this may lead to a deeper and more meaningful exploration and understanding of the content. Trade books are a resource that bridges the gap left by textbooks while at the same time helping to develop skills, such as empathy, that are necessary in the social studies classroom.

Closing Remarks

            Social studies teachers face the challenge of engaging students in the middle school classroom. It can be difficult to encourage middle school students to find meaning and relevance in people, places, and events that existed hundreds and even thousands of years ago. Too many history textbooks tend to treat important historical figures and events like a 30-second bulletin on a news broadcast. Biographical trade books allow students to experience the lives of historical figures in depth. Through the pictures and text, students are able to make emotional connections with people from the past (Schell & Fisher, 2006). Historical figures are no longer names mentioned briefly on a page but become real people who faced obstacles and triumphs. Students have a better chance of empathizing with historical figures’ situations, challenges, and choices (Ashby & Lee, 2001).

            Trade books also provide social studies teachers the opportunity to highlight the many women that have shaped history. Often, textbooks underrepresent women and their contributions to society (Allard, Clark, & Mahoney, 2004). Activities like those discussed in this article allow students the opportunity to utilize trade books to examine the lives of women in meaningful and interactive ways. This makes the inclusion of people from all backgrounds and cultures essential. An appendix is given that contains additional trade books focusing on women. AMLE’s This We Believe (2010) places an emphasis on diversity in culture, background, and gender. Trade books and associated activities enable students to have a more diverse view of history than may be possible with social studies textbooks.

References

Allard, J., Clark, R., & Mahoney, T. (2004). How much of the sky? Women in American high school history textbooks from the 1960s, 1980s and 1990s. Social Education, 68(1), 57-67.

AMLE. (2010). This we believe: Keys to education young adolescents. Westerville, OH: Author.

Ashby, R. & Lee, P. (2001). Empathy, perspective taking, and rational understanding. In O. L. Davis Jr., E. A. Yeager, & S. J. Foster (Eds.), Historical empathy and perspective taking in the social studies (pp. 1-21). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.

Brooks, S. (2008). Displaying historical empathy: What impact can a writing assignment have? Social Studies Research and Practice, 3(2), 130-146.

Brooks, S. & Endacott, J. (2013). An updated theoretical and practical model for promoting historical empathy. Social Studies Research and Practice, 8(1), 41-58.

Clabough, J., Turner, T., & Wooten, D. (2015). Up, up, and away: Using heroes of flight with middle graders. Tennessee Reading Teacher, 40(2), 5-14.

Clabough, J., Turner, T., & Carano, K. (2017). When the lion roars everyone listens: Scary good middle school social studies. Westerville, OH: Association for Middle Level Education.

Colby, S. R. (2010). Contextualization and historical empathy. Curriculum & Teaching Dialogue, 12(.5), 69-83.

Edgington, W. D. (1998). The use of children’s literature in middle school social studies: What research does and does not show. Clearing House, 72(2), 121-126.

Fresch, M. J., & Harkins, P. (2009). The power of picture books: Using content area literature in middle school. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English.

Lynch-Brown, C., Short, K., & Tomlinson, C. (2013). Essentials of children’s literature (8th ed.). London, UK: Pearson.

McGrain, M. (2002). A comparison between a trade book and textbook instructional approach in a multiage elementary social studies class. (Master’s thesis). Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.brockport.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1268&context=ehd_theses

Melfi, T. & Gigliotti, D. (2016). Hidden Figures [Motion picture]. United States: 20th Century Fox Studios.

NCSS (2010). National curriculum standards for social studies: A framework for teaching, learning, and assessment. Silver Spring, MD: Author.

NCSS. (2013). The college, career, and civic life (C3) framework for social studies state standards: Guidance for enhancing the rigor of K-12 civics, economics, geography, and history. Silver Springs, MD: Author.

Schell, E. & Fisher, D. (2006). Teaching social studies: A literary-based approach. London, UK: Pearson.

Trecker, J. L. (1973). Women in U.S. history high school textbooks. International Review of Education, 19(1), 133-139.

Three Trade Books Referenced in the Article

Andronik, C. M. (2001). Hatshepsut: His majesty, herself. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing.

Demi. (2011). Joan of Arc. Tarrytown, NY: Marshall Cavendish Children.

Vincent, Z. (2009). Catherine the Great: Empress of Russia. London, UK: Franklin Watts Publishing.

Appendix of Additional Trade Books Focusing on Women’s Roles in History

Empress Cixi

Price, S. S. (2009). Cixi: Evil empress of China? London, UK: Franklin Watts Publishing.

Frida

Brown, M. & Parra, J. (Illustrator). (2017). Frida Kahlo and her animalitos. New York: NY: NorthSouth Books.

Jane Addams

Stone, T. L. (2015). The house that Jane built: A story about Jane Addams. New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company.

Joan Trumpauer Mulholland

Mulholland, L., & Janssen, C. (Illustrator). (2016). She stood for freedom, the untold story of a civil rights hero: Joan Trumpauer Mulholland. Salt Lake City, UT: Shadow Mountain.

Josephine Baker

Powell, P. H. & Robinson, C. (Illustrator). (2014). Josephine: the dazzling life of Josephine baker. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books LLC.

Marie Curie

Demi. (2018). Marie Curie. New York: NY: Henry Holt and Co.

Mary Tudor

Buchanan, J. (2008). Mary Tudor: Courageous queen or Bloody Mary? Danbury, CT: Children’s Press.

Michelle Obama

Parker, M. G. & Birge, M. (Illustrator). (2009). I am Michelle Obama: The first lady. Atlanta, GA: Tumaini Publishing LLC.

Queen Victoria of England

Whelan, G. & Carpenter, N. (Illustrator). (2014). Queen Victoria’s bathing machine. New York: NY: Simon & Schuster.

Sara Roberts

Goodman, S.E. & Lewis, E.B. (Illustrator). (2016). The first step: How one girl put segregation on trial. New York, NY: Bloomsbury.

Sacajawea

Willard, J. (1918/2017). Bird Woman (Sacajawea) the guide of Lewis and Clark: Her own story now first given to the world. Los Angeles, CA: Enhanced Media Publishing.

Activism in New York

Megan Bernth

The Museum of the City of New York has an exhibit exploring social activist movements beginning in the 17th Century through the many movements of the present day. These movements and events are portrayed using artifacts, photographs, and audio and video presentations. This use of multiple sources brings the exhibit to life. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the exhibition is the interactive component, where users can select which different forms of activism they would like to learn more about using a tablet, such as immigration, labor conflicts, or gender inequality. This then takes them through the personal stories and accounts of various protests today. The important role social media plays in activism today is of particular interest as there is a screen displaying posts which use the #ActivistNewYork to show individual’s stories. This stresses the importance of people within these movements, which can be seen time and time again throughout the display where the many ways ordinary New Yorkers have affected and continue to shape their city. As you walk the room where the exhibit is located each movement is given a mural like space where its story and history is told. The sections go in chronological order and as you progress through the room you are moving from the past to the present. The fluidity and the connectedness of the exhibition make it easy to see and develop a greater understanding of the many ways these events and groups were connected.

The accompanying book, Activist New York, progresses in a similar manner. It is split into six sections: Colonial and Revolutionary New York, from 1624 to 1783, Seaport City from 1783 to 1865, Gilded Age to Progressive Era, from 1865 to 1918, Midcentury Metropolis, from 1918 to 1960, The Sixties in New York, from 1960 to 1973, and finally, Urban Crisis and Revival, from 1973 to 2011. These six sections are then further divided into chapters, each focusing on a different form of activism and with an additional segment or two on another influential topic from the corresponding time period. For example, the chapter focusing on Puerto Rican activism has an accompanying segment on Black Power and Asian American Activism. These mini-sections help to provide a more complete context for the time period as well as the main chapters events. Of additional importance with the book is its detailed endnotes, credits and further readings sections as all three provide the reader with a greater understanding of the information as well as the opportunity to dive deeper into the history.

One of the most important and significant aspects of both the exhibition and its companion book is its in depth coverage of history through the lenses of the minority perspective. Rather than simply telling the events with the accounts of those who history is traditionally written, namely the white male Europeans, this collection drives to incorporate less heard, but no less importance, voices. From Clara Lemlich, a young Jewish immigrant involved in the Labor Movement, to Emma Goldman, a young Russian Jewish immigrant who spoke to thousands in a protest in Union Square, to David Ruggles, a free black man who helped free hundreds of African Americans prior to the end of slavery. These perspectives are not ones we often get to hear and their inclusion in these works has a lasting impact on anyone who reads the book or sees the exhibit.

The supplemental activity sheets focus on ten forms of activism explored in the exhibition and the book. Beginning with abolition in the 1800s, students will examine the story of Elizabeth Jennings, who like Rosa Parks a century later, refused to give up her seat simply because she was black. The influence of anarchists within New York City is examined using a speech from Ms. Goldman, an anarchist propaganda poster, a photograph of the immigrant living conditions during this time and the New York State Criminal Anarchy Law. The Labor Movement is assessed using a speech by Ms. Lemlich, a political cartoon on the relationship between labor unions and employers. Women’s Suffrage offers the 19th Amendment, an article by Harriet Stanton Blatch explaining her reasons for being a suffragist, and an advertisement from Margaret Sanger for her first clinic. Other sections focus on Civil Rights, Gay pride activists, and student activism.

Activist New York and the Abolitionist Movement

Directions: Read the background information on the Abolitionist Movement in New York City. Analyze and review the documents, then answer the questions that follow.

Background: Though slaves had been freed in New York State by 1827, the African Americans who remained in the City were often met with outright hostility and racism. They were forced out work by white immigrants, prevented from attending schools, and often were denied access to public transportation and places. The State Constitution of 1821, only allowed Black men who owned $250 worth of property to vote, effectively preventing the majority of Black men from doing so. While, slavery was still legal elsewhere in the country, and many New Yorkers still supported it, not all its residents believed in it. David Ruggles, a Black man born to free parents in Connecticut, actively worked to help African Americans escape slavery in New York City.

Document A: The American Anti-Slavery Almanac

Doc B: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass (1845)

After my arrival at New York, I said I felt like one who had escaped a den of hungry lions. This state of mind, however, very soon subsided; and I was again seized with a feeling of great insecurity and loneliness. I was yet liable to be taken back, and subjected to all the tortures of slavery… Thank Heaven, I remained but a short time in this distressed situation. I was relieved from it by the humane hand of Mr. David Ruggles, whose vigilance, kindness, and perseverance, I shall never forget… I had been in New York but a few day, when Mr. Ruggles sought me out, and very kindly took me to his boarding-house… Very soon after I went to Mr. Ruggles, he wished to know of men where I wanted to go; as he deemed it unsafe for me to remain in New York.

Doc C: New York Tribune article by Horace Greeley (February 1855)

She (Elizabeth Jennings) got upon one of the Company’s cars last summer, on the Sabbath, to ride to church. The conductor undertook to get her off, first alleging the car was full; when that was shown to be false, he pretended the other passengers were displeased at her presence; but [when] she insisted on her rights, he took hold of her by force to expel her. She resisted. The conductor got her down on the platform, jammed her bonnet, soiled her dress and injured her person. Quite a crowd gathered, but she effectually resisted. Finally, after the car had gone on further, with the aid of a policeman they succeed in removing her.

Doc D: Brooklyn Circuit Court Judge William Rockwell in response to Jennings’s incident, 1855

Colored persons if sober, well behaved and free from disease, had the same rights as others and could neither be excluded by any rules of the Company, nor by force or violence. –

Questions

  1. What message do you think the artist is conveying in Document A?
  2. In Doc. B, how did Mr. Ruggles help Frederick Douglass?
  3. Predict why you have not learned about Mr. Ruggles but have learned about Douglass.
  4. From Doc. C, what happened to Elizabeth Jennings? Why?
  5. Does her story remind you of anything? If so, what?
  6. Using Doc. D, what did the Judge decide in response to the Jenning’s incident?
  7. Is this significant? Why or why not?
  • What do these four documents and the background information tell you about life in New York City for African Americans?

Activist Harlem

Directions: Read the background information on Activist Harlem in New York City.  Analyze and review the documents, then answer the questions that follow.

Background: During World War I, black workers began migrating to urban cities for the factory jobs created by the war.  This was met by resistance from whites who feared unemployment and the loss of their homogenous society.  From 1910 to 1930, the number of African Americans living in New York City increased from 91,709 to 327,700, when it became the city with the most blacks worldwide.  The majority of the African Americans flocked to Harlem, which quickly became central for African American issues.  Many who lived there dedicated their lives to improving the conditions of blacks throughout the country.  This movement later became known as the Harlem Renaissance, where the image of the “New Negro” was formed.

Doc A: National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Annual Report (1917)

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People seeks to uplift the colored men and women of this country by securing to them the full enjoyment of their rights as citizens, justice in all courts, and equality of opportunity everywhere… It believes in the upholding of the Constitution of the United States and its amendments, in the spirit of Abraham Lincoln.  It upholds the doctrine of “all men up and no man down.”  It abhors Negro crimes but still more the conditions which breed crime, and most of all crimes committed by mobs in the mockery of the law, or by individuals in the name of the law.

Doc B: Marcus Garvey, Explanation of the Objects of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (1921)

Fellow citizens of Africa, I greet you in the name of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA).  You may ask, “what organizations is that?”  It is for me to inform you that the UNIA is an organization that seeks to unite, into one solid body, the four hundred million Negroes in the world.  To link up the fifty million Negros in the United States of America, with the twenty million Negroes of the West Indies, the forty million Negroes of South and Central American, with the two hundred and eight million Negros of Africa, for the purpose of bettering our industrial, commercial, educational, social, and political conditions… We of the UNIA are raising the cry of “Africa for the Africans,” those at home and those abroad.

Doc C: 125th Street in Harlem

Questions

  1. What initially caused African Americans to move to cities?
  2. What importance did Harlem hold for African Americans during the 1900’s?
  3. What was the main goal of the NAACP from Document A?
  4. Why is Abraham Lincoln mentioned in Document A?
  5. What is the main goal of the UNIA in Document B?
  6. What does “Africa for the Africans” mean?
  7. How are the messages of Document A and Document B similar?  How are they different?
  8. Based on the documents and your previous knowledge, which group was more successful, the NAACP or the UNIA?
  9. Describe the picture in Document C.  Use at least five details in your response.
  10. Predict why the people are gathered in the photo.

Activism in New York: Anarchists

Directions: Read the background information on anarchism in New York City.  Analyze and review the documents, then answer the questions that follow.

