Thursday, February 07, 2008

Teaching Resources - African American History

Each week I receive messages from EdInfo, an informational list that highlights new resources at FREE (Federal Resources for Educational Excellence). If you are interested in finding good resources for teaching and learning, this is a great list to join.

This week a number of really outstanding sites and materials were listed for African American history. Since I was moved when exploring them, I thought you might want to see them as well.

We Shall Overcome: Historic Places of the Civil Rights Movement
This site from the National Park Service shows 49 churches, houses, and other properties related largely to the post-World War II civil rights movement. The links to these properties consist of photographs and texts, and the exhibit offers a bibliography and links to websites relating to civil rights. Here is an excerpt from the Introduction.
In visiting the 49 places listed in the National Register for their association with the modern civil rights movement, as well as the Selma-to-Montgomery March route--a Department of Transportation designated "All-American Road" and a National Park Service designated National Historic Trail--two things will be apparent. First, although they had white supporters and sympathizers, the modern civil rights movement was designed, led, organized, and manned by African Americans, who placed themselves and their families on the front lines in the struggle for freedom. Their heroism was brought home to every American through newspaper, and later, television reports as their peaceful marches and demonstrations were violently attacked by law enforcement officers armed with batons, bullwhips, fire hoses, police dogs, and mass arrests. The second characteristic of the movement is that it was not monolithic, led by one or two men. Rather it was a dispersed, grass-roots campaign that attacked segregation in many different places using many different tactics. On this itinerary you will learn about the people and places associated with one of the most important chapters in our history.
Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1938
From the American Memory Project at the Library of Congress, this site offers 2,300 first-person accounts of slavery and 500 photos of former slaves. The collection can be searched by name, city, state, topic, or other key words. These narratives were collected in the 1930s as part of the Works Progress Administration (WPA). This is heartbreaking and essential reading.

Drop Me Off in Harlem
This ArtsEdge site, a project of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, is a multimedia exploration of the Harlem Renaissance (1920s-1930s). Students can hear Langston Hughes read his poems, listen to Duke Ellington direct his orchestra, or watch "Shorty" George Snowden dance the Lindy Hop. An interactive map displays important cultural, social, and political establishments. Lesson ideas and learning activities facilitate an arts-integrated approach to the study of key works and themes that emerged.

Let Your Motto Be Resistance: African American Portraits
This site from the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution presents photos of 100 famous and influential African Americans, from with Frederick Douglass and to Wynton Marsalis. Each portrait includes a brief biography.

Exploring Amistad: Race and Boundaries of Freedom in Antebellum Maritime America
Mystic Seaport's site explores the Amistad Revolt of 1839-1842 and how we make history of it. It uses timelines, a library of historical documents, a discovery section and bibliography to teach about this watershed historical event, which set off a legal, political, and popular debate over the slave trade, slavery, race, Africa, and ultimately America itself.

This should be enough to get you started. If you are hungry for more, visit African Americans Teaching and Learning Resources.

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