Social History for Every Classroom

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Social History for Every Classroom

menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

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Social Reform and Issues of Race and Class

In this activity students explore how Progressive Era reforms did not apply universally, but rather varied depending on issues like race and class. Students watch the 30-minute film Heaven Will Protect the Working Girl and read an article that [...]

Create a Magic Lantern Show: Freedpeople in the Reconstruction South

In this activity students create a "magic lantern show," or presentation that illustrates how African American defined freedom for themselves after emancipation and the challenges and threats they faced. Students use primary sources from the [...]

Slavery: Acts of Resistance

In this activity students compare an excerpt of a WPA interview with an ex-slave with a more famous statement by Frederick Douglass to arrive at their own interpretations of slave resistance. This lesson is designed to work with the film Doing As [...]

Qualifying to Vote Under Jim Crow

In this activity students learn about literacy tests and other barriers that kept black Southerners from being able to vote. Students also take a 1960s literacy test from Alabama.

Running for Freedom: The Fugitive Slave Law and the Coming of the Civil War

This activity compares a runaway slave ad and an abolitionist poster to explore the causes and effects of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law. The law changed how many northerners viewed slavery and intensified conflicts that brought the nation closer to [...]

Adding to the Picture: The 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

In this activity, students examine three documents to better understand the goals, participants, and leaders of the 1963 March on Washington.

Social Movements and Constitutional Change: Women's Suffrage

In this activity, students analyze documents to arrange events on a timeline of women's suffrage. The timeline and documents will help students understand the intersection of social movements and constitutional change. This activity can be modified [...]

What This Cruel War Was Over: Slavery and the Civil War

In this activity students will examine how attitudes towards slavery and the Civil War changed between 1860 and 1865. What began in the minds of President Lincoln and most northerners as a war to preserve the union changed, over the course of the [...]

"Troubles in the South-West": Ideology and the U.S.-Mexican War

In this lesson students read a series of documents about the American and Mexican reasons for and against the 1846 U.S.-Mexico War. As they read the documents students identify when the authors employ various foreign policy ideologies such as [...]

Debating Immigration Restriction: The Ellis Island Era

In this activity, students consider arguments for and against unrestricted immigration during the Ellis Island era. Students analyze political cartoons, letters, newspaper articles, posters, and other sources, noting evidence in the documents to [...]

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