What Really Happened? Comparing Stories of the First Thanksgiving

WEB LESSON Why are there so many different interpretations of what happened on the first Thanksgiving? What values do the various versions reflect? In this lesson, students will examine different versions of the story of the first Thanksgiving, evaluate the evidence that supports each version and discuss why the history of Thanksgiving is so contentious. Grades 11-12

Pick a Mountain Side

WEB LESSON Students learn about an ongoing legal battle between American Indian tribes and the Arizona Snowbowl over the use of the San Francisco peaks by reading and discussing the article "Commerce and Religion Collide on a Mountainside." They draft statements that express one side's point of view and propose a resolution to the conflict and write memorandums of understanding to outline a path towards reconciliation. MS-HS

Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights

WEB PRIMARY SOURCE ACTIVITY This is a copy of the ACMHR newsletter supported by a great article from the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute replete with discussion questions. The Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights (ACMHR) was a civil rights organization formed in 1956 after the NAACP was banned in that state. The ACMHR participated in major demonstrations in Birmingham between 1956 and 1965, from organizing boycotts of segregated businesses, to challenging segregation laws in court. This newsletter from 1961 documents some of the activities of the ACHMR; a program and donation card illustrate the group's fundraising efforts. This Teacher's Domain site is supported by a discussion guide and requires free registration.

Interview with Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth

WEB PRIMARY SOURCE ACTIVITY In this interview transcript, the Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth recalls his involvement in the Civil Rights movement and the importance of the religious community in the Civil Rights Movement. Shuttlesworth was a leader of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights and led civil rights demonstrations in Birmingham, Alabama, once considered one of the most segregated and racially violent cities in the South. A background essay and discussion questions put the interview in context for readers.

Country Preacher: Reverend De Laine

WEB VIDEO & DISCUSSION This video with background essay and discussion questions features an interview of the the children of Clarendon County, South Carolina Reverend Joseph De Laine. It shows how De Laine encouraged local families to join the class action lawsuit Briggs v. Elliot, the first to challenge public school segregation. In this video segment, Joseph De Laine, Jr. and Ophelia De Laine Gona remember their father's role in the controversial school desegregation lawsuit.

Freedom of Religion: Lee v. Weisman

WEB LESSON This Bill of Rights Institute lesson spotlights Deborah Weisman and the Supreme Court case Lee v. Weisman (1992). In this case, Deborah objected to her public school district's practice of inviting clergy to deliver invocations and benedictions at graduation ceremonies. The Supreme Court agreed that the Rabbi led non sectarian prayer violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. HS

Explicit and Implicit Language-Interpreting the Meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment

WEB LESSON Students analyze the exact wording of and watch two video segments about the Fourteenth Amendment and its interpretation in the context of history. Using the rubric given, student then write an essay addressing where the amendment is explicit or implicit in meaning. This analysis will help students understand how courts interpreted it to mean that individual behavior was not subject to the rights protections from state action. MS-HS

Minersville School District v. Gobitis

WEB LESSON Students explore the issue of the flag salute and how the opinions of the court related to establishing a balance between individual rights protected by an active judiciary and majority or democratically elected actions protected by judicial restraint. View a streaming video highlighting the Supreme Court from the late 1930s and the shift in Court perspectives during World War II as society became more aware of the dangers of denying minority rights that was evident in Nazi Germany. MS - HS

Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

WEB LESSON This WNET website is password protected but the registration is free. Students reflect on their own ideas of liberty and learn how to define and identify civil liberties. They watch a video segment about the impact of World War II and discuss how the war changed American ideas about democracy and liberty. MS - HS

The First Amendment and Freedom of Religion

WEB LESSON In this lesson, students will use the case of Park51's Islamic Cultural Center as a starting point for a discussion about whether religious freedom is absolute and if religious freedom requires respect for other religions. HS

Women in Islam

WEB LESSON This Religion and Ethics NewsWeekly website is password protected but the registration is free. Through the materials presented in this lesson, including a QuickTime video, students explore basic beliefs and practices of Islam, examine Muslim women's roles in Islam and modern American society, and compare women's rights in Islam with the history of women's rights in the United States.

Reverend C. T. Vivian, Civil Rights Leader Interview

PRIMARY SOURCE ACTIVITY In this interview, civil rights leader Reverend C. T. Vivian recalls his role in the 1960 Nashville sit-in movement, the 1961 Freedom Rides, and the 1965 Selma voting rights campaign. As an executive staff member of the Southern Christian Leadership, this source shows the influence of faith organizations in civil rights issues.

Pioneer Sikh Migration to California

WEB ARTICLE & CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES This article provides a history of the Sikh experience in California since they first migrated to the region in the late 19th c. Reading, writing, and discussion activities support the article. Elementary - MS

William Jennings Bryan, the "Great Commoner"

WEB LESSON William Jennings Bryan grew up a regular churchgoer and active in the YMCA. After high school and college, he went to law school and graduated in 1883. In a letter to his wife, he said that as a lawyer his aim would be to "mete out justice to every creature, whether he be rich or poor, bond or free." His great desire, he wrote, "is to honor God and please mankind."

The Mormons Teacher's Guide

CLASSROOM MATERIALS The Mormons provides insights into topics including religious movements and their impact on American history, Westward migration and the American frontier, the Second Great Awakening, the role of religion in American democracy. These resources support each of these topics and go with "The Mormons" PBS American Experience video now on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thp-4Tf-EgI

How did Americans define progress during the Progressive Era?

WEB LESSON Progressivism drew its inspiration from two sources - evangelical Protestantism and the sciences, both the natural and social sciences. In the early nineteenth century evangelical Protestants undertook reforms out of a desire to purge the world of sin. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries they directed their efforts to the ills they found in America's growing cities. HS level, National Humanities Center

Americans and the Holocaust: The Refugee Crisis (free sign in required)

WEB LESSON Interweaving Facing History's approach to historical inquiry with new sources from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's special exhibition Americans and the Holocaust, this unit shifts students' study of World War II and Nazism to the US. The unit deeply explores the motives, pressures, and fears that shaped Americans' responses to Nazism and the humanitarian refugee crisis it provoked during the 1930s and 1940s.