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Herb - social history for every classroom

menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

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African American Workers: Conflict on the Homefront

In this lesson students analyze a propaganda poster, a photograph, and a poem to understand the tensions unleashed by the entry of African Americans into the industrial workforce during World War II.

Gender, Sex, and Slavery

In this activity students read about slavery's effect on women from the perspectives of an enslaved woman and a plantation mistress. Then students create a dialogue between the two women.

Exploring Slave Life Through Found Poetry

In this lesson students look at primary source images and read short secondary texts to understand slave life.  In the activity, the teacher models and students practice differentiating between different types of text (primary, secondary, etc.) [...]

The Poetry of Chinese Immigration

In this activity students read poems written by Chinese immigrants to understand the hopes of and challenges faced by Chinese immigrants during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Then students write an original poem about the Chinese [...]

Art, Commentary and Evidence: Analysis of "The White Man's Burden"

In this activity students analyze Kipling's famous poem about imperialism and read several poems that were written in response to it. Students discuss how effective the poems are as art, political commentary, and historical evidence.

Exploring Race Through Literature

Diverse literary texts provide opportunities for making connections about race and hearing multiple voices and perspectives. In this activity, students read literature and poetry from different American writers, reflecting on the meaning and [...]

The Iron Horse vs. the Buffalo: Indian-Settler Conflict on the Great Plains

In this activity, students read a series of primary source documents, including the 1872 print "American Progress," that depict the social, political and cultural conflicts between settlers and Native Americans during the 19th century. Then, working [...]

Propaganda and World War II

In this activity, students compare World War II propaganda posters from the United States, Great Britain, Nazi Germany, and the Soviet Union. Then students choose one of several creative or analytical writing assignments to demonstrate what they've [...]

Exploring the Irish in America Through Found Poetry

In this lesson students read poems and letters that describe the work and lives of nineteenth-century Irish immigrants to the United States. As students read the documents, they choose words and phrases to create found poems that reflect their [...]