All Community Comments

If anyone is interested in completing an interdisciplinary unit on American slavery with an English/Literacy teacher in their school, the following historical fiction novels by Gary Paulsen may work well: NightJohn and Sarney. Another piece of literature to look at is The Crucible. Although this play is a fictional account of the Salem Witch Trials, it is always interesting to focus on the slave, Tituba, and her involvement in creating the mass hysteria of the time. Non fiction books on this topic are Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, by Harriet Jacobs, and To Be A Slave, by Julius Lester.

Fantastic opportunity to look through the primary sources at the Eisenhower library. Things I absolutely could not see anywhere else.

I looked all over google for it!! Thanks for the info..pfff! :)

Several years ago I took a break from I-70 to have lunch in Abilene, thought for a moment about moseying down to the Eisenhower Library and Museum, but thought, "Why bother?"

Glad I didn't make that mistake this time. Sooo much to see and learn there!

A gifted artist named Jacob Lawrence created a series of incredible paintings. One collection, completed in 1938, is entitled "Toussant L'Ouverture" and another, finished in 1977, is "The Legend of John Brown". After discussing these historical figures with your students, it may prove interesting to incorporate art into the curriculum by having the students examine and analyze several of the paintings in Jacob's series.

Really amazing day at the Eisenhower Library. Being able to search through documents from the presidential archives was something that I won't soon forget. One of my favorite parts was being able to review documents that were discussed in the Nichols book that we read for the seminar. It was also great to go through stacks and stacks of letters from Americans who shared their feelings on Eisenhower's decision to send troops into Central High School in Little Rock.

Another great and unique experience here in Kansas!

Ejoyed it. Got a chance to review a great deal of primary sources. Can.t imagine how ant President could have to read such hateful letters sent to them. Most thought they were best friends. I guess when you vote for them they are intitled to better treatment. can' wait for shool to begin so I can share these documents with students and staff.

I checked out The Library Company's digital resources and found a really interesting collection of Confederate Song Sheets. This link is to one titled "The Guerillas. A Southern War Song" from 1862 that references the Union's use of the slaves against the South.

This link for the entire collection of song sheets:

Enjoyed the experience as it was the first time I visited a presidential library. Gave me a better idea of what historians do to get their research hands on. Being able to have your hands on documents that went to the White House and president dealing with civil rights and especially integration of Little Rock High School was cool.

Today was another amazing day with Gilder-Lehrman. Shaun did a wonderful job getting the archives section set up for us. I have never had the opportunity to work with archives and this experience was so exciting for me. I wasn't looking for anything in particular when I started searching but found some really interesting material on an FBI exhibit called Opposing Forces and remarks by J. Edgar Hoover at an Eisenhower Cabinet meeting dealing with Civil Rights. The museum was very interesting but we had so little time there that I have decided I will have to go back. It was like a stroll through my childhood with the 50s. I was really moved by the chapel and the realization that the Supreme Allied Commander and President of the US was buried in the small town of Abilene. Looking forward to tomorrow and the trip to Topeka.

Here is a link to the website for the Library Company of Philadelphia's Civil War recruitment posters:

This is a link to the speech that Frederick Douglass gave in Scotland on whether the Constitution was Pro or Anti Slavery. This was mentioned by our guide on the Civil War tour of Philadelphia.


This format came from Dr. Scott Casper at UNR. He uses this process to learn the names of his students and to give every student a voice on the first day of class. He simply asks: What do you see? so that students can comment in a non threatening way on day one of class.


1. What do you see?
2. What does it mean?
3. What do we need to know to understand it? (start the research process)

Hi Amy,
Thanks for sending the link!
Yeah, I found a ton of shuttle services after doing some research. My flight arrives at John Wayne around 1PM, a little later than yours. I'd hate to have you wait around for me for an hour or more. I was actually going to contact one of the shuttle companies today and arrange a roundtrip service. I leave the following saturday VERY early in the morning.


