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.
The film Lincoln spotlights Abraham Lincoln’s character and leadership and raises questions about the legislative process that enabled politicians to pass the Thirteenth Amendment that abolished slavery.
--Jason L. O’Brien and Wolfram Verlaan
Literature provides an ideal vehicle for guiding students beyond conventional accounts for a more profound exploration of Spanish influence in the Americas.
--Bárbara C. Cruz
Learning about the 1960s exodus of Cuban children to the United States can engage K-12 students in the study of immigration and U.S.-Cuba issues. A sidebar by Mario Minichino offers mapping activities, guided imagery, and other teaching suggestions.
--Stephen J. Thornton
Standard accounts of U.S. history present a chronology of events that begins in the East and moves west. An alternative approach traces Spanish exploration and settlement in what is now the American Southwest.
Two key maps that show the “known world” from the European perspective before Christopher Columbus’s voyages illustrate the knowledge of intellectuals of that period and reveal tales of exploration, conflict, and change.
--Luis Martínez Fernández
Approaching the encounter between Europe and the Americas as an intellectual rather than a physical discovery enables students to go beyond memorization to gain an understanding of Medieval and Renaissance ways of acquiring knowledge.
A painting inspired by the 1960 court-ordered escort of Ruby Bridges into a New Orleans school offers an entry point into the study of the civil rights movement and a significant event in American legal history.
--James A. Percoco
Teaching about the Civil War through the study of historic sites, such as the Confederate prison at Andersonville, challenges students to wrestle with tough interpretations of American history.
The featured letter to President Truman about the murder of an NAACP official can be used as a springboard into the exploration of the civil rights struggle and violence, as well as the issue of presidential powers.