Background: In 19th Century Europe, in response to the social unrest caused by the Industrial Revolution, anarchism emerged.  Its core belief was that only when workers rose up against their government and abolished it completely, could they escape their lives of poverty.  In its place they wanted to create a free and classless society.  They were often in conflict with socialists, as they are argued a government run by the working class needed to come before a classless society, though both leftist groups shared the same enemy in capitalism.  Both anarchists and socialists within New York City were either immigrants from Europe or their children, many of whom left Europe because of their radical views.  The poor living and working conditions for immigrants convinced many of them that a revolution was needed in New York City as well.

Doc A:  Emma Goldman, a young Russian Jewish immigrant, speaking to crowd at Union Square (August 21, 1893)

“Men and women, do you not realize that the State is the worst enemy you have?  It is a machine that crushes you in order to maintain the ruling class, your masters… Fifth Avenue is laid in gold, every mansion a citadel (fortress) of money and power.  Yet there you stand, a giant, starved and fettered (restrained), shorn of his strength… They will go on robbing you… unless you wake up, unless you become daring enough to demand your rights.  Well, then, demonstrate before the palaces of the rich; demand work.  If they do not give you work, demand bread.  If they deny you both, take bread.  It is your sacred right!”

Document B:

Doc C:  New York Criminal Anarchy Law of 1902

Sec. 160. Criminal Anarchy Defined. Criminal anarchy is the doctrine that organized government should be overthrown by force or violence, or by assassination of the executive head or of any of the executive officials of government, or by an unlawful means.  The advocacy of such doctrine either by word of mouth or writing is a felony.

Questions

  1. What is anarchism?
  2. Who were the anarchists in New York City?
  3. In Doc. A, who is Emma Goldman?  Is this significant?  Why or why not?
  4. In Doc. A, what rights does Emma Goldman say the people are being denied?  What does she say they should do?
  5. Describe the poster in Doc. B.  List at least five details.
  6. What message do you think the author is trying to convey in Doc. B?
  7. What is does the law in Doc. C do?
  8. Why is this significant?  What does it tell you about the government during this time?

Activism in New York: Gay Rights

Directions: Read the background information on gay rights in New York City.  Analyze and review the documents, then answer the questions that follow.

Background: On June 28, 1969, police officers raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in Greenwich Village.  The Inn’s selling of alcohol without a liquor license was the official reason behind the raid, but the patrons of the club believed the real motivation was their sexual orientation.  In response to the raid a riot broke out, and for the next four nights similar protests took place.  “Stonewall” electrified the gay and lesbian communities of New York and marked a turning point in the gay rights campaign.  Prior to this gay people lived in fear of their secret coming out, as they often faced harassment, violence and even job loss when they came out.  Various gay and lesbian organizations were established to further the gay rights cause; often using Martin Luther King Jr.’s civil rights movement as a guide, though some used more radical means.

Doc A: 3 Deviates Invite Exclusion by Bars – But They Visit Four Before Being Refused Service, in a Test of State Liquor Authority (S.L.A.) Rules – By Thomas A. Johnson, The New York Times (April 22, 1966)

  Three homosexuals, intent upon challenging State Liquor Authority regulations cited by some bartenders in refusing to sell liquor to sexual deviates, met with some difficulty yesterday finding a bar that would
deny them service.  The three, who were officials of the Mattachine Society, a group dedicated to the improvement of the status of
homosexuals, found their first testing establishment closed.  Then they
found willing service in two other places, even after advising the
managers that they were homosexuals.  But, in their fourth call, when
they told the bartender they were homosexuals, he refused to serve them… Informed of the incident, the S.L.A.’s chief executive officer said that regulations leave service to the discretion of the management and that
they do not discriminate against homosexuals.  He said, however, that
bartenders had the right to refuse service if a customer is not orderly…

Doc B: 4 Policemen Hurt in ‘Village’ Raid – Melee (Riot) Near Sheridan Square Follows Action at Bar – The New York Times (June 29, 1969)

Hundreds of young men went on a rampage in Greenwich Village
shortly after 3 AM yesterday after a force of plainclothes men raided a
bar that the police said was well-known for its homosexual clientele. 
Thirteen persons were arrested and four policemen injured.  The young men threw bricks, bottles, garbage, pennies and a parking meter at the
policemen, who had a search warrant authorizing them in investigate
reports that liquor was sold illegally at the bar, the Stonewall Inn, just off Sheridan Square.  Deputy Inspector Pine said that a large crowd formed
in the square after being evicted from the bar.  Police reinforcements
were sent to the area to hold off the crowd….  The police estimated that
200 young men had been expelled from the bar.  The crowd grew close to 400 during the melee, which lasted about 45 minutes. … The raid was one of the three held on Village bars in the last two weeks.  Charges against
the 13 who were arrested ranged from harassment and resisting arrest to disorderly conduct.

Doc C: Christopher Street Rally

Document D:

Questions

  1. What was Stonewall?  What impact did it have on New York City’s gay community?
  2. What is the Mattachine Society from Doc. A?
  3. Why were the men refused service in Doc. A?
  4. Why did the men go on a “rampage” in Doc. B?
  5. Do you think this is a biased account of the event in Doc. B?  Why or why not?
  6. How are gay men portrayed in the newspaper articles from Doc. A and Doc. B?
  7. How would you describe the people in the picture from Doc. C?
  8. The picture in Doc. C is from the first Gay Pride Parade in New York City, why do you think 1970 was the first year?
  9. Describe the poster from Doc. D. What do you think the artist is trying to convey?

Activism in New York: Labor Movement

Directions: Read the background information on the Labor Movement in New York City.  Analyze and review the documents, then answer the questions that follow.

Background: Garment production was the largest manufacturing business in New York City by the early 1900’s and it was fueled by the city’s immigrant population. The work was typically characterized by unsafe and unclean conditions, low pay, long hours and abusive bosses.  Workers wanted to create unions to combat these poor working conditions, but employers were resistant to them.  Despite this, unions were formed by the 19th Century.  With the relative success of the “Uprising of 20,000,” a garment worker’s strike in 1909, the city’s labor movement exploded.  Within the next four years, labor unions increased from 30,000 to 250,000.

Doc A : Clara Lemlich, a 23-year-old immigrant garment worker speaking in Yiddish from stage in Manhattan (November 22, 1909)

“I am a working girl.  One of those who are on strike against intolerable conditions.  I am tired of listening to speakers who talk in general terms.  What we are here for is to decide whether we shall strike or shall not strike.  I offer a resolution that a general strike be declared now.  If I turn traitor to the cause I now pledge, may this hand wither from the arm I
now raise.” –  

Document B:

Doc C: Public Indifference Held Responsible – Voters Should Demand Better Fire Protection, Says Dr. Anna Shaw at Protest Meeting.  “DOLLARS AGAINST A LIFE” The New York Times (April 1, 1911)

A mass meeting of protest at the conditions which made possible the Washington Place fire disaster a week ago today was held at Cooper Union last night… Stretched where everyone could see was a flaring banner which bore the legend:

Nov. 26 – Twenty-five women killed in Newark factory fire.  March 25- One hundred and thirty women killed in Triangle fire.  Locked doors, overcrowding, inadequate fire escapes.  The women could not, the voters did not, alter these conditions.  We demand for all women the right to protect themselves – … “Well it all comes right down to dollars and cents against a life,” Fire Chief Croker was quoted as saying, “that is the bottom of the entire thing. Mr. Owner will come and say to the Fire Department: ‘If you compel us to do this or that we will have to close up the factory; we cannot afford to do it.’ It comes right down to dollars and cents against human lives no matter which way you look at it.”

Questions

  1. How is factory work described during the early 1900s?
  2. Why were unions created?  Why did employers not want unions?
  3. In Doc. A, to what cause does Clara Lemlich pledge?
  4. What do you notice about the description of Clara Lemlich?  Why is this significant?
  5. Describe the political cartoon in Doc. B.  Provide at least five details.
  6. What message do you think the artist is trying to convey in Doc. B?
  7. What happened in the Washington Place fire from Doc. C?
  8. Who is blamed for the fire?

Activism in New York: Women’s Suffrage

Directions: Read the background information on the Women’s Suffrage Campaign in New York City.  Analyze and review the documents, then answer the questions that follow.

Background: Beginning in the 1860s, New York City became the center for Women’s Suffrage.  Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, two of the movement’s most prominent leaders, took up residence in the city during this time.  Later in the 19th Century, it became the center for the “New Woman,” a popular phrase used to describe the young middle and upper-class women who began attending college and later obtained careers; something previously denied to their mothers.  This newfound education and career achievements led many women to believe they were entitled to vote and become more politically active.  In the early 1900s the National American Woman Suffrage Association moved its headquarters to New York City as well.

Doc A: Opinions of Prominent Women – Leaders in the Movement Tell Why They are in Favor of Equal Rights– The New York Times (February 21, 1909)

Mrs. Harriot Stanton Blatch. – Why am I a suffragist? Because women
are living under the conditions of the twentieth century.  When they
were spinning or weaving, teaching and nursing in their own homes,
with no examining boards, factory inspectors, or school officers to
interfere, a male aristocracy was not so unjust a political system as it is
today.  Women lived then in a sort of republic of their own making.  But with health boards after us, our children snatched from our proverbial
knee by compulsory school laws, and every means of creating wealth
stolen from the chimney corner, and placed in the business world,
women’s concerns have become the State’s concerns…Men cannot feel
the new needs of women, and therefore cannot safely assume to be their political sponsors. 

Document B:

Doc C: 19th Amendment: Women’s Right to Vote (1920)

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Document D:

Questions

  1. What was the “New Woman?”
  2. Why do you think New York City was the home of the Women’s Suffrage Movement?
  3. In Doc. A, why is Ms. Blatch a suffragist?
  4. Why are women’s concerns now the State’s concerns from Doc. A?
  5. Where are the women from Doc. B protesting?  Why there?
  6. Do you think the location of the picture had more of an impact than protests elsewhere?  Why or why not?
  7. What does the 19th Amendment from Doc. C guarantee?
  8. Are you surprised by the year?  Why or why not?
  9. What three languages is the poster from Doc. D written is?  Why?
  10. The poster from Doc. D was created by Margaret Sanger.  What is she discussing?  What does this have to do with Women’s Suffrage?

Activism in New York: Occupy Wall Street

Directions: Read the background information on Occupy Wall Street.  Analyze and review the documents, then answer the questions that follow.

Background: The Depression of 2008 was set off by many of the world’s richest banks selling billions of dollars in risky investments, including home mortgages which had been sold to Americans.  Borrowers were unable to pay back their loans and the impact from their defaults was felt throughout the economy.  This resulted in the near collapse, or collapse, of many of the U.S.’s financial institutions, the freezing of credit and economic problems throughout the world.  The economic conditions were eventually stabilized, but trillions of dollars were needed to “bail out” the banks.  Unemployment continued to rise, thousands lost their homes, but bank executives continued to profit.  Wall Street, New York, had been seen as the financial capital of America since the 1830’s, and as such it became the center of the protests in 2011.

Doc A: Declaration of the Occupation of New York City (September 29, 2011)

As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together.  We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know what we are your allies.  As one people, united, we acknowledge the
reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption
of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their rights and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power
from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth
from the people on the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable
when the process is determined by economic power.  We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest
over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments.  We
have peaceable assembled here, as is our right to let these facts be
known. They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosures
process, despite not having the original mortgage. They have taken
bailouts from taxpayers with impunity (freedom), continue to give
Executives exorbitant (excessive) bonuses. They have held students
hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right…  

Document B:

Doc C: A Day of Protests as Occupy Movement Marks Two-Month Milestone by Katharine Q. Seelye – The New York Times (November 17, 2011)   Protesters across the country demonstrated en masse Thursday, snarling rush-hour traffic in several major cities and taking aim at banks as part of the national “day of action” to mark the two-month milestone of the Occupy Wall Street movement.  While thousands of protestors clogged the streets in New York and more than 175 people were arrested in clashes with the police, demonstrators elsewhere in the country were largely peaceful… Union workers, students, unemployed people and local residents joined the crowds in many cities, adding to a core of Occupy protesters… Activists decried banking practices, called for more jobs and demanded a narrowing of the divide between the richest 1 percent of the population and the other 99 percent. 

Document D:

Questions

  1. Why was Wall Street chosen as the location for the protest?
  2. What economic conditions lead to the Occupy Wall Street Movement?
  3. In Doc. A, what does the Declaration cite as the facts for the Occupation?
  4. Does the document in Doc. A resemble any other document you have read?
  5. Describe the picture in Doc B.  Use at least five details in your response.
  6. Why does the sign say 99% in Doc. B?
  7. From Doc. C, who joined the protest?  Why do you think these groups of people joined?
  8. What does the New York Times say the activists want in Doc. C?
  9. Describe the political cartoon in Doc. D.  Use at least five details in your response.
  10. What message do you think the artist is trying to convey in Doc. D?

Activism in New York: New Housing Activists

Directions: Read the background information on new housing activists in New York City.  Analyze and review the documents, then answer the questions that follow.

Background: During the late 1960’s and 1970’s dozens of community organizations were created to combat the “urban crisis.”  Entire neighborhoods were near collapse in the face of crime, drug addiction, unemployment and housing abandonment which had been going on for years.  The thousands of African Americans and Puerto Ricans who had moved to New York after World War II, were caught between two government programs.  The first, “redlining,” kept them from borrowing money to upgrade or buy homes in either their area or middle-class areas as banks viewed them as a risk to residential security.  The second, was Urban Renewal, where powerful people used federal funds to construct new highways, art centers and apartment complexes without care of the existing neighborhoods.  The people who were crowded out by these new buildings were not given adequate housing and thus were forced into the slums.  When the city government ran out of money in 1975, the poorest areas were virtually abandoned.  In response, the residents of these areas banded together to save their areas.

Document A:

Document A: Bronx Housing Devastation Found Slowing Substantially by David W. Dunlap – The New York Times (March 22, 1982)   New York City officials and neighborhood activists say they are witnessing a marked slowing of the wholesale devastation that plagued the Bronx in the 1970’s.  The burning and abandonment that cut a wide swath from south to north through the borough have not stopped.  But the neighborhoods that are now on the northern edges of the devastated areas show new signs of stability, officials say.  Among the encouraging factors, they say, are that hundreds of buildings are being rehabilitated, that private money has been successfully enlist in the effort and that tenants and whole communities have organized to fight on behalf of their buildings and neighborhoods… If this stability – reflected by inhabitants clinging more tenaciously to their buildings and neighborhoods – continues, the officials said, it may be due to the simple economic fact that many residents have no choice but to stay put. 