I know a lot of people use "Eyes on the Prize", but I came across this video while student teaching and have used it every year in my classroom. It is a Disney Educational Video called "Ernest Green Story".

This is NOT the typical Disney movie. It presents the situation in Little Rock well and in a way the students can follow and question.

I do have a worksheet that students complete while watching the film for the 3 days and copies of primary source documents (from Eisenhower, Marshall, the army etc.) but that is at home. Email me if you want it.

- Kristen

Thanks for catching that! We've changed it.

Do you have the correct version of "Blinded by the Light"? It sounds like you included the version by
Manfred Mann's Earth Band and not Springsteen's recording of it.

The Street Law website has some ncredible resources for teaching major court cases like Dred Scott, Plessey, and Brown. They edit and scale down opinions of justices for students at various reading levels and provide great resources for teaching the cases.

I'm guessing that many of you already know of this resource, but if you don't, check out the Room For Debate link on the New York Times page. It's a great resource for argumentative writing and gaining wide perspective.

Here is an article about the Virginia textbook that contained an error about blacks fighting for the Confederacy:

Ever wonder what women were doing during the 1800s or what is known as the antebellum period of United States history? Men are well represented in history books as they were the powerful, educated leaders of the country. Women, on the other hand, rarely had opportunities to tell their stories.

Powerful stories of brave women who helped shape the history of the United States are revealed to students through journals, letters, narratives and other primary sources. Synthesizing information from the various sources, students write their impressions of women in the Northeast, Southeast, or the West during the nineteenth century.

Students will be able to:

draw conclusions by analyzing primary source materials;
write a persuasive letter.

"You Be the Historian" can be an excellent springboard for class discussion about primary and secondary sources and the historical process.

The "what about you?" sections of the activity encourage students to think about the study of history at a personal level. What can future historians learn about your students, your school, your class, etc. What evidence are you leaving behind?

The activity can also be used as an introduction (or supplemental material) to life in the late 1700s.

This Saturday will be the 143rd anniversary of the date in which Sec. of State Seward unconditionally certified the 14th amendment was part of the Constitution. Fitting that this would fall in and around our time together on this subject.

Louisiana Literacy Test - Strange Stuff

This is the Louisiana literacy test (first to site, second straight to PDF) and it is a WACKY test:

Black Americans in Congress

Check out the Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham, AL

Look at their Resource Gallery featuring the 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing, The Children's March, and the leadership of Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth

A great resource is the American Social History Project's website HERB. They are based at the City University of New York Graduate Center.

Howard - Here is Louisiana's test

Today I enjoyed each of the three lectures that over topic Harry S. Truman, Civil Rights, and the Road to Brown. Once again Shawn Leigh Alexander filled in the gaps of my knowledge of the history of the Brown case. As a lifelong Kansan and an American History teacher for 32 years it always amazes me how much I have to learn about the subject. I was enlightened by the second lecture by social scientists Shirley Hill and John Rury and their talk about education’s effect on the African American community as a result of segregation. The final lecture delivered by Clarence Lang (where he did a great job of leading the discussion) concerned the Truman Administration’s role in Civil Rights and possible motives behind the choices he and his Administration made was rich with ideas.

You are a handsome man.

Yesterday's seminar presentation by Ms. Brown Montgomery and Ms. Henderson gave me the personal experience of being in the presence of people that affected and continue to affect the fabric of society in a positive way. I was touched by the sum total of their story on road to Brown v. Board of Education. The story that came out of segregation and bought the nation to a moral high point for all its people. The road from Brown is one that as a society we are still paving and patching. The job is not done. I will be touched in a positive way forever.

A very simple but effective lesson is to divide the students into 5 groups where they develop a speech to be presented to the class nominating a person for the Groundbreaker Award for pushing forward the civil rights movement. They must mention the area of life it took place, the actions they took and why it was heroic, the legacy for us and what it all means. The nominees are: Jackie Robinson, Little Rock 9, Thurgood Marshall, MLK or Rosa Parks.

