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African American Historians of the 19th and Early 20th Centuries

An innate function of being human is to preserve and share our experiences and stories.  African American men and women have researched and recorded their history despite enslavement, racism, segregation, sexism, and opposition. Their research helped expand the known narratives of American and international history through the African American perspective and interpretation of historical sources. This Learning Lab explores selected African American historians of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Their research and works were critical to the foundation of African American studies and their activism helped open doors for future African Americans to enter and contribute to the field of history.  The Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture, situated in the heart of the nation’s capital, serves as the physical manifestation of the efforts of African American historians featured in this lab.

Keywords: NMAAHC, NMAAHC Education, African American, historians, history, primary sources, stories

HOW TO USE THIS LAB:

Use the book excerpts, documents, images, objects, and media related to a highlighted historian in the Learning Lab to answer the questions provided in the Discussion Question page  and/or or use them comparatively with information in your history textbook about the highlighted historical period.


FEATURED HISTORIANS 

  1. Revolutionary War (Squares 3 - 10)
    William Cooper Nell (1816 – 1874) was born to a prominent African American abolitionist family in Boston, Massachusetts. As a young man, he was mentored by William Lloyd Garrison, wrote for Garrison’s abolitionist newspaper the Liberator, and was influential in the fight against segregation in Boston’s public transportation and accommodations during the 1840s and 1850s. In 1855, Nell authored The Colored Patriots of the American Revolution, making it one of the first historical works to focus on African Americans.
  2. Civil War (Squares 11 - 18)
    George Washington Williams (1849 – 1891)
    was born in Bedford Springs, Pennsylvania. At the age of 14, he joined the Union Army during the Civil War. After the war, he finished his education in Massachusetts, became a minister, and founded a newspaper, The Commoner. By 1880, Williams moved to Ohio and became the first African American elected to the Ohio General Assembly. As a historian, Williams is most famous for writing the first comprehensive history of African Americans in the United States, a two-volume work called the History of the Negro Race in America from 1619 to 1880; as Negroes, as Slaves, as Soldiers, and as Citizens (1882). In 1887, he published A History of the Negro Troops in the War of the Rebellion.
  3. Reconstruction (Squares 19 - 25)
    William Edward Burghardt Du Bois (1868 – 1963)
    was born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. His studies, which focused on African American history, anthropology, and sociology, took him to study in Tennessee, Germany, and finally back to Massachusetts where he became the first African American to graduate with a PhD from Harvard. In the quest for civil rights, Du Bois helped established the Niagara Movement, and its successor, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). As a historian, he wrote widely on the African American experience, but one of his best-known works was Black Reconstruction in America (1935). While Black Reconstruction was refuted during the early twentieth century, the work is now considered one of the foundational texts of how Reconstruction is interpreted by today’s mainstream historians.
  4. Women and Gender History (Squares 26 - 31)
    Anna Julia Cooper (1858 – 1964)
    was born to her enslaved mother and her white slaveholder father in Raleigh, North Carolina. She pursued education from an early age, as well as fought for women’s rights and gender equality. As a scholar at Oberlin College, she protested sexist treatment of women by taking courses and gaining degrees in subjects typically designated for men. She became an influential educator in Washington D.C. who saw her students attend some of the most prestigious colleges in the country. In 1925, Cooper completed her graduate studies at Sorbonne, University of Paris. She became the fourth African American woman to earn a PhD in History. In 1892, she wrote, A Voice from the South by a Black Woman of the South, focusing on the history and experiences of African American women in the South, and the need for their education to uplift the African American community as a whole.
  5. The First World War (Squares 32 - 37)
    Carter Godwin Woodson (1875 - 1950)
    was born in New Canton, Virginia. He is known as the “Father of Black History” because of his numerous contributions to the field.  Woodson was the son of poor, but land-owning former slaves. As he worked to support his family’s farm he did not enter high school until age twenty. Woodson earned his first degree from Berea College in Kentucky. He then worked, studied, and taught internationally before receiving his Bachelors and his Masters from the University of Chicago, and later his PhD from Harvard University. In 1915, he founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (now the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History), and in 1916 published the Journal of Negro History (now the Journal of African American History). In 1926, he established Negro History Week, which would later become Black History Month. In 1922, Woodson wrote The Negro in Our History, which covered African American history from African origins to the First World War. Woodson believed that history should not be a mere study of facts but the analyzation and interpretation of historical evidence for a deeper meaning.
  6. African American History: Slavery and Freedom (Squares 38 - 46)
    John Hope Franklin (1915 – 2009)
    was born in Rentiesville, Oklahoma. In June 1921, the Franklin family endured and survived the deadly Tulsa Race Riots. Franklin earned his Bachelors from Fisk University, and would complete his Masters and PhD at Harvard. In 1949, he became the first African American historian to present at the Southern Historical Association. He was also the only African American to serve as the president of the American Historical Association and the Organization of American Historians. Franklin wrote widely on the African American experience, with his most notable work being the 1947 publication of From Slavery to Freedom: A History of Negro Americans. Today, the work is in its tenth edition and is a staple of American history courses.