Questions

  1. What was the “urban crisis?”
  2. What was the government response to the crisis?  What was the residents’ response?
  3. Describe the picture.  Use at least five details in your response.
  4. What reasons does the author provide for the slowing down of the “devastation” of the Bronx?
  5. Why does the author of Doc. D say, “the residents have no choice but to stay put?”
  6. What changes does the author see in the Bronx?

Activism in New York: Protests Today

Directions: Read the background information on protests today in New York City.  Analyze and review the documents, then answer the questions that follow.

Background: After the 2011 Occupy Wall Street protest, activism has continued to play an important role in New York City.  These protests have taken on new strategies, namely social media, in addition to the familiar ones used throughout New York’s history.  Many issues have centered around race, from the Black Lives Matter protest to “Stop and Frisk,” and the statue debate.  The successful push for same-sex marriage in 2015, advocating for AIDS, the protection of undocumented immigrants and the Women’s March are additional examples from recent years, all showing New York City’s lasting impact for activists and change throughout time.

Doc A: New Yorkers Rediscover Activism in the Trump Presidency Era by Gina Bellfante – The New York Times (January 20, 2017): The “movement,” of course is Trump resistance, which is essentially a movement against everything – the potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act, climate-change denial, the omnibus threats to the pursuit of equality (racial, economic, gender), a general erosion of civility, modesty, nuance, logic.  How to counter it all?  Even if the answer to that question is still taking shape, the intensity to fight back, made evident in part by the Women’s March on Washington taking place on Saturday, is producing what will probably turn out to be one of the most fertile periods of activism on the left in decades.  Right now, in New York City, it is possible to join in an act of opposition to the New World Order nearly every day… The new wave of activism taking hold in New York and perhaps around the country owes a debt to the Occupy Wall Street movement even as its success continues to be debated… It created a foundation upon which politicians and causes have flourished, and build, and demanded power.  And power, in the words of Frederick Douglass, concedes nothing without a demand.

Document B:

Document C:

Doc D: “Why Demonstrating is Good for Kids,” by Lisa Damour – The
New York Times (March 12, 2018) Participating in political activism may be good for our teenagers, according to a new research report.  The
study, published in January in the journal of Child Development, found
that late adolescents and young adults who voted, volunteered or
engaged in activism ultimately went further in school and had higher
incomes than those who did not mobilize for political or social change… Of course, correlation does not prove causation, but the study makes a
case for the benefits of civic engagement… The study’s lead author said
that “having meaningful opportunities to volunteer or be involved in
activism may change how young people think about themselves or their possibilities for the future.”  The research is especially timely as
American students consider whether to participate in the National
School Walkout.

Questions

  1. What are three recent protests in New York City?
  2. Would you participate in any forms of activism?  Why or why not?
  3. Why do you think New York City continues to be central for many protests?

The Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. and its Impact

The Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and Its Impact

by Megan Bernth with Kyle Novak

Martin-Luther-King-Assassinted-New-York-Times-April-5-1968

The life, ideas, and achievements of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. enter the curriculum during an examination of the African American Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s or if a school commemorates his birthday or Black History Month. Reverend King’s impact on the United States continued after he was assassinated on April 4, 1968 because his ideas lived on and his achievements continued to influence people. His assassination also contributed to the racial divide in the United States, as African American communities exploded in anger. The material in this curriculum package focuses on the immediate response to his murder, testimonials and rioting, controversy about his killer, and King’s long-term legacy. Material in the package includes photographs, videos, quotes, and compelling questions. As a culminating activity, the students read three quotes statements by Reverend King that discuss his ideas of nonviolence and passive civil resistance, compare them to examples of contemporary protests, and consider the implications of Reverend King’s ideas for today.

Hobbs-Lorraine-Motel-Martin-Luther-King


Background: In early April of 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was visiting Memphis, Tennessee to support a sanitation workers’ strike. He had faced mounting criticisms from young Blacks who thought his nonviolent attitude was doing their cause a disservice. It was because of these criticisms he had begun moving his support beyond blacks to all poor Americans and those who opposed the Vietnam War. While standing on a balcony the evening of April 4, a sniper shot and killed him. James Earl Ray was eventually arrested and convicted of the crime.

Martin Luther King Is Slain in Memphis; A White is Suspected; Johnson Urges Calm

By Early Caldwell, New York Times, April 5, 1968, p. 1

Memphis, Friday, April 5 – The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who preached nonviolence and racial brotherhood, was fatally shot here last night by a distant gunman who raced away and escaped. Four thousand National Guard troops were ordered into Memphis by Gov. Buford Ellington after the 39-year-old Nobel Prize-winning civil rights leader died. A curfew was imposed on the shocked city of 550,000 inhabitants, 40 per cent of whom are Negro. But the police said the tragedy had been followed by incidents that included sporadic shooting, fires, bricks and bottles thrown at policemen, and looting that started in Negro districts and then spread over the city.

Police Director Frank Holloman said the assassin might have been a white man who was “50 to 100 yards away in a flophouse.” Chief of Detectives W.P. Huston said a late model white Mustang was believed to have been the killer’s getaway car. Its occupant was described as a bareheaded white man in his 30’s, wearing a black suit and black tie.

A high-powered 30.06-caliber rifle was found about a block from the scene of the shooting, on South Main Street. “We think it’s the gun,” Chief Huston said, reporting it would be turned over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Dr. King was shot while he leaned over a second-floor railing outside his room at the Lorraine Motel. He was chatting with two friends just before starting for dinner. Paul Hess, assistant administrators at St. Joseph’s Hospital, where Dr. King died despite emergency surgery, said the minister had “received a gunshot wound of the right side of the neck, at the root of the neck, a gaping wound.” In a television broadcast after the curfew was ordered here, Mr. Holloman said, “rioting has broken out in parts of the city” and “looting is rampant.” Dr. King had come back to Memphis Wednesday morning to organize support once again for 1,300 sanitation workers who have been striking since Lincoln’s Birthday. Just a week ago yesterday he led a march in the strikers’ cause that ended in violence. A 16-year-old Negro was killed, 62 persons were injured and 200 were arrested.

Policemen were pouring into the motel area, carrying rifles and shotguns and wearing helmets. But the King aides said it seemed to be 10 or 15 minutes before a fire Department ambulance arrived. Dr. King was apparently still living when he reached the St. Joseph’s Hospital, operating room for emergency surgery. He was borne in on a stretcher, the bloody towel over his head. It was the same emergency room to which James H. Meredith, first Negro enrolled at the University of Mississippi, was taken after he was ambushed and shot in June 1965, at Hernando, Miss., a few miles south of Memphis; Mr. Meredith was not seriously hurt.

Questions:

  1. What does the New York Times report in the headline?
  2. How is Dr. King described in the article?
  3. In your opinion, why did cities declare curfews following Dr. King’s assassination?
  4. Why was Dr. King in Memphis?

President’s Plea, On TV, He Deplores “Brutal” Murder of Negro Leader

New York Times, April 5, 1968, p. 1

President Johnson deplored tonight in a brief television address to the nation the “brutal slaying” of the Re. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He asked “every citizen to reject the blind violence that has struck Dr. King, who lived by nonviolence.” Mr. Johnson said he was postponing his scheduled departure tonight for a Honolulu conference on Vietnam and that instead he would leave tomorrow. The President spoke from the White House. At the Washington Hilton Hotel, where Democratic members of Congress had gathered to honor the President and Vice President, Mr. Humphrey, his voice strained with emotion, said: “Martin Luther King stands with other American martyrs in the cause of freedom and justice. His death is a terrible tragedy.”

Questions:

  1. How did President Johnson react to the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.?
  2. Why did Vice President Humphrey describe Dr. King as one of the “American martyrs in the cause of freedom and justice”?

A Conversation with Dr. King

MLK
  1. Where do the ideas of non-violent civil disobedience come from?

“From the beginning a basic philosophy guided the (civil rights) movement. This guiding principle has since been referred to variously as non-violent resistance, non-cooperation, and passive resistance. But in the first days of protest none of these expressions were mentioned; the phrase most often heard was “Christian love.” . . . It was Jesus of Nazareth that stirred the Negroes to protest with the creative weapon of love. As the days unfolded, however, the inspiration of Mahatma Gandhi (a leader in the struggle for independence in India) began to exert its influence. I had come to see early that the Christian doctrine of love operating through the Gandhian method of nonviolence was of the most potent (powerful) weapons available to the Negro in his struggle for freedom.”

  1. When is civil disobedience necessary?

“There is nothing wrong with a traffic law which says you have to stop for a red light. But when a fire is raging the fire truck goes right through that red light, and normal traffic had better get out of the way. Or, when a man is bleeding to death, the ambulance goes through those red lights at top speed . . . Massive civil disobedience is a strategy for social change which is at least as forceful as an ambulance with its siren on full.”

  1. Why do you choose non-violent resistance over violence?

“To accept passively an unjust system is to cooperate with that system… Non-cooperation with evil is as much an obligation as is cooperation with good. Violence often brings about momentary results . . . But . . . It solves no social problem: it merely creates new and more complicated ones.”

Questions:

  1. There was a wave of rioting in African American communities following the assassination of Dr. King. In your opinion, what would Dr. King have said to the rioters if he were alive?
  2. As you learn about the riots that followed the assassination of Dr. King, consider: Were the riots a legitimate response to King’s assassination?
  3. In your opinion, what has been the impact of the assassination of Dr. King and the riots that followed on American society?

Race Riots following the Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. (April 5-9, 1968)

Background: In the week following the death of Dr. King, riots broke out across the country. It is important to note that while Dr. King’s death may have sparked the riots, the long-standing history of racial tensions and conflicts had created an environment where violent protests were widely accepted in the wake of King’s assassination. President Johnson urged Americans to “reject the blind violence” that had killed King. Despite the President’s pleas, violence erupted and tens of thousands of National Guard, military and police officers were called on to quell the riots. By the end of the week, more than 21,000 were arrested and 2,600 injured, with 39 dead. With economic damages estimated to reach at least $65 million, entire areas and communities were destroyed. Of the 125 cities affected, Washington, Chicago and Baltimore were three that stand out amongst the rest.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2TZ_5FmnSMs

Washington D.C.

Eyewitness to the Riot

Virginia Ali (a black woman who owned a restaurant with her husband in Washington): “I remember the sadness more than anything else. The radio stations were playing hymns, and people were coming in crying. People were out of control with anger and sadness and frustration. They broke into the liquor store across the street and were coming out with bottles of Courvoisier. They had no money, these youngsters. They were coming into the Chili Bowl saying, “Could you just give us a chili dog or a chili half smoke? We’ll give you this.”

George Pelecanos (an eleven-year-old black boy living in Washington): “The biggest mistake on the administrative side was not closing the schools and the government on Friday. Fourteenth Street had burned down, and officials thought it was over. But overnight, people all over the city had started talking about what was going to happen the next day. It got around by what they called the ghetto telegraph – the stoop, the barbershops, the telephones. Very early  in the morning, the teachers and school administrators started freaking out because the students were out of control – they just started to walk out. People realized: This isn’t over. It’s just beginning, and we have to get out of here.”

Questions:

  1. Describe the scenes shown in the video. Which scene is the most powerful? Why?
  2. How are the rioters portrayed in the video?
  3. How do the people interviewed remember the riot forty years later?
  4. According to Georg Pelecanos , what was the biggest mistake by authorities?
  5. In your opinion, does Ali’s quote provide a possible explanation for the riots?
  6. After examining the video, the quotes, and the photographs, which source do you think provides the most accurate representation of the riots? Why?

Baltimore, Maryland

Eyewitness to the Riot

Ruby Glover (a Jazz singer and administrator at Johns Hopkins Hospital) – “It looked like everything was on fire. It appeared that everything that we loved and adored and enjoyed was just being destroyed. It was just hideous.”

James  Bready (editorial writer for the Evening Sun) – “We drove along North Avenue, and I remember seeing kids running along from store to store with lighted torches to touch them off. But nobody ever tried to stop the car or interfere with us. I think black people felt release after generations of ‘You mustn’t do this, you mustn’t go there, you can’t say that or think that.’ Suddenly, the lid was off.”

Tommy D’Alesandro (mayor of Baltimore during the riots) – “There was hurt within the black community that they were not getting their fair share. We were coming from a very segregated city during the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s – and it was still a segregated atmosphere.”

Questions:

  1. How does Ruby Glover remember the riots?
  2. What is James Bready’s explanation for the riots?
  3. What is Tommy D’Alesandro’s explanation for the Baltimore riots?

Chicago, Illinois

Questions:

  1. What does Richard Barnett believe is a positive outcome of these events?
  2. What is the “ragged adolescent army” described by Ben Heineman?
  3. What does Mrs. Dorsey accuse the police of doing?
Trentonian

Trenton, New Jersey

Carmen Armenti (mayor of Trenton during the riots): “This was something that was simmering in black communities for a while before our disturbances. It was not an easy time to be a public official. They were not good economic times, and there was high unemployment among African-Americans and a multitude of other frustrations for black people. Keeping the lid on racial strife was the top political priority in those days.”

Tom Murphy (a young police officer in Trenton): “I’ll never forget that scene as long as I live. They were really whacking them at us. The golf balls were hitting guys and smashing car windshields. You had to dive for cover. They ran him [another police office] over with a truck. He was lucky it had those high wheels like the ones on the SUVs we have today. If it was a car it would have killed him, but he only got hit in the head with that ‘pumpkin’ for the axle in the back of the truck.”

Questions:

  1. Why does Mayor Armenti say “it was not a good time to be a public official”?
  2. How is Murphy’s account of the riots different from others we have read?
  3. How are events portrayed in The Trentonian?
John Lindsay

New York City and Buffalo, New York

Mayor John Lindsay: “It especially depends on the determination of the young men of this city to respect our laws and the teachings of the martyr, Martin Luther King. We can work together again for progress and peace in this city and this nation, for now I believe we are ready to scale the mountain from which Dr. King saw the promised land.”

Michele Martin (A young African American girl during the 1968 riot in conversation with her FDNY father): “Why is this happening?” “They killed King.” “Why is the supermarket on fire?” They’re mad.” “Why are they mad?” “Because they killed King.” “Why can’t we go out and play?” “There’s too much going on. Maybe when things calm down.”

