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Road to Freedom: Emancipation Proclamation

Since arriving in North America in the 15th century, Africans in the United States were forced to navigate the social, economic, and physical limitations placed upon their lives by the institutions of slavery and the racist ideology that justified it. The following primary source set shows several ways that different communities responded to the outlawing of the Atlantic slave trade (and subsequent yearly celebrations of the event) and the Emancipation Proclamation. These two events fundamentally challenged and changed the institutional practices of slavery. 

Social Justice Books

From Social Justice Books: A Teaching for Change Project, this powerful site offers more than 60 curated lists of books on social justice and multicultural points of view for children, young adults, and educators. Book lists are organized by topic areas–including Changemakers, Disabilities, Immigration (and specific immigrant groups), Organizing, and Voting Rights! 

Differentiating Instruction for Special Education ELL Students

In this example, a Special Education teacher who built a unit around a museum field trip describes a combination of teaching strategies designed to meet the needs of English Learners and students with disabilities, providing examples of student work.

She describes "the opportunity to supplement my curriculum units with visualizations and hands-on experiences to facilitate their learning of weather and climate concepts and to make connections between content areas and Museum exhibits."

Strategies described and illustrated include:

Disability History Timelines

Analysis of the timelines below can help students to locate important events in Disability History in a larger historical framework. Timelines also offer opportunities to explore the impacts of activism, policy, and social change. Disability History timelines work best when students are also gaining contextual background knowledge about larger social forces and events. Thus these particular timelines are recommended for grades 6-12. 

 

Scan Multiple Timelines 

Social Security: What is the Federal Responsibility to Care for Vulnerable People?

In this lesson, students learn about the Social Security Act and its provisions to care for the elderly, the unemployed, mothers and children, and children and adults with disabilities.  Students will examine several primary source images and documents related to the New Deal era, using a primary source analysis organizer. The lesson offers options in how students can show their learning. This lesson plan has a special feature: the teacher who authored it offers reflections on how teaching the lesson worked with her class when she taught it the first time.

Child Immigrant Experiences of Early 1900s and Today

This lesson encourages students to visualize the journeys and lives of immigrant children in the early 20th century and also of immigrant children today. It features video interviews with kids who have recently immigrated and archival photos of child immigrants from the turn of the 20th century. The multi-day lesson is designed to help elementary school students learn from primary and secondary sources, and also uses historical fiction and imaginative prompts to develop understanding and empathy for the immigrant experience.

In or Out: Race and Disability as Legal Barriers to Immigration

Who gets accepted as a citizen or as an immigrant?  Who is considered a desirable immigrant? Students will work in small groups to examine a primary source text and image set about immigrants at the turn of the 20th century.  They will use the sources to develop a deeper understanding of the hurdles and discrimination many immigrant groups faced. In addition to learning about race-based entry policies, students will observe that many types of disabilities were considered undesirable and would keep an immigrant out.

Immigration

The massive influx of immigrants to the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries shaped American society both at the time and indefinitely. The following primary source set explores materials organized for the Collaborative for Educational Services and by the Library of Congress. The Library of Congress has crafted a vast number of primary source sets, interactive presentations, and collections to showcase the tremendous volume of materials on the subject.

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