NMAAHC Education
69
 

Mr. Meinershagen's Class 1

This collection contains examples of materials to be used for a Social Studies lesson.

David Meinershagen
14
 

Destination Moon: EO 10925, Civil Rights, and the Space Program

This collection of resources uses oral histories as well as photographs and articles to explore race relations and the impact of Executive Order 10925 at NASA. Signed by President John F. Kennedy on March 6, 1961, EO 10925 required government contractors to "take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed and that employees are treated during employment without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin."

Resources in this collection -  photographs and articles as well as oral histories - are compiled to supplement the SITES traveling exhibit Destination Moon. This collection is not comprehensive; instead, it provides a launching point for further research.

This collection is closely associated with the "Destination Moon" traveling exhibit. For more information see https://airandspace.si.edu/exh...



Christina Ferwerda
10
 

Angel Island Immigration Station - Two Brides, Two Pathways (Angel Island State Park)

The Angel Island Immigration Station operated as one of the immigrant induction processing centers for the Western United States from 1910 to 1940. The following activities will help learners explore the experiences of the various immigrants that were detained at Angel Island and the process they endured in their attempt to gain access to America.

Upon completing the lesson students will be able to:

  • Interact with photos, maps, and poems from the United States Immigration Station
  • Ask questions and develop the skill of inquiry
  • Introduce the concept of immigration
ranger_casey
26
 

3-D Paper Puzzler: Hermit Crabs

Students at the Hirshhorn ARTLAB+ program have been experimenting with 3-dimensional digital paper craft. One of them even showed her papercraft dinosaur at the White House's first Maker Faire!

This collection includes images and video of hermit crabs, both live and from our art collections, as well as instructions and printable templates to make a 3-dimensional hermit crab shell from three sheets of paper.



Philippa Rappoport
10
 

Waves of Hope: Asian American History in Austin

In this collection, students will learn about Asian American history in Austin. Austin is home to many Asian Americans along with their rich history, culture, and traditions that are preserved and passed on to future generations by their families and communities. This exhibit showcases some of the history that is lesser known but nevertheless important to document and remember. All of the images can be found at the Austin History Center, which houses an Asian American Archival Collection of manuscript collections, photographs, clippings, books, periodicals and other items.

This exhibit was developed by the City of Austin's Asian American Resource Center and the Austin History Center.

Educators and students may use this online exhibit to supplement Texas History lessons and as a supplement to the full exhibit stored at the City of Austin's Asian American Resource Center (AARC). Currently, Waves of Hope is not on display at the AARC. Please contact the site at 512-974-1700 or aarc@austintexas.gov with any questions.

keywords: texas history, asian american,  Texas asians, austin, austin history, austin history center, immigration


#APA2018 

#TCSAARC  

Hanna Huang
41
 

Changes in Education and Using Resources available

This collection is used during a course on project based learning and place based learning. Teachers used this as an entry activity to looking at exploratory education as well as how to navigate the learning lab.

Amanda Riske
35
 

Origami Animals: Demonstration Videos and Background Information

People from all over the world have enjoyed doing traditional paper crafts for hundreds and sometimes thousands of years. In this set, you'll find interviews with origami artists and a variety of demonstration videos to make paper animals (bull, butterfly, crane) and a paper wallet. Appropriate for classroom, home, or informal education settings.

The Japanese word "origami" comes from two smaller words: "ori" which means "to fold," and "kami" meaning "paper." Although this is the most common word in the United States for the craft of paper folding, the tradition is known to have existed in China and Japan for more than a millennium, and from there it spread to other countries around the world. Japanese patterns tend to focus on animals and flowers, while Chinese designs are usually for things like boats and hats. Paper folding's earlier use was ceremonial, but with time the tradition became popular as a children's activity.

Grab some paper and have fun!


