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US History

A Pocketful of History

--Sherry L. Field and Linda D. Labbo
Read a biography. Then examine "pocket contents." In Lincoln's vest pocket? A draft for a speech, theater tickets, and a photograph of his family, among other items. "Artifacts" are suggested for the pockets of Benito Juarez (president of Mexico), Grandma Moses (artist), Mary McLeod Bethune (black educator), and others.

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Was the Constitution Pro-Slavery? The Changing View of Frederick Douglass

By Robert Cohen
Many have questioned whether the document on which our nation is based sanctioned slavery. But renowned abolitionist Frederick Douglass, who originally condemned the Constitution, came to view it in a much different light.

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Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise (American Masters/PBS)

The exclusive U.S. broadcast premiere of the first feature documentary about author/activist Dr. Maya Angelou, "American Masters -- Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise," airs Tuesday, February 21 at 8 p.m. on PBS (check local listings)--the day Malcolm X was assassinated back in 1965. He and Dr. Angelou's work together are discussed in the film, which features new interviews with Dr. Angelou (filmed just before her death in 2014), Oprah Winfrey, Common, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and others.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017 - 8:00pm

Why Do We Focus on Firsts? Problems and Possibilities for Black History Teaching

Focusing on barrier-breaking individuals in teaching about history not only fosters hero-worshipping, but ignores the power of groups in initiating broad social change.

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The Status of Black History in U.S. Schools and Society

This special issue offers approaches for improving the teaching of Black history.

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The Library of Congress is now accepting applications for its week-long summer institutes for K-12 educators. Held at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., this professional development opportunity provides educators of all disciplines with resources and strategies to more effectively integrate primary sources into K-12 classroom teaching. Each session will focus on pedagogy, with an emphasis on supporting student engagement, critical thinking, and construction of knowledge.
May 2, 2017 -
7:00pm to 8:00pm

This webinar will share key details and teaching resources on the humanitarian crisis in Syria and the rise of ISIS. Hear from the Director of, Andrew Beiter, on the current situation on the ground, how to approach this topic with your students, and how your students can take action.

Complimentary for NCSS members / $40 NCSS nonmembers


Birth of a Movement (PBS/Independent Lens)

In 1915, African American newspaper editor and activist William M. Trotter waged a battle against D.W. Griffith’s notoriously Ku Klux Klan-friendly blockbuster fictional film, "The Birth of a Nation," which unleashed a fight still raging today about race relations and representation in the media, and the power and influence of Hollywood.
Monday, February 6, 2017 - 9:00pm

Civil Rights Lesson Plan (

Looking for a lesson plan that will launch young people into imagining themselves as agents of change? "Kids in Birmingham 1963" shares its second ready-to-go lesson, "What would YOU do?: The 1963 Birmingham Children's Crusade." Students read brief interview statemets from four people, black and white, who were youth in Birmingham at the time of the march. Today's students reflect on whether they would have joined -- or not.
Foreign Policy Research Institutes' (FPRI’s) professional development opportunities for high school history and social science teachers include a History Institute on “Why Does America Go to War?” on March 25-26, 2017. Learn about it at


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