Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The 1920s: Two terrific primary source sets

I've just found two terrific primary source sets to use with my students while studying the 1920s.

The first set is part of the America in Class series from the National Humanities Center and is titled "Becoming Modern: America in the 1920s."
One section of that series is titled "Divisions," and it has well-curated sets of primary sources addressing these groups/conflicts:
  1. KKK
  2. Black and White
  3. City and Town
  4. Wets and Drys
  5. Religion and Science
  6. Labor and Capital
  7. Native and Foreign
  8. "Reds" and "Americans"
Each of the sets include pdf reprints of newspaper commentary, cartoons, and speeches.  What I like best about these reprints is that the cartoons are published on full sheets of paper, making considering all the detail that much easier.  This 1923 cartoon (caption: One Must Be Extinguished) shows the Statue of Liberty with two outstretched arms.  One arm is labeled "Liberty" and holds the torch of Democracy.  The other arm, labeled KKK, holds the fiery cross of racial hatred.
The sources also have excellent introductions that guide your students as they consider how to decode the documents.

The second set was produced as a joint project spearheaded by the California History-Social Science Project of the University of California, Irvine.  
This set, titled, "Red Scare! The Palmer Raids and Civil Liberties," begins with a short Teacher's Guide and Historical Background, a glossary, timeline, and then includes political cartoons and primary and secondary sources.  Each source is followed by a well-written series of questions to guide students to discover the main idea and pertinent details.  What I like best about this set is that it is a well-developed and comprehensive integrated unit unto itself.

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