May 30

Frederick Douglass delivers Decoration Day Address

May 30, 1871

President Pierce signs the Kansas–Nebraska Act

May 30, 1854

Related Lessons

Elizabeth Alexander, American poet and playwright, is born

May 30, 1962

Related Lessons

  • Walt Whitman to Langston Hughes: Poems for a Democracy
    Lesson Plan / Art & Culture
    Walt Whitman to Langston Hughes: Poems for a Democracy

    Walt Whitman sought to create a new and distinctly American form of poetry. His efforts had a profound influence on subsequent generations of American poets. In this lesson, students will explore the historical context of Whitman's concept of "democratic poetry" by reading his poetry and prose and by examining daguerreotypes taken circa 1850. Next, students will compare the poetic concepts and techniques behind Whitman's "I Hear America Singing" and Langston Hughes' "Let America Be America Again," and will have an opportunity to apply similar concepts and techniques in creating a poem from their own experience.

  • Walt Whitman's Notebooks and Poetry: the Sweep of the Universe
    Lesson Plan / History & Social Studies
    Walt Whitman's Notebooks and Poetry: the Sweep of the Universe

    Clues to Walt Whitman's effort to create a new and distinctly American form of verse may be found in his Notebooks, now available online from the American Memory Collection. In an entry to be examined in this lesson, Whitman indicated that he wanted his poetry to explore important ideas of a universal scope (as in the European tradition), but in authentic American situations and settings using specific details with direct appeal to the senses.

  • Whitman’s Echoes in the Inaugural Poem “Praise Song for the Day” by Elizabeth Alexander
    Lesson Plan / Literature & Language Arts
    Whitman’s Echoes in the Inaugural Poem “Praise Song for the Day” by Elizabeth Alexander

    This lesson plan is the seventh in the “Incredible Bridges: Poets Creating Community” series.  It provides a video recording of the poet, Elizabeth Alexander, reading the poem “Praise Song for the Day” composed for President Barak Obama’s 2009 inauguration ceremony. The companion lesson contains a sequence of activities for use with secondary students before, during, and after reading to help them enter and experience the poem.

Related Student Resources

  • “Praise Song for the Day” by Elizabeth Alexander, Video
    Student Resource / Literature & Language Arts
    “Praise Song for the Day” by Elizabeth Alexander, Video

    This video is the seventh in the “Incredible Bridges: Poets Creating Community” series. It provides a video recording of the poet, Elizabeth Alexander, reading the poem “Praise Song for the Day” composed for President Barak Obama’s 2009 inauguration ceremony. The companion lesson contains a sequence of activities for use with secondary students before, during, and after reading to help them enter and experience the poem.

Edgar Lee Masters publishes the first poem of what became “The Spoon River Anthology”

May 30, 1914