Philippa Rappoport
5
 

Exploring Identity: How can portraiture conceal or reveal?

What is identity? How is it constructed? These activities investigate how portraits can conceal or reveal aspects of identity. How does the artist choose to portray an individual? How does the sitter choose to be shown?

This collection includes a three-part activity that can be modified by choosing to spend more or less time sharing out as a group. It begins with a discussion about identity, using the Chalk Talk Thinking Routine and a comparison of two portraits to further push students' thinking on how portraiture can both conceal and reveal aspects of identity. In the next parts of the activity, students are able to choose from a variety of portraits for individual reflection and then come together as a group to discuss a larger work to about culture and identity. Several Project Zero Thinking Routines can be used to stimulate and record thinking. 


Part I: Chalk Talk and comparing portraits

Students participate in the Chalk Talk Thinking Routine using the questions provided. A quick gallery walk where students circulate and read all responses can allow the class to get a feel for the many (or singular) perspective(s) of identity. Using the See-Think-Wonder Thinking Routine, students compare and contrast two portraits: LL Cool J by Kehinde Wiley and John D. Rockefeller by John Singer Sargent. Students can share with a neighbor and then out to the larger group or simply share out as a large group depending on class size, etc. 

 

Part II: Portraiture and Identity

Using the Individual Exploration of Portraiture worksheet, students can choose one image from the fifteen provided and spend some time exploring their selected portrait. Students can be given 5-10 minutes to interact with their chosen image. Using one of Roger Shimomura’s portraits, students will use the Unveiling Stories Thinking Routine to better understand the many layers to this work of art. Again, students can share out in pairs first or simply share out to the whole group depending on class size, etc.

 

Part III: Returning to chosen portrait and final reflection

Students will once again return to their selected portrait and complete the "second look" section of the Individual Exploration of Portraiture worksheet. A final reflection about identity and portraiture can be completed either as a group or individually using the I Used to think…; But Now I Think… Thinking Routine.

#NPGteach

Emily Veres
23
 

The Great Debate: Portraiture and Primary Sources

This collection is created in conjunction with a professional development workshop facilitated by the National Portrait Gallery and Teaching with Primary Sources Northern Virginia (TPSNVA is funded by a grant from the Library of Congress). 

Have you ever wondered if a portrait is a primary source? In this workshop, we will examine portraits from the Portrait Gallery, along with primary sources from the Library of Congress, to consider this question and explore connections between the two distinct collections. Participants will brainstorm and come up with strategies to incorporate these rich resources into their English and social studies curriculum.  

#NPGteach

Briana White
66
 

Harlem Renaissance

This collection helps guide students as they learn about the Harlem Renaissance. There are 3 steps to the lesson:

  1. As a class, students use the "see, think, wonder" visual thinking routine to analyze a painting.
  2. Students watch a video and answer questions about the Harlem Renaissance.
  3. Students individually analyze 6 examples of art from the Harlem Renaissance, including paintings, music, and poetry and connect each piece to the historical context.

Michelle Moses
9
 

The Pride of a Pitcher: Pedro Martinez

How do we represent our roots artistically? What can a portrait tell us about the sense of identity of the subject? Focusing on a famous athlete from the Dominican Republic, students will explore the personal history of the pitcher, Pedro Martínez, and how his cultural pride is portrayed on canvas. Class members will read a recent biography of Martínez before examining his portrait, Pride and Determination, currently on exhibition in Twentieth-Century Americans: 1990 to Present. #NPGteach

Patrick Bonner
7
 

Express Yourself: Creating a Visual Journal with the Portrait Gallery

This collection was created in conjunction with a professional development workshop for teachers held at the National Portrait Gallery in 2017.

How can journaling transform the way your students experience museums and individual artworks? Sean Murphy, the art teacher at Samuel Tucker Elementary School in Alexandria, VA and the Portrait Gallery teamed up to introduce ways of incorporate journaling into your classroom. Participants explored the metacognitive benefits of using art journals in both the classroom and the museum. This workshop included both gallery and studio experiences. 

#NPGteach

Gayle Kraus
15
 

Express Yourself: Creating a Visual Journal with the Portrait Gallery

This collection was created in conjunction with a professional development workshop for teachers held at the National Portrait Gallery in 2017.

How can journaling transform the way your students experience museums and individual artworks? Sean Murphy, the art teacher at Samuel Tucker Elementary School in Alexandria, VA and the Portrait Gallery teamed up to introduce ways of incorporate journaling into your classroom. Participants explored the metacognitive benefits of using art journals in both the classroom and the museum. This workshop included both gallery and studio experiences. 

