The story of America—its founding, its shaping, its mythology—is told in many ways. Their influence may not always be obvious, but artists and their works have played an essential, powerful role in telling some of these stories.
On the same day when the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other national media outlets announced the reopening of the Emmett Till case, 36 K-12 educators from across the country were gathered for a panel discussion in the Tallahatchie County Courthouse, where the Till murder trial took place in 1955.
Critics have hailed The Things They Carried as one of the finest examples in American literature of writing about war. O’Brien served in Vietnam from 1969 to 1970, and, in The Things They Carried, wrote a co-created collection of linked stories that reads like a memoir. Used in high school literature and history classrooms across the U.S., our essay offers analysis of this popular book.
Literature about war—whether the lived experience of the author or not—has over the centuries taken the form of many genres: epic, tragedy, comedy, narrative poetry, history play, novel, short story, memoir, and lyric poetry. While reading works from Homer’s Iliad to Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, students can benefit from identifying not only the wide variety of genres depicting battle and its consequences but also from recognizing the stark contrasts these genres can represent in tone, style, point of view, and intent. Students may also find it of value to consider the war experience, if any, of the authors in question.
On April 14 we commemorate the death of Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865). The years in which Lincoln served as president, 1861–1865, were among the most momentous in America’s history. A month after his election, South Carolina seceded from the Union, triggering a four-year conflict that would leave nearly a million Americans dead or wounded, four million slaves free, and a nation changed forever.
Last week’s blog post introduced Chronicling America, a deep repository of historic American newspapers covering the years 1836–1922. Students can use newspapers available through Chronicling America to expose the rich texture of the women’s rights movement and its many milestones, meetings, and debates right from the beginning and in a way that few other resources can. As an added bonus, they will be working with the kind of complex informational texts that the Common Core English Language Standards recommends. In what follows, we'll be suggesting articles written from a variety of points of view that make arguments based on appeals to evidence.
Lissette Lopez Szwydky-Davis* and Sean Connors** received an NEH grant for their Summer Institute for K-12 educators, “Remaking Monsters and Heroines: Adapting Classic Literature for Contemporary Audiences.” What follows is a conversation between EDSITEment and Dr. Szwydyky-Davis and Dr. Connors about adapting literature for the classroom.
As The Vietnam War by Ken Burns and Lynne Novick is now in the rearview mirror it’s important to focus on how we will offer students the best information about the Vietnam era. For it is no longer a question of “if” we talk about Vietnam, but rather “how.” At the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund our mission remains to honor and preserve the legacy of service and educate all generations about the impact of the Vietnam War.
It is hard to imagine any movement more important for understanding the meaning of freedom and equal rights in the U.S. than the civil rights struggle in the post-World War II era. Yet, as Julian Bond succinctly argued, in most textbooks and the media, the popular understanding of that movement is reduced to: “Rosa sat down, Martin stood up, and the white kids came down and saved the day.”
Craig Harline, professor of history at Brigham Young University, received an NEH Public Scholar grant to write about Martin Luther between the years 1517 and 1522. His book, A World Ablaze: The Rise of Martin Luther and the Birth of the Reformation, was published by Oxford University Press in October 2017.