David Garth (Mayoral press aide): “There was a mob so large it went across 125th Street from storefront to storefront. My life is over. He [Lindsay] had no written speech. No prepared remarks. He just held up his hand and said, ‘this is a terrible thing,’ He just calmed people, and then this gigantic wave stared marching down 125th Street, and somehow Lindsay was leading it.”

False Rumors Raise City’s Fears; Racial Unrest Exaggerated April 6, 1968, New York Times, pg. 1

Mayor, Quoting King, Urges Racial Peace Here; Lindsay Calls on Negroes in City to Follow Doctrine of Using Love to Fight Hate April 6, 1968, New York Times, pg. 26

VIOLENCE ERUPTS IN BUFFALO AREA; Looting and Fire Reported in Negro East Side  April 9, 1968, New York Times, pg. 36

Questions:

  1. Why did Mayor Lindsay walk the streets and discuss the “young men of the city”?
  2. In your opinion, why did Michele Martin’s father offer such simple answers?
  3. How did David Garth feel when he and the mayor faced the rioters?

Senator Robert Kennedy Speaks to the Nation

After the assassination of Reverend King, Senator Robert Kennedy interrupted his Presidential campaign to address the nation. An audio version of the speech is available on the website of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Source: https://www.jfklibrary.org/Research/Research-Aids/Ready-Reference/RFK-Speeches/Statement-on-the-Assassination-of-Martin-Luther-King.aspx

(A) I have bad news for you, for all of our fellow citizens, and people who love peace all over the world, and that is that Martin Luther King was shot and killed tonight. Martin Luther King dedicated his life to love and to justice for his fellow human beings, and he died because of that effort. In this difficult day, in this difficult time for the United States, it is perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in. For those of you who are black–considering the evidence there evidently is that there were white people who were responsible–you can be filled with bitterness, with hatred, and a desire for revenge. We can move in that direction as a country, in great polarization–black people amongst black, white people amongst white, filled with hatred toward one another.

(B) Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand and to comprehend, and to replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand with compassion and love. For those of you who are black and are tempted to be filled with hatred and distrust at the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I can only say that I feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man. But we have to make an effort in the United States, we have to make an effort to understand, to go beyond these rather difficult times. My favorite poet was Aeschylus. He wrote: “In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.”

(C) What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence or lawlessness; but love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or they be black. So I shall ask you tonight to return home, to say a prayer for the family of Martin Luther King, that’s true, but more importantly to say a prayer for our own country, which all of us love–a prayer for understanding and that compassion of which I spoke. We can do well in this country. We will have difficult times; we’ve had difficult times in the past; we will have difficult times in the future. It is not the end of violence; it is not the end of lawlessness; it is not the end of disorder.

(D) But the vast majority of white people and the vast majority of black people in this country want to live together, want to improve the quality of our life, and want justice for all human beings who abide in our land. Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world. Let us dedicate ourselves to that, and say a prayer for our country and for our people.

Questions:

  1. What information does Senator Kennedy report”?
  2. In paragraph “B”, how does Kennedy suggest the country heal in this difficult time?
  3. According to Senator Kennedy, what did the United States need at this time?
  4. How did Senator Kennedy try to present a message of hope?

Teaching about Immigration

Alyssa Knipfing
Oceanwide High School, Oceanside, New York

Aim: Why did people immigrate to the United States? Why New York City?

Do Now: Read both passages, A & B, and answer the guiding questions to the right.

(A) Internal Immigrants: Quotas on foreign immigration unleashed a wave of internal migration between 1920 and 1965. The largest groups to move were from the U.S. south. Rural Southern blacks and whites migrated to northern and western cities seeking work in expanding factories. Many African Americans hoped to find increased freedom away from the racially segregated south. This migration created new African American communities in New York City in Harlem and Bedford Stuyvesant. Spanish-speaking Puerto Ricans came to the mainland seeking work in record numbers during these years. Because Puerto Rico was a U.S. colony, Puerto Ricans were not restricted by immigration quotas.

(B) Newest Immigrants: In 1965, the United States revised its immigration laws, making it possible for millions of new immigrants to enter the country. The newest immigrants to the United States, Brooklyn, and East New York, include tens of thousands of people from the Caribbean, South and Central America, West Africa, Eastern Europe, and Asia. These people seek work and economic, political, and religious freedom. Despite hostility that has often greeted them, many have decided to put down roots and become United States citizens.

Questions: According to Passage A, What caused the creation of new African American communities in New York City?According to Passage B, What regions did immigrants come from in the 1960s?In your opinion, do you think the benefits of living in American society outweighed the harsh realities of daily discrimination?  

The picture above is a neighborhood street in Bedford Stuyvesant (Source:https://people.hofstra.edu/alan_j_singer/294%20Course%20Pack/6.%20Immigration/115.pdf)

Directions: Read the following passages about the historical background of immigration with your groups. Answer the guiding questions in your social studies notebooks.

(C) New Arrivals: From 1840 until 1880, new European groups migrated to the United States. The Irish fled starvation and persecution by the British. In the United States they became factory workers and helped build the canals, railroads, and the labor movement. Scandinavians were farming people who largely settled in the midwest. The Germans migrated in large numbers because of war and failed revolutions. Many Germans were skilled workers and they settled in new cities. During this period there were so many German immigrants that Chicago schools taught students in German. People of German decent remain the largest ethnic group in the United States today. During this period large numbers of Chinese also migrated to the United States. They settled on the west coast where they helped to build the railroads. When the economy was strong, these new people were generally accepted. However, economic hard times brought strong anti-immigrant feelings including the spread of racist ideas. Immigrant workers were attacked, their unions were broken, and laws were passed to keep out new immigrants. In 1882 the first exclusion laws banned immigrants from China and other “undesirables.” In 1908, the United States also blocked immigration from Japan.


The map above shows the immense decrease in population in Ireland during the Irish potato famine that caused mass starvation

(source: https://people.hofstra.edu/alan_j_singer/294%20Course%20Pack/6.%20Immigration/115.pdf)

Questions for Passage C: Why did the Irish flee their homeland? What kind of work did the immigrants do in U.S.? Why did the Germans flee their homeland? How were the Irish and German immigrants treated?In your opinion, why do you think American citizens treated the immigrants so harshly? Explain.

(D) Ellis Island: Between 1880 and 1921 millions of new immigrants poured into the United States from Eastern and Southern Europe and from Mexico. They included Slavic people like Russians, Poles, and Ukrainians, Mediterranean groups like Italians, Sicilians, Greeks, Turks and Armenians, and religious groups like the Eastern European Jews. Most of these new immigrants arrived by boat in New York City through Ellis Island. They were poor people who traveled in “steerage,” along with their luggage in the hold of large steamships. Most of the new arrivals from Europe settled in Eastern coast and midwestern cities where they lived in overcrowded slums and unhealthy and unsafe tenement housing. Many did dangerous work in mines, mills, and factories. In New York City, immigrants dug the subway tunnels and water aqueducts, built the skyscrapers and bridges, and developed the garment industry. Conditions were so difficult that almost 50% of the Italians and Sicilians and over 30% of the Slavs who came to the United States eventually returned home. Many immigrants were union leaders and political activists who tried to improve conditions for poor people and workers. Mother Jones and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn were Irish. Joe Hill was Swedish. Sacco and Vanzetti were Italian. Sam Gompers, Sidney Hillman, and David Dubinsky were Jews. By 1919, anti-immigrant sentiment was growing in the United States again. Southern and Eastern European immigrants were branded as radicals and undesirables who could never become truly American. In 1921 and 1924 quota laws were passed to effectively stop immigration from these areas.   Source:https://people.hofstra.edu/alan_j_singer/294%20Course%20Pack/6.%20Immigration/115.pdf 


The picture above is showing immigrants arriving to Ellis Island

The picture above is showing immigrants being processed.

Questions for Passage D:

Where did the millions of new immigrants come from? How and where did they arrive to the United States? What kind of jobs did the immigrants have in New York City? In your opinion, why do you think those jobs were given to the immigrants?In your opinion, why do you think anti-immigrant sentiment was growing in the United States?

(E) Directions: Examine the map below and answer the “Geography Skillbuilder – Interpreting Maps” questions in your SS notebooks.

Aim: How did the Immigration Act of 1924 (Johnson-Reed Act) affect immigration into the United States?  How did it affect immigration into New York state?

Do Now: Read the historical background and answer the guiding questions in your notebooks.

Historical Background: “The Immigration Act of 1924 made the principle of national origin quotas the permanent basis for U.S. immigration policy. The Immigration Act of 1924, also known as the Johnson-Reed Act, restricted the number of immigrants from a given country to 2% of the number of residents from that same country living in the United States. The percentage quotas were strongly biased towards to the “Old Immigrants” from North-Western Europe as opposed to the “New Immigrants” from South-Eastern Europe. The Immigration Act of 1924 shut the ‘Golden Door’ to America and 87% of immigration permits (visas) went to immigrants from Britain, Ireland, Germany, and Scandinavia. The law completely excluded immigrants from Asia. Calvin Coolidge was the 30th American President who served in office from August 2, 1923 to March 4, 1929. One of the important events during his presidency was the Immigration Act of 1924.”

Source: http://www.american-historama.org/1913-1928-ww1-prohibition-era/immigration-act-of-1924.htm

Directions: With your shoulder partners, read and examine the following boxes about the legislation’s causes and effects. Discuss the importance of the act and how it impacted immigration from foreign lands into the United States. Then, write a brief paragraph about the concept of justice in regards to both of the parties involved: Was the act fair to American citizens? Was the act fair to immigrants? Was the United States justified in their decision to pass this act limiting and restricting immigration from certain lands? Explain your thoughts to the aforementioned questions by using supporting evidence from the surrounding boxes.

Questions:

  1. What was the Immigration Act of 1924?
  2. Why was the Immigration Act of 1924 passed?
  3. What was an important effect of the legislation?
  4. In your opinion, do you think President Calvin Coolidge’s support for this legislation helped or hurt the United States? Explain your opinion with evidence from the passage.

Reasons Why the Immigration Act of 1924 Was Passed:

  • Immigration levels between 1900-1920 had soared, reaching over 14 million new immigrants into America
  • The Dillingham Commission Report had inflamed racial prejudice towards immigrants from South-Eastern Europe creating discrimination between Old and New Immigrants
  • The Eugenics Movement, the pseudo-science supported by highly prominent and influential people, fueled anti-immigrant and racist beliefs in America
  • The 1919 recession and high unemployment had led to strikes, violence and riots that prompted the Red Scare in America
  • Nativism and xenophobia in America led to a wave of anti-immigration hysteria that swept the country – the government became under enormous pressure to restrict immigration

Why was the Immigration Act of 1924 important?

→ Consolidates US laws Restricting Immigration
The Immigration Act of 1924 consolidated the principles of the following acts and made them permanent features of US law to restrict Immigration:

● The 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act 
● The Immigration Act of 1907
● The Immigration Act of 1917 (Asiatic Barred Zone)
● The 1921 Emergency Quota Act
● The National Origins Act of 1924

Assignment: Based upon the data shown in the table above, describe what happened to the New York City population from 1900 to 1930. Make sure to describe the trends before the Immigration Act of 1924 was passed and what happened to the demographics in New York after it passed. Explain in about 150 words what was happening using data to support your claims. Record your response in your social studies notebook.

Directions: Read the passage below and examine the data table to the right with your partners. Then, answer the guiding questions in your social studies notebooks.

Who Was Shut Out? Immigration Quotas, 1925-1927

In response to growing public opinion against the flow of immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe in the years following World War I, Congress passed first the Quota Act of 1921 then the even more restrictive Immigration Act of 1924 (the Johnson-Reed Act). Initially, the 1924 law imposed a total quota on immigration of 165,000—less than 20 percent of the pre-World War I average. It based ceilings on the number of immigrants from any particular nation on the percentage of each nationality recorded in the 1890 census—a blatant effort to limit immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe, which mostly occurred after that date. In the first decade of the 20th century, an average of 200,000 Italians had entered the United States each year. With the 1924 Act, the annual quota for Italians was set at less than 4,000. This table shows the annual immigration quotas under the 1924 Immigration Act. Source: http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5078

Aim: How did the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 (Hart-Celler Act) affect immigration into the United States?

Do Now: Read the following passages and answer the guiding questions in your social studies notebook.

Passage A: The 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, for the first time in American history, accepted immigrants of all nationalities on a roughly equal basis. The law eliminated the use of national-origin quotas, under which the overwhelming majority of immigrant visas were set aside for people coming from northern and western Europe.

Passage B: The pattern of U.S. immigration changed dramatically. The share of the U.S. population born outside the country tripled and became far more diverse. Seven out of every eight immigrants in 1960 were from Europe; by 2010, nine out of ten were coming from other parts of the world. The 1965 Immigration Act was largely responsible for that shift. No law passed in the 20th century altered the country’s demographic character quite so thoroughly.

Questions:

  1. According to Passage A, What was the main goal of the new legislation in 1965?
  2. According to Passage B, What was the ratio of immigrants from Europe in the 1960s?
  3. In your opinion, what are the major differences between the Immigration Act of 1924 we studied earlier and this piece of immigration legislation?

President Lyndon B. Johnson sits at his desk on Liberty Island in New York Harbor as he signs a new immigration bill, October 1965.

Source:https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/10/immigration-act-1965/408409/

Directions: Examine the following sources with your groups and answer the guiding questions in your social studies notebooks.

Questions: How many immigrants (in millions) consisted of the U.S. population in 1960?Why did immigration into the U.S. increase from 1970 to 1990?In your opinion, why do you think the Census Bureau projects a steady increase of immigrants until the year 2060?

DOC #1 Source: https://cis.org/Report/HartCeller-Immigration-Act-1965

DOC #3 Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_Americans#/media/File:Chinese_Population_USA.jpg

Percentage of Chinese population in the United States, 2000:

Questions: According to the map, Which American states have the greatest Chinese populations? Which have the smallest Chinese populations?Which major American cities are well-renowned for their Chinese populations? How do you know? [Hint: think of America’s many “Chinatowns”]. In your opinion, What do you think this map will look like in the next fifty years? Explain your thoughts.

DOC #4 Source: http://www.pewhispanic.org/2015/09/28/chapter-5-u-s-foreign-born-population-trends/

U.S. Foreign-Born Population Trends: Modern Immigration Wave Brings 59 Million to U.S., Driving Population Growth and Change Through 2065 – SHIFT IN ORIGINS

In 1960, 8.2 million immigrants from Europe and Canada were living in the U.S. By 2013, that number had fallen to 5.9 million. Over the same period, the number of immigrants who were born in South or East Asia increased almost thirtyfold, from about 400,000 in 1960 to 10.7 million in 2013. Immigrants from Mexico are not far behind, with about 20 times as many Mexican immigrants in 2013 (11.6 million) as there were in 1960 (600,000).