#NPGteach

Briana White
15
 

Then and Now: Native Voices in American History

Presented with the National Museum of the American Indian December 9, 2017 9:30a.m.–1:30 p.m.

What learning opportunities arise when we add complexity to “the story” of westward expansion? How can Native perspectives and contemporary events engage student historians-in-training? Leave with strategies and resources that will help you add depth and breadth to your teaching and inspire inquiry in the classroom.

Elizabeth Dale-Deines
18
 

How Planes Fly

This is an introduction to the lesson series to Canvas vs. Aluminum planes. In this collection, students will be looking at different types of planes and how planes fly. The first resource is a video with Peter Jackson and learning how to fly a WWI airplane. The next four slides are different types of planes. The first two are planes from WWI and the second two are planes from WWII. The last resource is an external link to NASA's resource on the importance of the Forces of Flight meaning drag, lift, thrust, and weight. It also talks about the different dynamics of flight.  

Kaitlin Kim
6
 

Destination Moon: Apollo Around the Country

This collection explores regional contractors that contributed to the Apollo Program. Union Carbide, North American Aviation, and RCA are just three of the many private firms that contributed goods and services to NASA during the race to put a man on the Moon. 

Have students examine the map of NASA contractors. Ask: 

  • What companies do you know? 
  • Which are closest? Farthest away?
  • What do you wonder about these companies? Their locations? 

Have students investigate the images in the collection. Discuss: 

  • What do you see? What do you think about that? 
  • What types of products or materials were needed on the Apollo mission? 
  • How did companies take advantage of their association with Manned Spaceflight? 

Using the map, encourage students to find items produced by other manufacturers on this database by searching the manufacturer name. Compare the products associated with different companies - what types of products do they see, and what types of products are missing? Are there advantages to having certain things produced closer to the launch site? What types of items could be produced farther away? 

Invite students to find other Apollo-related advertisements from the period using the Internet. What can be said about these advertisements? 

Invite students to create their own advertisement based on the items they find here, as well as research about the NASA-contracted company. 

Christina Ferwerda
12
 

Destination Moon: NASA Art

Established in 1962, the NASA Artists Cooperation Program gave several artists unrestricted access to several NASA facilities. The goal was to communicate the emotional tone and the cultural significance of space exploration.

This collection uses the "Connect Extend Challenge" visible thinking strategy developed by Project Zero at Harvard University. This strategy encourages students to make connections between new ideas and prior knowledge. It also encourages them to make a personal connection to an artwork or topic.

This lesson helps teachers create connections between works of art and the study of space exploration, and to help teachers use art as a force for developing students’ critical thinking.  

Observe and discuss the first image as a class. Use the "Connect Extend Challenge" to discuss the image as a class. Ask the following: 

  • How is the artwork or object connected to something you know about?
  • What new ideas or impressions do you have that extended your thinking in new directions?
  • What is challenging or confusing? What do you wonder about?

Provide any background knowledge that enhances the conversation, using the metadata information about the NASA Artists Cooperation Program. 

Next, divide the students into 4 groups. Have them use the same questions to discuss one of the 4 images that deals the Apollo 11 launch. Wrap-up the discussion by having each group share out key thoughts and responses. Repeat the same process with the 4 images that represent Mission Control (note, Mission Control Images are from a selection of Apollo missions). 

Finally, students should choose one of the final 4 images to investigate, using the "Connect Extend Challenge" to guide their exploration. Their work could be shared verbally in a paired group, or written as a personal essay. 


Christina Ferwerda
13
 

Lions and Tigers Oh My

This Collection Introduces The Children to Lions and Tigers and how they are in the wild to children and encourages them to start collections of their own based on the Book "Have You Seen My Cat" by Eric Carle

Mary Alexander
18
 

Our Planet's Issues - Biodiversity, Population Growth, Global Water Challenges, and Climate Change

The resources in this collection will be used to help Montgomery College IERW002 students complete the essay on Our Vulnerable Planet.  Students are to use the articles and videos to enhance their understanding of the topics.  Students will complete Reading Information sheets on every resource that is used in this assignment - images, articles, graphs, and videos.  In class and out of class assignments are based on these resources.

readandwrite
13
 

Air technology of World War I

Technological advancements contributed to World War I costing more money and killing more people than all previous wars in history.

