Blog Round-Up: African American History and Primary Sources

Since 1976, February has been designated as a time to pause and reflect on the experiences and contributions of African Americans. Teaching with the Library of Congress has published many posts that show the impact of African Americans in a wide variety of arenas including the arts, sports, literature, and politics, with a particular focus on work to ensure equal rights for all.

Frederick Douglass: Activist and Autobiographer

Last November, we published a post addressing the controversies associated with Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. A recent comment pointed out that Huck’s views on slavery are those of the dominant society of the time. Because the post featured a letter from Frederick Douglass as a supplement to the novel, the commenter wondered “why not present the experiences and views of the oppressed rather than the oppressor?” That struck me as an intriguing question, so here are a few places to start exploring those views and experiences with your students.

Teacher Webinar Tuesday Oct 7 — Civil Rights Act of 1964: A Long Struggle for Freedom

On Tuesday, October 7, at 7 PM ET, staff from the Library will host a webinar that will engage participants in a model primary source analysis, facilitate a discussion about the power of primary sources for teaching about civil rights issues, and demonstrate how to find resources from Library of Congress.

The Civil Rights History Project: Primary Sources and Oral History

History is most fascinating when we feel connected to the people who lived in the past. One way to pique student interest is by using primary sources from the Library of Congress — letters, photographs, and oral histories — that document real people’s lives. The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress recently launched the Civil Rights History Project, a digitized collection of interviews with active participants in the Civil Rights movement and essays about the movement.

Bringing History and Dance Together: The World of Katherine Dunham

Most people don’t think of dance as a way to bring history to life. Looking at dancers in photographs, films and other images and reading about dancing and its role in celebrations, commemorations and other events can help students learn about what issues and events were considered important in a community, how people celebrated, what mores and values were important and how people dressed when going to certain events.