Questions: According to the pie-graph, Where in the world were immigrants predominantly coming from in 1960? Percentage? What are the four major regions where immigrants came from in the year 2013? Percentages? In your opinion, what do you think this pie-graph will look like in the next fifty years? Explain your thoughts

DOC #5 Source: http://www.pewhispanic.org/2015/09/28/chapter-5-u-s-foreign-born-population-trends/

U.S. Foreign-Born Population Trends: Modern Immigration Wave Brings 59 Million to U.S., Driving Population Growth and Change Through 2065 – TOP COUNTRIES OF BIRTH

Looking at the top countries of origin among immigrants in the U.S. by state, there is a shift from 1960 to 2013. In 1960, while Mexico was the biggest country of origin in the border states (California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas), Canada and European countries such as Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom dominated the rest of the country. In 2013, Mexico was the top country of origin in 33 states, encompassing most of the West, South and Midwest. Immigrants in the remaining states have diverse origins, including the Caribbean, Central America, Canada, South and East Asia and Africa.

Questions:

  • According to the data table above, from rank #1 to rank #3, Which countries were the top birthplaces of immigrants in:
    • 1960?
    • 1990?
    • 2013?
    • What type of United States legislation do you think was responsible for the change in birthplace origins of immigrants into the United States? Explain why.
    • In your opinion, Which country/countries do you think will be the most popular place immigrants will come from in 2050? Explain your thoughts.

t

Teaching about Slavery in the Fifth Grade

Alan Singer
Hofstra University

United States history is usually taught in fifth grade. One of the more difficult topics to teach with sensitivity and critically is about the enslavement of African Americans in British North America and the United States. Elementary school teachers that I work with often have only a superficial knowledge of history at best, particularly topics like slavery, which means that if they decide to teach about it they are drawn to packaged lessons. Many are afraid to even touch the topic because of news stories about teachers challenged by parents and administrators, and even removed, because of inappropriate lessons.

In response, I developed a series of full class and group based lessons. While I think it is important to help students understand the horror and injustice of enslavement, they also need to learn how people, both Black and white, risked their lives in the struggle to end it. A focus on abolitionists also addresses other key social studies goals including understanding what it means to be an active citizen in a democratic society and writing more women into the history curriculum.

I use a close reading and textual analysis of three songs from slavery days, “All the Pretty Little Horses,” “Go Down Moses,” and “Follow the Drinking Gourd”, to introduce three major themes. “All the Pretty Little Horses”is the story of a mother separated from her child and is about the sorry and injustice of being enslaved. “Go Down Moses” is a religious allegory, nominally about the enslavement of Israelites in Egypt, but really about the desire of enslaved Africans for freedom. “Follow the Drinking Gourd” tells the story of the Underground Railroad as a pathway to freedom. Versions of the songs are available on Youtube. I recommend Odetta singing “All the Pretty Little Horses,” Paul Robeson singing “Go Down Moses,” and Richie Havens’ version of “Follow the Drinking Gourd.”

Virginia Hamilton’s story “The People Could Fly” lends itself to reenactment as a play. It introduces slavery as an oppressive work system, explores the horrors of enslavement, and shows the resistance to bondage. Based on a traditional folktale, it ends with enslaved Africans on a cotton plantation in the South rediscovering the magic of flight to escape enslavement and return to Africa. I have performed this play successfully with students in grades 5 to 8. Some classes have opened and closed with performances of African dance.

The package “Abolitionists who fought to end slavery” opens with a full class lesson on abolitionists. It includes an early photograph that records an anti-slavery meeting in August 1850 in Cazenovia, New York. The meeting was called to protest against a proposed new federal Fugitive Slave law. Participants in the meeting included Frederick Douglass. The lesson includes a map of Underground Railroad routes through the New Jersey and New York. It concludes with instructions for the “Abolitionist Project.” Each team studies about one of ten leading abolitionists who fought against slavery. They produce a PowerPoint with between five and ten slides about their abolitionist’s life and achievements; create a tee-shirt, poster, or three-dimensional display featuring the life of their abolitionist; and write a poem, letter, skit, rap, or song about their abolitionist. The team’s PowerPoint and creative activities are presented to the class.

Traditional African American Songs from the Era of Slavery

A) All the Pretty Little Horses – The key to understanding this lullaby is that there are two babies.

Hush-a-bye, don’t you cry, go to sleep my little baby,

When you wake, you shall have, all the pretty little horses,

Blacks and bays, dapples and grays, all the pretty little horses.

Way down yonder, in the meadow, lies my poor little lambie,

With bees and butterflies peckin’ out its eyes,

The poor little things crying Mammy.

Questions

  1. Who are the two babies in this lullaby? Which baby is the woman singing to?
  2. Why do you think the woman was assigned to care for this baby?
  3. What does this song tell us about the experience of enslaved Africans?

B) Go Down, Moses – This song is an African American version of Exodus from the Old Testament.

When Israel was in Egypt land, Let my people go.

Oppressed so hard they could not stand, Let my people go.

Chorus- Go down, Moses, Way down in Egypt land. Tell old Pharaoh to let my people go.

“Thus spoke the Lord,” bold Moses said, Let my people go.

“If not, I’ll smite your first-born dead.” Let my people go.

Chorus- Go down, Moses, Way down in Egypt land. Tell old Pharaoh to let my people go.

Old Pharaoh said he’d go across, Let my people go.

But Pharaoh and his host were lost, Let my people go.

Chorus- Go down, Moses, Way down in Egypt land. Tell old Pharaoh to let my people go.

No more shall they in bondage toil, Let my people go.

They shall go forth with Egypt’s spoil, Let my people go.

Chorus- Go down, Moses, Way down in Egypt land. Tell old Pharaoh to let my people go.

Questions

  1. What does Moses say to Pharaoh?
  2. Why do you think enslaved African Americans sang a song about ancient Israelites?
  3. What does this song tell us about the experience of enslaved Africans?

C) Follow the Drinking Gourd– This song is supposed to contain an oral map of the Underground Railroad. The “drinking gourd” is the star constellation known as the Big Dipper.

When the sun comes up and the first quail calls, follow the drinking gourd,

For the old man is awaiting for to carry you to freedom, if you follow the drinking gourd.

Chorus- Follow the drinking gourd, follow the drinking gourd,

For the old man is awaiting for to carry you to freedom, if you follow the drinking gourd.

The river bank will make a mighty good road, the dead trees will show you the way,

Left foot, peg foot, travelin’ on, follow the drinking gourd.

Chorus- Follow the drinking gourd, follow the drinking gourd,

For the old man is awaiting for to carry you to freedom, if you follow the drinking gourd.

The river ends between two hills, follow the drinking gourd,

There’s another river on the other side, follow the drinking gourd.

Chorus- Follow the drinking gourd, follow the drinking gourd,

For the old man is awaiting for to carry you to freedom, if you follow the drinking gourd.

Questions

  1. Why does the song tell passengers on the Underground Railroad to follow the “drinking gourd”?
  2. Why would runaway slaves prefer an oral map to a written map?
  3. What does this song tell us about the experience of enslaved Africans?

__________________________________________

The People Could Fly – A Play

Based on a story from the book, The People Could Fly, American Black Folktales byVirginia Hamilton (New York: Random House, 1993)

Background: Toby and Sarah stand in the middle bending over to pick cotton. The overseer and master loom in the background, either as giant puppets or as large images on a screen (scanned from the book). A leather belt imitates the sound of a whip. The play illustrates the oppression of slavery and the desire of enslaved Africans for freedom. The play follows the original story very closely.

Cast: 12 Narrators, Sarah, Toby, Overseer, Master

Materials: Belt for cracking like a whip, baby doll for Sarah, two giant puppets (water jugs attached to a broom stick, tape on a wire hanger and provide a long sleeve shirt)

Narrator 1: They say the people could fly. Say that along ago in Africa, some of the people knew magic. And they would walk up on the air like climbing up on a gate. And they flew like blackbirds over the fields. Black, shiny wings flapping against the blue up there. Then, many of the people were captured for Slavery. The ones that could fly shed their wings. They couldn’t take their wings across the water on the slave ships. Too crowded, don’t you know. The folks were full of misery, then. Got sick with the up and down of the sea. So they forgot about flying when they could no longer breathe the sweet scent of Africa.

Narrator 2: Say the people who could fly kept their power, although they shed their wings. They kept their secret magic in the land of slavery. They looked the same as the other people from Africa who had been coming over, who had dark skin. Say you couldn’t tell anymore one who could fly from one who couldn’t. One such who could was an old man, call him Toby. And standing tall, yet afraid, was a young woman who once had wings. Call her Sarah. Now Sarah carried a babe tied to her back. She trembled to be so hard worked and scorned. The slaves labored in the fields from sunup to sundown. The owner of the slaves calling himself their Master. Say he was a hard lump of clay. A hard, glinty coal. A hard rock pile, wouldn’t be moved.

Narrator 3: His Overseer on horseback pointed out the slaves who were slowing down. So the one called Driver cracked his whip over the slow ones to make them move faster. That whip was a slice-open cut of pain. So they did move faster. Had to. Sarah hoed and chopped the row as the babe on her back slept. Say the child grew hungry. That babe started up bawling too loud. Sarah couldn’t stop to feed it. Couldn’t stop to soothe and quiet it down. She let it cry. She didn’t want to. She had no heart to croon to it.

Overseer:  “Keep that thing quiet.”

Narrator 4: The Overseer, he pointed his finger at the babe. The woman scrunched low. The Driver cracked his whip across the babe anyhow. The babe hollered like any hurt child, and the woman feel to the earth. The old man that was there, Toby, came and helped her to her feet.

Sarah: “I must go soon.”

Toby:  “Soon.”

Narrator 5:  Sarah couldn’t stand up straight any longer. She was too weak. The sun burned her face. The babe cried and cried.

Sarah: “Pity me, oh, pity me.” say it sounded like. Sarah was so sad and starving, she sat down in the row.

Overseer: “Get up, you black cow.” ”

Narrator 5: The Overseer pointed his hand, and the Driver’s whip snarled around Sarah’s legs. Her sack dress tore into rags. Her legs bled onto the earth. She couldn’t get up. Toby was there where there was no one to help her and the babe.

Sarah:  “Now, before it’s too late. Now, Father!”

Toby: “Yes, Daughter, the time is come. Go, as you know how to go!” (He raised his arms, holding them out to her. ) “Kumyali, kum buba tambe. Kumyali, kum buba tambe.”

Narrator 6: The young woman lifted one foot on the air. Then the other. She flew clumsily at first, with the child now held tightly in her arms. Then she felt the magic, the African mystery. Say she rose just as free as a bird. As light as a feather. The Overseer rode after her, hollering. Sarah flew over the fences. She flew over the woods. Tall trees could not snag her. Nor could the Overseer. She flew like an eagle now, until she was gone from sight. No one dared speak about it. Couldn’t believe it. But it was, because they that was there saw that it was.

Narrator 7: Say the next day was dead hot in the fields. A young man slave fell from the heat. The Driver come and whipped him. Toby come over and spoke words to the fallen one. The words of ancient Africa once heard are never remembered completely. The young man forgot them as soon as he heard them. They went way inside him. He got up and rolled over on the air. He rode it awhile. And he flew away. Another and another fell from the heat. Toby was there. He cried out to the fallen and reached his arms out to them.

Toby:Kum kunka yali, kum … tambe!

Narrator 8: And they too rose on the air. They rode the hot breezes. The ones flying were black and shining sticks, wheeling above the head of the Overseer. They crossed the rows, the fields, the fences, the streams, and were away.

Overseer: “Seize the old man! I heard him say the magic words. Seize him!”

Narrator 9: The one calling himself Master come running. The Driver got his whip ready to curl around old Toby and tie him up. The slaveowner took his hip gun from its place. He meant to kill old, black Toby. But Toby just laughed. Say he threw back his head.

Toby: “Hee, hee! Don’t you know who I am? Don’t you know some of us in this field? We are ones who fly!”

Narrator 10: And he sighed the ancient words that were a dark promise. He said them all around to the others in the field under the whip, “… buba yali … buba tambe …” There was a great outcrying. The bent backs straightened up. Old and young who were called slaves and could fly joined hands. Say like they would ring-sing. But they didn’t shuffle in a circle. They didn’t sing. They rose on the air. They flew in a flock that was black against the heavenly blue. Black crows or black shadows. It didn’t matter, they went so high. Way above the plantation, way over the slavery land. Say they flew away to Free-dom.

Narrator 11: And the old man, old Toby, flew behind them, taking care of them. He wasn’t crying. He wasn’t laughing. He was the seer. His gaze fell on the plantation where the slaves who could not fly waited.

Class:  “Take us with you! Take us with you!”

Narrator 11: Their looks spoke it but they were afraid to shout it. Toby couldn’t take them with him. Hadn’t the time to teach them to fly. They must wait for a chance to run.

Toby: “Goodie-bye!”

Narrator 12: The old man called Toby spoke to them, poor souls! And he was flying gone. So they say. The Overseer told it. The one called Master said it was a lie, a trick of the light. The Driver kept his mouth shut. The enslaved Africans who could not fly told about the people who could fly to their children. When they were free. When they sat close before the fire in the free land, they told it. They did so love firelight and Free-dom, and telling. They say that the children of the ones who could not fly told their children. And now, me, I have told it to you.

Abolitionists Who Fought to End Slavery

Abolitionists fought to end slavery in the United States. Some were Black and some were white. Many were religious. Some were former slaves who had escaped from bondage. Some believed the country could change peaceably. Some believed it would not change without bloodshed. Some believed abolitionists should obey the law. Some believed abolitionists should break the law. Some wanted slavery to end at once. Some thought it could end over time. They all believed slavery in the United States was wrong and must end.

A) This early photograph records an anti-slavery meeting in August 1850 in Cazenovia, New York. Abolitionists gathered to protest against a proposed new federal Fugitive Slave Act. The act would permit federal marshals to arrest and return to slavery freedom seekers who had escaped to the North. It would also punish anyone accused to helping a fugitive by providing them with food, a place to stay, or a job.