Terrence Roberts shares his testimony with Civic Voices at

The transcript of the entire interview is also available at that link!

From the morning session I was saddened to hear about the limited success of those who complete the GRE. Ideally, all students would complete high school by the age of 17, 18, 19 or 20. Unfortunately, this does not work for all students. Those who have had to be out of school for various reasons( pregnancy, incarceration, arrival in the country with limited or no formal education, age limits set by school boards) have to have some way of achieving their high school equivalency. Hearing that those who get a GRE have the same prospects as one who does not complete school was distressing.

Dr. Lang is a compelling speaker. I look forward to hearing more from him later in the week. His point about how we judge historical figures, based on the results of their actions, promotes vigorous debate.

The information that we were presented today brought to my attention the importance of the growth of African-Americans attending high school in the 1940s paved the way for the growth of the African American middle class & more importantly the expansion of African-Americans in higher education. Also today Professor Alexander educated me on the growth, importance & the impact of the NAACP. These presentations brought me valuable information that I can include in my lessons on civil rights & the plight of African Americans. I was impressed with the information on the organization & plan of attack by the NAACP to establish the necessary reforms that brought about the significant shift in egalitarianism in American society

Professor Lang was a dynamic speaker. His premise that groups, such as African Americans, foment change and are not merely the recipients of it, was well stated and thought-provoking. A discussion of this type with my students will empower them and help them to become the active citizens our country needs today.


Hearing first hand experiences from people that were directly involved is "as good as it gets"; it's personal, it's facts and feelings that help to interpret this story to students in a real life way. It's irreplaceable.

Senate Historical Minutes - what was happening in Senate at different time periods:

They explain what they are better than I do:

The United States Senate has inspired thousands of colorful stories. From the first discussions at the Constitutional Convention in 1787 down to our own times, the “World’s Greatest Deliberative Body” has actively engaged storytellers. Over the past 35 years, Senate historians have prepared short, historical narratives to inform senators, staff, constituents, and others who are curious about the traditions, personalities, and legislative landmarks of the Senate. These stories reflect all areas of Senate activity. From the well-known and notorious, to the unusual and even whimsical, they are presented to enlighten, inspire, amuse, and inform. Read collectively, they provide clear impressions about the forces, events, and personalities that have shaped the Senate of the 21st century.

Yesturday's meeting of the Browns is one that I will always remember. I was moved by listening to them speak and their account of their own personal experience. I will treasure the experience. I can't wait to share with my incoming students!

Today's lecture was not what I expected, much better than I anticipated. This morning, Shawn's presentation was extremely gratifying. For those who are not familiar with the contributions that President Truman choose to invoke concerning the civil rights of Black Americans, should have been here. These lectures, morning and afternoon with Dr. Lang was a mind blowing experience. I wish I had professors like these gentlemen. Also Professors Rury and Hill's take on From Slavery to Freedom and their research on this subject was a blessing, I will use it and will purchase their book.

Clarence was dynamic. I very much enjoyed his lecture but even better was the Q&A discussing Truman in a very real light rather than strictly lecture. The morning was a little boring but there some 1st hand quotes that were very good but most of the numbers were not clear. John Rury was clear and very informative. The quotes were good. Stats were not as clear. Overall a good day. I still think Truman was a racist. He does speak about civil rights in a way that was positive and helps begin the post 50's civil rights movement.

I want to share with you a great web site that offers oral history testimony from social change activists in the US and worldwide. There are listening guides and ready-to-use lesson ideas to accompany the testimonies.

You will also find great testimonies from activists around the world at

The best part of today was the lecture from Clarence Lang. Not only was he an engaging speaker, but he shared excellent insight into the Truman administration, Civil Rights and the affects of the Cold War on the Civil Rights movement.

One of the biggest things that I took from Clarence's lecture is the idea that domestic and foreign policy. When teaching the Cold War and anti-communism next year, I will be sure to introduce the idea that the Civil Rights Movement was greatly affected by the communist scare.