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Breaking Barriers: Race, Gender, and the U.S. Military

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Language Arts And English +3 Age Levels Middle School (13 to 15 years old), High School (16 to 18 years old)

This collection brings together EDSITEment and Smithsonian resources to support the initial research into a project for National History Day 2020, "Breaking Barriers in History."

These resources—including photographs, objects, portraits, lesson plans, and articles—explore how individuals overcame barriers during and following their service in the U.S. military. Resources address how issues of race and gender operated as barriers to equal treatment for all those who serve in the U.S. military, as well as circumstances endured by veterans following the end of major wars. The experiences of members of the armed forces during the American Revolution, U.S. Civil War, WWI, and WWII are highlighted; however, other wars and perspectives should be considered when exploring these resources. The second resource of this collection contains questions to help with the analysis of a chosen topic alongside photograph, document, artwork, portrait, and object resources. 

By no means is this collection comprehensive; instead, it provides a launching point for further research.

This collection was created in collaboration with the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access.

Share your National History Day collections and let us know what you think! Write to us on Twitter: @EDSITEment and @SmithsonianLab, #NHD2020. If you publish a collection on your National History Day topic, be sure to enter #NHD2020 in the description!

Tags: military, soldiers, women, African American, Tuskegee, Airmen, Airwomen, war, World War One, World War I, World War Two, World War II, Red Jacket, Tayadaneega, Joseph Brant, Native Americans, American Indians, Horace Pippin, Theodore Milton Sullivan, J.W. Lucus, Buffalo Soldier, Charles Young, Carter Woodson, Willa Beatrice Brown, Bessie Coleman, Airforce, pilots, Jacqueline Cochran, Janet Harmon Bragg, Cornelia Fort, Nancy Love, WASPs, twentieth century, 20th #NHD

Guiding Questions

Tess Porter

Red Jacket (Sagoyewatha)

National Portrait Gallery

Cunne Shote

National Portrait Gallery

Thayendanegea (Joseph Brant)

National Portrait Gallery

Red Jacket

National Portrait Gallery

Blacksnake

National Portrait Gallery

Guiding Questions

Tess Porter

Pauline Cushman

National Portrait Gallery

Harriet Tubman

National Portrait Gallery

Rose O'Neal Greenhow

National Portrait Gallery

Guiding Questions

Tess Porter

Horace Pippin

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Dog Fight over the Trenches

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Horace Pippin memoir fragments

Archives of American Art

Fall Landscape

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Bullard, Eugene Jacques. [photograph]

National Air and Space Museum Archives

Colored Soldiers who covered themselves with glory in France, returning to US

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Over There: A Buffalo Soldier in World War I

National Museum of American History

Cabinet card of Col. Charles Young as a cadet at West Point

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Photographic postcard of Cpl. Lawrence Leslie McVey in uniform

National Museum of African American History and Culture

World War I enlisted soldier's tunic and cigarette holder

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Cap, American Legion

National Air and Space Museum

NAACP Spingarn Medal awarded to Major Charles Young

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Guiding Questions

Tess Porter

Jacqueline Cochran

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Guiding Questions

Tess Porter

Brown, Willa Beatrice. [photograph]

National Air and Space Museum Archives

Janet Harmon Bragg: Aviator

Smithsonian Insider

Guiding Questions

Tess Porter

Inspired by the Tuskegee Airmen

National Air and Space Museum

The Tuskegee Red-Tail Angels

Smithsonian Channel

William Ayers Campbell

National Portrait Gallery

Keep Us Flying!

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Purple Heart medal awarded posthumously to Tuskegee Airman 2d Lt. James McCullin

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Memorial Quilt for Tuskegee Airman 2d Lt. James McCullin

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Congressional Gold Medal, Tuskegee Airmen

National Air and Space Museum

Founding Fragments - WWI Woman's Uniform

National Museum of American History

"Valor"

National Museum of American History

Native Words, Native Warriors

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access

Law, Ruth B. (Oliver). [photograph]

National Air and Space Museum Archives