B) Cazenovia was a small town in upstate New York near Auburn, Syracuse, and Utica and just south of the Erie Canal. Participants in the convention included Frederick Douglass, Gerrit Smith, about 50 fugitive slaves, and more than 2,000 other people.

C) In the photograph, Frederick Douglass is the African American man seated by the table. Behind him with his arm raised is Gerrit Smith, a leading white abolitionist. On either side of Smith are Mary and Emily Edmonson. They escaped from slavery in 1848 but were recaptured and sent to New Orleans to be sold. The girls’ free-born father raised money to buy their freedom. The Edmonson’s attended college in the North and became active abolitionists.

D) Frederick Douglass, who was a former fugitive slave, presided over the convention. The convention closed with a “Letter to the American Slaves” that offered advice and help to slaves planning to rebel in the South and freedom-seekers who escaped to the North. In the letter they wrote:

1. “While such would dissuade [convince] you from all violence toward the slaveholder, let it not be supposed that they regard it as guiltier than those strifes [fights] which even good men are wont to justify. If the American revolutionists had excuse for shedding but one drop of blood, then have the American slaves excuse for making blood to flow.”

2. “The Liberty Party, the Vigilance Committee of New York, individuals, and companies [groups] of individuals in various parts of the country, are doing all they can, and it is much, to afford you a safe and a cheap passage from slavery to liberty.

3. Brethren [brothers], our last word to you is to bid you be of good cheer and not to despair of your deliverance. Do not abandon yourselves, as have many thousands of American slaves, to the crime of suicide. Live! Live to escape from slavery! Live to serve God! Live till He shall Himself call you into eternity! Be prayerful — be brave — be hopeful. “Lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh.” [will be soon]

The Abolitionist Project

Instructions: Each team will study one of the leading abolitionists who fought against slavery. Start with the biography sheet for your abolitionist and conduct additional research online.

For your final project each team will create:

  1. PowerPoint with between five and ten slides about your abolitionist’s life and achievements. Your team will present this in class.
  2. A tee-shirt, poster, or three-dimensional display featuring the life of your abolitionist.
  3. A poem, letter, skit, rap, or song about your abolitionist.

Frederick Douglass: An Abolitionist Who Helped End Slavery in the United States

Social Reformer, Abolitionist, Orator, Writer

1818 – Born enslaved in Maryland

1838 – Escaped from slavery

1841 – Met William Lloyd Garrison and became an active abolitionist

1845 – Published first edition of biography 1845 – Traveled to Europe to avoid re-enslavement

1847 – Returned to the United States and began publication of the abolitionist North Star in Rochester, NY

1848 – Attended the Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, NY

1859 – Met with John Brown to plan slave rebellion. Fled to Europe to escape prosecution after Harpers Ferry.

1863 – Convinced Lincoln to enlist Black troops in the Union Army

1872 – First African American nominated for Vice President of the United States

1889 – Appointed U.S. representative to Haiti

1895 – Died in Washington DC

Famous Speech: “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?”

Frederick Douglass was asked to address the citizens of Rochester at their Fourth of July celebration in 1852. This excerpt from his speech shows his great power as an orator and the strength of his opposition to slavery.

What to the American slave is your Fourth of July? I answer, a day that reveals to him more than all other days of the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass-fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are to him mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy-a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation of the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of these United States at this very hour. Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the Old World, travel through South America, search out every abuse and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the every-day practices of this nation, and you will say with me that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.

Henry Highland Garnet: An Abolitionist Who Helped End Slavery in the United States


Abolitionist, Minister, Educator and Orator

1815 – Born enslaved in Maryland

1824 – Escaped with his family to New Jersey

1825 – Family settled in New York where he attended the African Free School

1828 (?) – Slavecatchers force his family to flee Brooklyn. Garnet harbored in Smithtown, NY.

1830 – Suffered serious leg injury (later amputated)

1834 – Helped found an abolitionist society

1835 – Attended interracial Noyes Academy in Connecticut that was burned down by rioters

1839 – Graduated from Oneida Theological Institute and became a Presbyterian minister in Troy, NY

1843 – Called for slave rebellion in speech at the National Negro Convention

1849 – Called free Blacks to emigrate out of the U.S.

1852 – Moved to Jamaica as a Christian Missionary

1863 – Enlisted Blacks in the Union Army. Escaped from Draft Riots.

1865 – 1st African American to preach in Capital building

1882 – Died Monrovia, Liberia

Famous Speech: “An Address to the Slaves of the United States”

From August 21-24, 1843, a National Negro Convention was held in Buffalo, New York. Delegates included Frederick Douglass. Henry Highland Garnet delivered a very militant speech calling on enslaved Africans to revolt.

It is in your power so to torment the God-cursed slaveholders that they will be glad to let you go free. If the scale was turned, and black men were the masters and white men the slaves, every destructive agent and element would be employed to lay the oppressor low. Danger and death would hang over their heads day and night. Yes, the tyrants would meet with plagues more terrible than those of Pharaoh. But you are a patient people. You act as though, you were made for the special use of these devils. You act as though your daughters were born to pamper the lusts of your masters and overseers.

Let your motto be resistance! Resistance! RESISTANCE! No oppressed people have ever secured their liberty without resistance. What kind of resistance you had better make, you must decide by the circumstances that surround you, and according to the suggestion of expediency. Brethren, adieu! Trust in the living God. Labor for the peace of the human race, and remember that you are FOUR MILLIONS.

Gerrit Smith: An Abolitionist Who Helped End Slavery in the United States


Reformer, Abolitionist, Politician, Philanthropist

1797 – Born in Utica, NY

1818 – Graduated from Hamilton College

1819 – Managed family land-holdings in upstate NY

1828 – Became active in temperance movement

1835 – Became active as an abolitionist

1840 – Helped found anti-slavery Liberty Party

1846 – Gave land in the Adirondacks to free Blacks as homesteads

1848- His home became UGRR station

1848 – Liberty Party Candidate for President

1850s – Financially supported Frederick Douglass’ newspapers

1852 – Elected to Congress

1859 – Funded John Brown raid on Harpers Ferry

1865 – Advocated for mild treatment of the South after the Civil War

1874 – Died in New York City

Famous Speech: Statement on Slavery in Congress, April 6, 1854

Slavery is the baldest and biggest lie on earth. In reducing man to chattel, it denies, that God is God – for, in His image, made He man – the black man and the red man, as well as the white man. Distorted as our minds by prejudice, and shrivelled as are our souls by the spirit of caste, this essential equality of the varieties of the human family may not be apparent to us all.

The Constitution, the only law of the territories, is not in favor of slavery, and that slavery cannot be set up under it . . . I deny that there can be Constitutional slavery in any of the States of the American Union – future States, or present States – new or old. I hold, that the Constitution, not only authorizes no slavery, but permits no slavery; not only creates no slavery in any part of the land, but abolishes slavery in every part o the land. In other words, I hold, that there is no law for American slavery.

John Brown: An Abolitionist Who Helped End Slavery in the United States

John Brown

1800 – Born in Torrington, Connecticut

1837 – Brown commits his life to fighting to end slavery.

1849 – John Brown and his family moved to the Black community of North Elba in the Adirondack region of New York.

1855 – Brown and five of his sons organize a band of anti-slavery guerilla fighters in the Kansas territory.

1859 – John Brown and 21 other men attacked the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry. Brown was wounded, captured and convicted of treason. He was hanged on December 2, 1859.

John Brown is one of the most controversial [debated] figures in United States history. He was a conductor on the Underground Railroad and an anti-slavery guerilla fighter in Kansas. In 1859, Brown led an armed attack on a federal armory at Harpers Ferry, Virginia. His goal was to start a slave rebellion in the United States. Brown and his followers were defeated, tried and executed. While the rebellion failed, it led to the Civil War and the end of slavery in the United States.

Famous Speech:  John Brown to the Virginia Court on November 2, 1859

In the first place, I deny everything but what I have all along admitted, — the design on my part to free slaves . . . Had I so interfered in behalf of the rich, the powerful, the intelligent, the so-called great, or in behalf of any of their friends — either father, mother, sister, wife, or children, or any of that class — and suffered and sacrificed what I have in this interference, it would have been all right; and every man in this court would have deemed it an act worthy of reward rather than punishment.

The court acknowledges, as I suppose, the validity of the law of God . . . I believe that to have interfered as I have done — as I have always freely admitted I have done — in behalf of His despised poor, was not wrong, but right. Now if it is deemed necessary that I should forfeit my life for the furtherance of the ends of justice, and mingle [mix]  my blood further with the blood of my children and with the blood of millions in this slave country whose rights are disregarded by wicked, cruel, and unjust enactments. — I submit; so let it be done!

Harriet Tubman: An Abolitionist Who Helped End Slavery in the United States

Abolitionist, Political Activist, Nurse, Spy

1822 – Born enslaved in Maryland. Birth name Araminta “Minty” Ross

1834 (?) – Suffered severe head injury when she helped another slave who was being beaten

1849 – Escaped enslavement

1850s – Conductor on the UGRR

1858 – Helped John Brown plot Harpers Ferry

1859 – Establishes farm Auburn, NY

1861 – Served as a cook and nurse for Union Army

1863 – Became spy for the Union Army

1868 – Secured Civil War pension

1896 – Established an old age home

1913 – Died in Auburn, NY

Excerpt from her Biography by Sarah Bradford

Master Lincoln, he’s a great man, and I am a poor negro [African American]; but the negro can tell master Lincoln how to save the money and the young men. He can do it by setting the negro free. Suppose that was an awful big snake down there, on the floor. He bite you. Folks all scared, because you die. You send for a doctor to cut the bite; but the snake, he rolled up there, and while the doctor doing it, he bite you again. The doctor dug out that bite; but while the doctor doing it, the snake, he spring up and bite you again; so he keep doing it, till you kill him. That’s what master Lincoln ought to know.

Frederick Douglass Praises Harriet Tubman

The difference between us is very marked. Most that I have done and suffered in the service of our cause has been in public, and I have received much encouragement at every step of the way. You, on the other hand, have labored in a private way. I have wrought in the day—you in the night. … The midnight sky and the silent stars have been the witnesses of your devotion to freedom and of your heroism. Excepting John Brown—of sacred memory—I know of no one who has willingly encountered more perils and hardships to serve our enslaved people than you have.

Sojourner Truth: An Abolitionist Who Helped End Slavery in the United States

Abolitionist and Women’s Rights Activist

1797 – Born enslaved in Ulster County, NY. Her birth name was Isabella (Belle) Baumfree. She spoke Dutch before she spoke English.

1806 – Isabella was sold for the first time at age 9.

1826 – She escaped from slavery with her infant daughter.

1827 – Legally freed by New York Emancipation Act.

1828 – Sued in court to free her son who had be sold illegally to an owner in Alabama.

1843 – Isabella converted to Methodism, changed her name to Sojourner Truth, and became a travelling preacher and abolitionist.

1850 – William Lloyd Garrison published her memoir.

1851 – Sojourner Truth delivered her “Ain’t I a Woman” speech at an Ohio Women’s Rights Convention.

1850s – Spoke at many anti-slavery and women’s rights meetings

1860s – Recruited Black soldiers for the Union Army.

1870s – Campaigned for equal rights for former slaves.

1883 – Died in Battle Creek, Michigan

Famous Speech: “Ain’t I a Woman” (edited)

In May 1851, Sojourner Truth attended the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio. She delivered a speech where she demanded full and equal human rights for women and enslaved Africans. The text of the speech was written down and later published by Frances Gage, who organized the convention. In the published version of the speech Sojourner Truth referred to herself using a word that is not acceptable to use. This is an edited version of the speech.

Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter.  I think that between the Negroes [Blacks] of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon.  But what’s all this here talking about?

Then they talk about this thing in the head; what do they call it? [Intellect, someone whispers.]  That’s it, honey. What’s that got to do with women’s rights or Negro’s rights? If my cup won’t hold but a pint and yours holds a quart, wouldn’t you be mean not to let me have my little half-measure full?

Then that little man in black there, he says women can’t have as much rights as men, because Christ wasn’t a woman!  Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.

If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together . . . ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again!  And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.

David Ruggles: An Abolitionist Who Helped End Slavery in the United States

David Ruggles

1810 – Born in Lyme, Connecticut to free black parents

1815 – Attended Sabbath School for poor children in Norwich, Connecticut.

1826 – Moved to New York City and operated a grocery store.

1830 – Opened the first African-American bookstore.

1835 – Organized the New York Vigilance Committee.

1835 – A white anti-abolitionist mob assaulted Ruggles and burned his bookstore.

1838- Helped Frederick Douglass during his escape from slavery.

1842 – Became very ill and almost completely blind

1849 – Died in Northampton, Massachusetts

A Letter from David Ruggles

David Ruggles wrote this letter to the editor of a New York newspaper, Zion’s Watchman, It was reprinted in The Liberator by William Lloyd Garrison in October 1837. The New York Vigilance Committee helped enslaved Africans to escape and free Blacks arrested and accused of being runaway slaves.

I suppose, not one in a thousand of your readers can be aware of the extent to which slavery prevails even in the so-called free state of New York. Within the last four weeks, I have seen not less than eleven different persons who have recently been brought from the south, and who are now held as slaves by their masters in this state; as you know the laws of this state allow any slaveholder to do this, nine months at a time; so that when the slave has been here nine months, the master has only to take him out of the state, and then return with him immediately, and have him registered again, and so he may hold on to the slave as long as he lives. Some of the slaves whom I have recently seen are employed by their masters, some are loaned, and others hired out; and each of the holders of these slaves whom I have seen are professors of religion!!

Jermain Loguen: An Abolitionist Who Helped End Slavery in the United States

Abolitionist, UGRR Station Master, Bishop

1814 – Born enslaved in Tennessee. His biological father owned Jermain and his mother.

1834 – Escaped to Canada on the UGRR

1837 – Studied at the Oneida Institute

1840s – An AME Zion minister, he established schools for Black children in Syracuse and Utica. His home in Syracuse was UGRR station.

1850 – Speech denounced Fugitive Slave Law

1851 – Breaks the Fugitive Slave Law helping a freedom seeker escape from prison to Canada

1859 – Published his autobiography

1868 – Appointed Bishop in the AME Zion Church

1872 – Died in Syracuse, NY

Famous Speech: Reverend Jermain Loguen Denounces the Fugitive Slave Law (1850)

I was a slave; I knew the dangers I was exposed to. I had made up my mind as to the course I was to take. On that score I needed no counsel, nor did the colored citizens generally. They had taken their stand – they would not be taken back to slavery. If to shoot down their assailants should forfeit their lives, such result was the least of the evil. They will have their liberties or die in their defense.