Students will be able to answer the question: What kinds technology existed during the First World war and what were their impacts on the war?

Leah Knecht
12
 

We the People: a Deeper Understanding of the Preamble of the U.S. Constitution

This lesson works best for 8th grade U.S. History, after students have learned how the original plan for government (the Articles of Confederation) was failing the newly independent America and how the state delegates met in the summer of 1787 to correct these failings and ended up writing a new Constitution. 

Students start by using the VTS thinking routine to examine Preamble by Mike Wilkins, an engaging and accessible way to 'read' the Preamble of the U.S. Constitution.  

After 'decoding' the words and noticing all the details they can, students use a handout to analyze the language of the actual Preamble and discuss word choice and intended meaning (they might also look at the photo of the actual Constitution at this point to compare the original with Mike WIlkins' work).  

They then read and analyze 4 quotes from The Federalist Papers defending the Constitution to the states who were about to vote to ratify it as a jumping off point to discuss what the Constitution was meant to achieve for the newly formed states.  Discussion about reasons why states would not want to join this union will also add to the understanding of what was at stake for each state. In addition, looking at a graphic organizer showing state and federal powers under this plan for government will help students see how this system divides power between the states and the national government.

Students then return to the original artwork, and decide if analysis of the meaning of the Preamble and the ideals of the Constitution affect how students 'see' the artwork. Using the 'connect/extend/challenge' visual routine, teachers can record what the students connected to, what new ideas pushed their thinking in different directions, and what is still challenging or confusing about the artwork or the Preamble.  

Some possible extension ideas are included in the collection to highlight the differences between the states as well as their similarities/unity, such as creating another artwork using an excerpt from the Declaration of Independence (while adhering to state DMV rules for vanity plates), and  comparing front pages of different states' daily newspapers. #SAAMteach

Aileen Albertson
9
 

Introduction to Primary and Secondary Sources

In this activity, students will learn about the differences between primary and secondary sources by comparing and analyzing different resources from the U.S. Civil Rights Movement

This collection provides ideas and strategies on how to spark discussions in the classroom about these types of resources, focusing primarily on students' interpretations of resources found here in Smithsonian Learning Lab.

Students will examine three different types of sources (documents, images, and objects). The activity consists of the following:

  •  In small groups, have your class examine the primary source, and have them summarize and report on its content, and discuss its strengths and limitations
  • For each primary source, review the groups' responses as a class.  
  • Then, have each group analyze the corresponding secondary source. Have them spot the differences between the primary and secondary source, and evaluate the reasons for using a primary source versus a secondary source. 
    • The primary and secondary sources in this collection focus on the same topic (the documents are about the Black Panther Party, the images feature Marian Anderson, and the objects relate to Rosa Parks)
  • Near the end of the collection is the students' task to sort through sources to identify which are primary vs. secondary sources.  
  • The final activity will call on students to reflect on the information that they have learned from the collection and ask them to think about how they would categorize digital resources  such as texts and tweets as either primary or secondary.

This collection and activity is based on the “Engaging Students with Primary Sources” guide from Smithsonian’s History Explorer, which can be found here: https://historyexplorer.si.edu/sites/default/files/PrimarySources.pdf. The guide is also included at the end of the collection, and can be used to develop other activities and/or collections on the topic of primary and secondary resources.


Alexander Graves
18
 

What is Kwanzaa?

In this activity, students will learn about the background and cultural significance of the holiday Kwanzaa through an an analysis of various resources:

  • The collection begins with several images related to Kwanzaa. By looking through each of the resources, students can gain a deeper understanding of the holiday. Each image contains text about different parts of Kwanzaa and quiz questions to encourage further thoughts and reflections. 
  • A resource from the Kwanzaa Planning Committee is featured after these resources to further discuss practices and principles related to the holiday.
  • Then, they will compare and contrast them with an image representing Christmas and another representing Hanukkah.
  • The final activity has the student upload a separate image and explore how he or she would use that image to describe Kwanzaa to someone.
  • The final resource includes an article from the Smithsonian Magazine that you can use to discuss the history of Kwanzaa with your class.
  • The resources include multiple choice and discussion questions.

To read more information about Kwanzaa, please read the following official Kwanzaa website set up by the African American Cultural Center in Los Angeles, California: (http://www.officialkwanzaawebsite.org/symbols.shtm...).

Tags: holidays, history, culture, African American culture, African American history, American history, American culture

Alexander Graves
14
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