I don’t respect this law – I don’t fear it – I won’t obey it! It outlaws me, and I outlaw it, and the men who attempt to enforce it on me. I place the governmental officials on the ground that they place me. I will not live a slave, and if force is employed to re-enslave me, I shall make preparations to meet the crisis as becomes a man. If you will stand by me- and believe you will do it, for your freedom and honor are involved as well as mine- it requires no microscope to see that- I say if you will stand with us in resistance to this measure, you will be the saviours (sic) of your country. Your decision tonight in favor of resistance will give vent to the spirit of liberty, and will break the bands of party, and shout for joy all over the North. Your example only is needed to be the type of public action in Auburn, and Rochester, and Utica, and Buffalo, and all the West, and eventually in the Atlantic cities. Heaven knows that this act of noble daring will break out somewhere- and may God grant that Syracuse be the honored spot, whence it shall send an earthquake voice through the land!

William Lloyd Garrison: An Abolitionist Who Helped End Slavery in the United States

Abolitionist, Journalist, Women’s Rights

1805 – Born in Massachusetts

1828 – Active in Temperance campaigns

1831 – Started publication of the anti-slavery newspaper The Liberator

1832- Organized the New England Anti-Slavery Society

1835 – Nearly lynched after speaking at an anti-slavery rally in Boston.

1840 – Demanded that women be allowed to participate in all abolitionist activities.

1841 – Starts working with Frederick Douglass after meeting at an anti-slavery rally.

1850 – Garrison and Douglass disagree whether slavery could be defeated through electoral means.

1854 – Garrison burned a copy of the Constitution calling it a pro-slavery document.

1870s – Garrison campaigns for full and equal rights for Blacks and women.

1879 – Died in New York City

Famous Essay: 1st Editorial in The Liberator

William Lloyd Garrison was a radical abolitionist who demanded an immediate end to slavery. This excerpt is from the initial editorial in The Liberator. It was published January 1, 1831.

I determined, at every hazard, to lift up the standard of emancipation in the eyes of the nation . . . That standard is now unfurled; and long may it float . . . till every chain be broken, and every bondman set free! Let southern oppressors tremble . . . let all the enemies of the persecuted blacks tremble. 

Assenting to the “self-evident truth” maintained in the American Declaration of Independence, “that all men are created equal, and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights — among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” I shall strenuously contend for the immediate enfranchisement of our slave population.

I am aware that many object to the severity of my language; but is there not cause for severity? I will be as harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject, I do not wish to think, or speak, or write, with moderation. No! No! Tell a man whose house is on fire to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hands of the ravisher; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen; — but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present. I am in earnest — I will not equivocate — I will not excuse — I will not retreat a single inch — and I will be heard.

Angelina Grimké Weld: An Abolitionist Who Helped End Slavery in the United States        

Abolitionist, Feminist, Educator

1805 – Born in Charleston, South Carolina. Her parents were major slaveholders.

1826 – Became a Sunday school teacher in the Presbyterian church..

1829 – Spoke against slavery at a church service and she was expelled from membership..

1835 – Joined the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society.

1836 – A letter published in The Liberator made her a well-known abolitionist.

1837 – Helped organize the Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women.

1838 – In Boston, she became the 1st woman in the United States to speak before a state legislature. Threatened by a mob when she spoke at a Philadelphia anti-slavery rally.

1838 – Married abolitionist Theodore Weld and together they operated schools in New Jersey

1879 – Died at Hyde Park, Massachusetts

“Appeal to the Christian Women of the South”

Angelina Grimké was a religious Christian. Her religious beliefs convinced her to become an abolitionist. In her 1836 letter published in The Liberator, she wrote that abolition was a “cause worth dying for.” In her writing and speeches she appealed to other Christians to join the anti-slavery campaign. In 1837, she published a pamphlet that urged Southern white women, in the name of their Christian beliefs, to help end slavery.

I appeal to you, my friends, as mothers; Are you willing to enslave your children? You start back with horror and indignation at such a question. But why, if slavery is no wrong to those upon whom it is imposed? Why, if as has often been said, slaves are happier than their masters, free from the cares and perplexities of providing for themselves and their families? Why not place your children in the way of being supported without your having the trouble to provide for them, or they for themselves? Do you not perceive that as soon as this golden rule of action is applied to yourselves that you involuntarily shrink from the test; as soon as your actions are weighed in this balance of the sanctuary that you are found wanting? Try yourselves by another of the Divine precepts, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Can we love a man as we love ourselves if we do, and continue to do unto him, what we would not wish any one to do to us?

Student Take-Over at Columbia University

Student Take-Over at Columbia University  

by Kyle Novak

A. Life was different at Columbia University in 1968. There was a war and a draft. There were ROTC drills on South Field, military and CIA recruiters on campus. The Civil Rights movement, led by the Black Panthers, captured students’ imaginations. Dr. King had just been killed and the cities were in flames. You couldn’t ignore all this.

columbia-722

B. On April 23, several hundred students gathered at the sundial on the Columbia campus to protest the Vietnam War because the university had a relationship with the Institute for Defense Analyses and supported other war related activities, such as ROTC drills on campus. The students were also outraged by the lack of sensitivities of black New Yorkers, as the University attempted to construct a gym that usurp a portion of Morningside Park and be accessible to neighboring Harlem residents mainly through an ignominious (embarrassing) back door.

C. By morning, African American students continued to occupy Hamilton, while other Columbia and Barnard students, mostly white, took over President Grayson Kirk’s office in Low Library. Soon student protesters took over three other buildings—Fayerweather, Mathematics, and Avery. The protesters were demonized as ill-tempered and self-righteous radicals who resorted to militant disruption when other means of protest were still available. On April 30th, the New York City police arrested more than 700 protesters.

Questions:

  1. In Paragraph A, what couldn’t be ignored at Columbia University?
  2. According to Paragraph B, what groups led the protest on April 23?
  3. What happened to the students in Paragraph C?
  4. How were the students described in Paragraph C?
  5. In your opinion, Is this an accurate description of the events? Why?
  6. In your opinion, did the students act appropriately? If not, what could they have done differently?
Sources: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/computinghistory/1968/
http://www.columbia1968.com/history/#more
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/17/nyregion/columbia-university-1968-protests.html

NY Times: 300 protesting Columbia Students Barricade Office of College Dean (April 24, 1968)

A. Three-hundred chanting students barricaded the Dean of Columbia College in his office yesterday to protest the construction of a gymnasium in Morningside Park and a defense oriented program participated in by Columbia University.

columbia-uprising-1968-2

B. The students say that construction of the gymnasium would be “racist” because it would deprive Negroes in the area of recreational facilities. The charge against the defense program, the Institute for Defense Analysis, was that it supported the war effort in Vietnam.

C. The protest, organized by the leftist Students for a Democratic Society, had the support of other Columbia campus groups. Representatives of several Negro organizations unrelated to Columbia joined the protest.

D. The protesters marched throughout the campus, where Mr. Mark Rudd addressed the group at the sundial. “We’re going to have to take a hostage to make them let go of I.D.A and let go of the gym” he shouted.

Questions:

  1. What was occurring in  Paragraph A?
  2. According to  Paragraph B, why were the students protesting?
  3. What does Mark Rudd suggest in Paragraph D?
  4. In your opinion, how would Civil Rights organizations impact the protest?

NY Times Editorial: Hoodlumism at Columbia (April 25, 1968)

The destructive minority of students at Columbia University, along with their not so friendly allies among community militants, have offered a degrading spectacle of hoodlum tactics-the exaltation of irresponsibility over reason. Whatever causes these students to claim to be supporting have been defiled by their vandalism.

The student action, organized by the extremist forces of the Students for a Democratic Society, sabotages that search for a constructive course. By turning down the administration’s invitation to discuss their grievances and demands, the self-styled student leaders have shown their true purpose of disruption.

Massive student participation in the Presidential campaign has given a persuasive demonstration that young people can apply their political power in meaningful ways through legitimate and legal forms of expression. The students at Columbia and elsewhere, undermine academic freedom and the free society itself by resorting to such junta methods as wrecking the university President’s office and holding administrators and trustees as hostages.

columbia-4

Questions:

  1. According to the editorial, what has vandalism done to the protest?
  2. In Paragraph B, how does the editorial describe the Students for a Democratic Society?
  3. In Paragraph C, how does the author characterize the student participation in the presidential campaign?
  4. Do you agree or disagree with the editorial depiction of the student strike? Explain.

NY Times: Columbia Halting Work on its Gym (April 26, 1968)

Columbia 5 harlem protest

Columbia University announced early this morning that it’s halting work on the gymnasium that had set off a student protest. It also said it was closing the university until Monday, and was postponing and police action on campus. Despite the announcement students remained in the buildings they had occupied.

Yesterday afternoon, Dr. Grayson Kirk, the university president, refused to grant demonstrating students their key demand- an amnesty covering all participants in the protest, which is primarily directed against the construction of a new gymnasium in Morningside Park.

Complicating efforts to end the campus dispute was a split between Negro students holding Hamilton Hall and white students led by the Students for a Democratic Society holding the other three buildings and conducting picketing.

Student leaders and university sources said that although the objectives of the two groups were largely similar, they had broken over tactics, with the Negroes advocating more militancy than the whites were prepared to accept.

Questions:

  • According to Paragraph B, what did Dr. Kirk refuse to grant?
  • What is complicating efforts to end the dispute based off the information in paragraph C?
  • In your opinion, why did Dr. Kirk not want to grant amnesty to the protesters?
  • How do you think the student groups were able to continue the protest for several days despite having different tactics?

Times Editorial: Citadel of Reason (April 29, 1968)

A. It was apparent from the start that the youthful junta which has substituted dictatorship by temper tantrum for undergraduate democracy neither cared about nor has received support from the majority of students. That isolated it from even the shadow of moral right to demand amnesty for its irresponsibility.

B. But Columbia’s slowness to do what it is now doing should not permit the rebels slogans to obscure the facts underlying the present test. The university administration offered to discuss all grievances with the dissidents before they staged their coup.

Questions:

  1. What is the definition of “junta” in paragraph A?
  2. What is the opinion of the author in paragraph A?
  3. According to paragraph B, How did the university attempt to address the protesters?
  4. In your opinion, is this excerpt biased? Provide evidence supporting your opinion.

NY Times: 1,000 Police Move onto Columbia Campus to Oust Students (April 30, 1968)

As the hour for the police assault approached, tension mounted sharply on the campus as groups of students held informal meetings. At 1:45am, when word reached Mathematics building that “a bust” or police raid, was imminent, student demonstrators began strengthening their barricades and girding themselves for the assault. The police commanders were said to be carrying written instructions from Police commissioner Howard R. Leary to use necessary force but to show restraint in their handling of the students. The police acted in response to a request from the administration of the university it was understood. Under normal procedure, the police would take no action on the campus, which is private property, unless formally authorized to do so by university officials.

Question: In your opinion, should police have been called to oust the student demonstrators? Explain.

Questions:

columbia-1968-protests
  1. What is happening in the photo?
  2. Based on the description above and the photo, would you have participated in the take-over if you were a student at Columbia?
  3. How long did the protest last?
  4. What is the definition of “amnesty” on April 27?
  5. In your opinion, did school administrators and the the police act appropriately on April 30th? Why or why not?

Timeline of Events

Tuesday April 23Noon: SDS sundial rally2:00 pm: Sit-in begins in Hamilton Hall, Dean Henry Coleman restrained by students2:50 pm: 6 Demands formulated, students refuse to leave until demands are met
Wednesday April 246:15 am: Students break into Low Library3:30 pm: Dean Coleman released8:00 pm: Administration makes unsuccessful compromise offer
Thursday April 252:00 am: Fayweather Hall occupied by Students4:00 pm: Ad Hoc Faculty Group, first proposals to end demonstrations8:00 pm: Strikers reject Ad Hoc Faculty proposals
Friday April 261:05 am: Mathematics Hall occupied by Students3:20 am: Gym construction suspended, police action cancelled1:10 pm: H. Rap Brown and Stokley Carmichael enter campus
Saturday April 271:00 am: Mark Rudd rejects mediation that does not include amnesty for striking students11:30 am: Faculty cordon around Low Library established to prevent access to demonstrators
Sunday April 288:00 am: Ad Hoc Faculty group announces final resolution6:00 pm: Demonstrators attempt to pass food through counter-demonstrators cordon into Low Library
Monday April 296:30 pm: Strikers reject final resolution
Tuesday April 305:30 am: NYCPD remove students from occupied buildings and clear campus, 712 arrested, 148 injured8:00 pm: Students hold strike meeting in Wollman Auditorium

Teaching the Movie “All Quiet on the Western Front”

Karen Snyder

OBJECTIVES: Students will judge if All Quiet on the Western Front accurately portrays the ways young men were influenced to join armies in World War I. They will view a section of the film, All Quiet on the Western Front, and judge whether it accurately portrays the costs of war and the attitude towards war. Students will be able to judge the physical and psychological pressures placed on the soldiers in the trenches. Through a gallery walk, they will be able to determine the effects of World War I and evaluate whether the war was worth the costs.

LESSON 1 AIM: How were young men influenced to join the war effort?

Activity 2: Segment from All
Quiet on the Western Front.
Answer the following questions as you view the video. (Beginning of him to shot of empty classroom –
eight minutes – 0:00 – 9:45)

1. What are some of the phrases
that the professor uses to urge to boys to enlist?

2. What are some of the images that the boys have of soldiers?

3. What are the boy’s feelings as
they throw their books around and march out of the room?

4. What does the empty classroom symbolize?

5. How does the speech by the
Professor reflect German
nationalism?

6. The Professor said, “I believe it will be a quick war, with few
losses.” How does this opinion
reflect the views of most Europeans about World War I?
Professor Kantorek’s speech:
“Now, my beloved class, this is
what we must do. Strike with all
our power. Give every ounce of
strength to win victory before the
end of the year. It is with
reluctance that I bring this subject up again. You are the life of the
fatherland, you boys. You are the
iron men of Germany. You are the gay heroes who will repulse the
enemy when you are called upon
to do so. It is not for me to suggest
that any of you should stand up
and offer to defend his country. But I wonder if such a thing is going
through your heads. I know that in one of the schools the boys have
risen up in the classroom and
enlisted in a mass. But, of course, if such a thing should happen here
you would not blame me for a
feeling of pride. Perhaps some will say that you should not be allowed to go yet that you are too young, –
that you have homes, mothers,
fathers – that you should not be
torn away. Are your fathers so
forgetful of their fatherland that
they would let it perish? Are your mothers so weak that they cannot
send a son to defend the land
which gave them birth? And after
all, is a little experience such a bad thing for a boy?

Is the honor of wearing a uniform something from which we should
run? And if our young ladies glory
in those who wear it is that
anything to be ashamed of? I know you have never desired the
adulation of heroes. That has not
been part of my teaching. We have sought to make ourselves worthy
and let a claim come when it
would. But to be foremost in battle is a virtue not to be despised.
I believe it will be a quick war that there will be few losses. But if
losses there must be then let us
remember the Latin phrase which must have come to the lips of many a Roman when he stood embattled in a foreign land: ‘Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.’ ‘Sweet and
fitting it is to die for the
fatherland.’ Some of you may have ambitions. I know of one young
man who has great promise as a
writer and he has written the first act of a tragedy which would be a
credit to one of the masters. And he is dreaming, I suppose of following in the footsteps of Goethe and
Schiller, and I hope he will. But
now our country calls. The
fatherland needs leaders. Personal ambition must be thrown aside in
the one great sacrifice for our
country. Here is a glorious
beginning to your lives. The field of honor calls you. Why are we here? You, Kropp, what has kept you
back? You, Mueller, you know how much you are needed? Ah, I see
you look at your leader. And I, too,
look to you, Paul Baumer and I
wonder what you are going to
do.”
Activity 3: Joining the Army
Even before the United States
entered World War I, many young people were eager to become part
of the action. One was Alphonzo
Bulz, a teenager in Western Texas who later served in Europe with
the 36th (Texas) National Guard
Division. Here he tells about how
he learned about the war and
decided to join the army.  
Questions:
1. Why did Alphonzo Bulz want to join the war?

2. In what ways did wartime
propaganda influence Bulz’s decision to join the army?

3. How is this propaganda similar
to the arguments used by the
Professor in the film, and in “A Call for Arms”?  
 “We didn’t have the radio and TV the way we do today. Why, we got
our information from what we
used to call the ‘drummers.’ These were the [salesmen] who’d go
through all the towns in places like West Texas selling all the
merchants their merchandise. They would paint such a dark picture
[of] what was going on there that
we all felt the Kaiser was going to
invade America. And all those awful things the Germans were doing to the Belgians. . . Then we’d hear
how they were riling up the
Mexicans so that they’d want to
fight us. I was only seventeen then, but I thought I better go over there and fight so that I wouldn’t be no
slave to any foreign country. Of c
ourse, my family wasn’t about to
let me go, so one day I stopped off
at the baker’s shop on my way to
high school. He was a good buddy
of mine, so I left my books at his
shop and told him to hold them for me because I was going to be gone a couple of days. A couple of days – that was a funny one. I was gone about two years. Now, I didn’t have any money, so I went down to the
railroad yard and hopped a freight train to Waco, then grabbed
another to [Fort] Worth. I told the
recruiting sergeant there that I was twenty-one. I lied you see; I had to get in. I told him I wanted to join
the infantry so I could fight those
Germans, and they said fine. Well, when my daddy found out where I was, he came down to get me to
come back home. ‘Al,’ he pleaded, ‘We need you at home. What do
you want to go over there to France for, get all shot full of holes? We
love you at home, boy.’ ‘No, Dad,’ I answered, ‘I don’t want to go back home. I want to go to war, show the Kaiser that he can’t fool around
with Americans.’ Poor Dad, he tried so hard for about an hour to get me to go home. But finally he gave
up. ‘Well, son, if that’s the way you feel,” he said, “remember one
thing: if you love God and your
country, and you do your duty,
you’ll come back safe.’ And he was right.” Source: Berry, H. (ed.) Make the Kaiser Dance: Living Memories of a Forgotten War: The American Experience in World War I, pp. 291-295

LESSON 2 AIM: How did the attitude of soldiers change after being in battle?

  Activity 1: Students read the
poem “The Soldier” silently
followed by the class reading the
poem aloud.
If I should die, think only this of
me:
That there’s some corner of a
foreign field
That is ever England.
There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust
concealed;
A dust whom England bore,
shaped, made aware,
Gave, once her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England’s, breathing
English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by the suns of home.
And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no
less
Gives somewhere back the
thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams
happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness
In hearts at peace, under an
English heaven.

Source: Brooke, Rupert
The Complete Poems of Rupert
Brooke (1933)
Activity 2: Segment from All
Quiet on the Western Front.
Soldier: (shocked) Dead. He’s dead.

Katczinsky: Why did you risk your life bringing him in?

Soldier: But it’s Behm, my friend.

Katczinsky: (admonishing) It’s a
corpse, no matter whose it is.
Questions
1. What are the soldiers doing?
2. Why were the boys surprised at their friend’s death?
3. What does Katczinsky mean?
4. Who is right in the dialogue
when the boys bring back Behm’s
body?
Activity 3:
“Dulce Et Decorum Est.”
  Questions
A. Distribute the poem and have
students read it alone. Answer
any questions about the
vocabulary. When the students are ready, read the poem aloud as a
class.

B. Read the questions first so that
it is clear what they are to look
for.

C. Put students into pairs. Have
each group answer one of the
following questions, quoting the
lines that support their
answers.

Questions
1. Where is the poet going? Where has he come from? (To their
“distant rest.”
They have travelled from the
front line: “Till the haunting flares we turned our backs.”)

2. How did he and the other
soldiers feel? (Very tired – “Drunk with fatigue”)

3. How do the soldiers look?
(Like old beggars; weak and
malnourished; knock-kneed,
covered in blood:
“Blood-shod”, in bare feet and
barely able to walk “Many had lost their boots/ but limped on. . . all
lame”)

4. What do the soldiers try to
do to protect themselves? (put on
their gas masks: “An ecstasy of
fumbling / Fitting the clumsy
helmets just in time”)

5. Does every man mange to fit his helmet in time? (No: “But someone still was yelling out and
stumbling”)

6 What happens to the man? (He
dies in agony: “flound’ring like a
man in fire or lime”)

7 What lasting effect does this
incident have on Owen? (He still
sees the man in his dreams: In all my dreams, before my helpless
sight, / He plunges at me”)

8 What is Owen’s final message? (If you saw such a thing you would
never repeat the slogan, Dulce at
Delcorum Est – there is no glory in war)  
“Dulce Et Decorum Est”
Source: C. Day Lewis, ed., The Collected Poems of Wilfred Owen (1963)
Bent double, like old beggars
under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags,
we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we
turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep.

Many had lost their boots But
limped on, blood-shod. All went
lame; all blind; Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots Of tired, out stripped Five-Nines that dropped
behind. Gas! Gas! Quick boys! –An ecstasy of fumbling, Fitting the
clumsy helmets just in time; But
someone still was yelling out and
stumbling And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime. . . Dim, through the misty panes and thick green
light, As under a green sea, I saw
him drowning. In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, He
plunges at me, guttering, choking,
drowning. If in some smothering
dreams you too could pace Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face, His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin; If you could
hear, at every jolt, the blood Come gargling from the froth-corrupted
lungs, Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, — My friend,
you would not tell with such high
zest To children ardent for some
desperate glory, The Old Lie: Dulce et Decorum est Pro patria mori.* * (“It is fitting and proper to die for one’s country.”

Culminating Activity: Using their notes, the students will write several paragraphs explaining who they think was right.

LESSON 3 AIM: What were some of the emotional costs of the war?

Activity 1: Discuss the
psychological pressures that can
lead to insanity
1. Distribute the handout,
“Psychiatrists Case Study”

2. As students watch the film, they are to fill out the case study. They
are psychiatrists and are to write a clinical description of the conditions the soldiers are exposed to.

3. Show the film from the death of
their friend to the point where the soldiers are about to attack.
(Chapter Seven – 10 minutes – 26:35 – 36:35)

4. Have the students describe the
conditions in the trenches.

5. Start the film again, run it until the fade out. (Chapter Seven – seven minutes – 36:35 – 43:35) What
were the soldiers exposed to? How could this exposure lead to “shell shock?” Discussion.  
“A Psychiatrist’s Case Study” There has been an outbreak of
“shell-shock” in the German army. This is a situation where soldiers go insane. You have been called in to
complete a study of the conditions
that the soldiers face in the
trenches. Describe what you see the soldiers exhibiting as you watch
the film clip.
Physical Conditions:
Chance of injury:
Food:
Weather – it’s effect on the
soldiers:
Sleeping conditions and the effect
of these:
Privacy (or lack of) and its effect: Deaths and their effect:  
Summary: Each student will
pretend that they are a soldier in
World War I fighting in the
trenches, and are trying to describe this warfare to a loved one at
home. They may use any media
they want, e.g. letter, poetry, song, artwork.

LESSON 4 AIM: Was the war worth the costs?

Activity 1: Gallery Walk
1. Organize documents around the classroom: Texts should be displayed “gallery-style” – in a way that allows students to disperse themselves
around the room, with several students clustering around a particular
text. Texts can be hung on walls or placed on tables. The most important factor is that the texts are spread far enough apart to reduce significant crowding. Students should be given a definite time to be spent on each
prompt, e.g. two minutes. A timer can be used.

2. Instruct students on how to walk through the gallery: Students will
take the gallery walk on their own. They should fill out the question sheet as they rotate around the room. One direction that should be emphasized is that students are supposed to disperse themselves around the room. Be ready to break up clumps of students.

3. Assess: As the teacher, it is important to make sure that the students
understand each prompt, thus, it is important that you monitor the
stations while the students participate. Ask some students to explain
what they see. You may need to clarify or provide a hint if students don’t understand or misinterpret what is posted at their station. Read the
students’ writing (Specific problems may be that, in “Parade to War,
Allegory” the soldiers faces resemble skulls or in John Singer Sargent’s
painting some of the soldiers have their hands on other’s shoulders – this is because they have been blinded. They should also be aware of the
figures in the foreground and background of Sargent’s painting).

4. Reflect: Have students break into small groups to discuss what they
have seen. They should discuss how each document reflects an aspect of
the costs of World War I. As a group they should decide which document is the most important, explaining why.

5. Class Reflection: A representative from each group will explain to the
class which document their group decided was the most important. They will give reasons to defend their choice.
Station 1: How was Ypres affected by the war?
Station 2: How were participating countries affected by World War I?  
Station 3: What was the result of “A Call for Arms”?

Station 3: What was the result of “A Call for Arms”? “Untrained though they were (the conscription laws exempted them from service until their studies were complete), they volunteered almost to a complete body to form the new XXII and XXIII corps, which in October 1914, after two months of drill, were thrown into action against the regulars of the British army near Ypres in Belgium. The result was a massacre of the innocents (known in Germany as the kindermord bei Ypern), of which a ghastly memorial can be seen to his day. In the Langemarck cemetery, overlooked by a shrine
decorated by the insignia of Germany’s universities, lie the bodies of 36,000 young men interred in a common grave, all killed in three weeks of fighting; the number almost equals hat of the UnitedStates’ battle casualties in seven years of war in Vietnam. Source: Keegan, J. A History of Warfare, pp. 358-359

Station 4: What was the affect of poison gas?

Station 4: What was the affect of poison gas?
The aftermath of a mustard gas attack in August 1918 witnessed by the artist John Singer Sargent. Poison gas was probably the most feared of all weapons in World War One. Poison gas was indiscriminate and could be used on the trenches even when no attack was going on. “What we saw
was total death,” wrote a young German soldier named Willi Siebert in a
letter to his son. “Nothing was alive. All of the animals had come out of
their holes to die. … You could see where men had clawed at their faces,
and throats, trying to get breath. Some had shot themselves.”
Source: Everts, Sara “When Chemicals Became Weapons of War.”

 Refugees from Belgium flood into Holland.

Station 5: How did the war affect civilians? The magnitude of the wartime refugee crisis is difficult to establish with precision. It was characterized by multiple flows of human beings, and therefore an imaginary census at a given point in time would underestimate the real total of those who were displaced. Nevertheless, data from different countries suggest that at least 10 million people were displaced either internally or as a result of fleeing across an international frontier. Source: Gatrell, Peter Refugees | International Encyclopedia of the First World War (WW1)

Shell Shock

Station 6: How did the losses of World War I affect the soldiers? By 1917 the French army had lost nearly 1,000,000 dead, and after another disastrous offensive in Champagne in April, one half of its fighting divisions refused to obey further orders to attack. The episode, loosely described as mutiny, is better represented as a large-scale military strike against the operation of an unbearable probability; four out of nine Frenchmen enlisted in the fighting-units suffered wounds or death by the war’s close. At the end of that year, the Italian army, which its government had committed to war against Austria in May 1915, went the same way; it collapsed in the face of an Austro-German counteroffensive and was effectively immobilized until the armistice. The Russian army, its casualties, uncounted, had by then begun to ‘vote for peace with its feet,’ in Lenin’s phrase. Lenin’s political victory in the Petrograd Revolution of October 1917 could not have occurred but for the military catastrophes the army had undergone in East Prussia, Poland, and the Ukraine, which dissolved the units on which the constitutional government counted for support. Source: Keegan, J. A History of Warfare, pp. 359-362

References:

All Quiet on the Western Front. Directed by Lewis Milestone.  Universal Studios, 1930.

Berry, H. (1978, ed.).  Make the Kaiser dance: Living memories of a forgotten war—The American experience in World War I.  Doubleday: New York.

Brooke, R (1933). The complete poems of Rupert Brooke. London: Sidwich & Jackson.

Eksteins, M.  (1989). Rites of spring: The great war and the birth of the modern age.  New York. A Peter Davison Book/Houghton Mifflin Company.

Everts, S. (2015). “When chemicals became weapons of war.” Retrieved from www.chemicalweapons.cenmag.org/when-chemicals-became-weapons-of-war 

Gatrell, P. (2017). Refugees. International Encyclopedia of the First World War. Retrieved from https://encyclopedia.1914-1918-online.net/article/refugees

Keegan, J. (1993).  A history of warfare.  New York, Random7). House.

Kostval, K.M.  (2017). Joining the fight: The United States enters World War I. National Geographic History, March/April 2017, 78-87.

Lewis, C.D. (Ed.) (1963).  The collected poems of Wilfred Owen. London: Chatto & Windus. Trueman, C.N. (2015). Poison gas and World War I. retrieved from https://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/world-war-one/the-western-front-in-world-war-one/poison-gas-and-world-war-one/