Category Archives: Document Spotlights

New DocsTeach Activity: Petition Against the Annexation of Hawaii

Students analyze a petition signed by over 50% of the native Hawaiian population against becoming a part of the United States Continue reading

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Records of the Monuments Men at the National Archives

Films based on major historical events are often based on records from the National Archives. This is especially true with the upcoming film “The Monuments Men” which opens this Friday, February 7th. Continue reading

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To What Extent was Reconstruction a Revolution?

Reconstruction was a tumultuous period in American history, and the question of whether it produced lasting change in regard to civil rights is still debated by scholars. A DocsTeach Activity using primary sources allows your students to enter the debate … Continue reading

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Oh Freedom! William and Ellen Craft’s Escape from Slavery and Continued Search for Freedom

A new primary source activity introduces students to the Crafts, who escaped slavery and were pursued under the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850. Continue reading

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Kidnapping of Free People of Color

Abolitionist Elisha Tyson wrote to Congress with details on several kidnapping cases of free African Americans in the North who were sold into slavery under the guise of the 1793 Fugitive Slave Act. Tyson argued that federal legislation was necessary to address the problem. Continue reading

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The Documents Behind Twelve Years a Slave

Students can see part of Solomon Northup’s story, told in his 1853 autobiography and the new movie, Twelve Years a Slave, in documents found in the National Archives. Continue reading

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More Primary Sources in DocsTeach!

Several new documents have been added to DocsTeach over the past few months. Our former intern shares some of her favorite new additions. Continue reading

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What Effect Did the WWII Fair Employment Practices Commission Have on the Civil Rights Movement?

Today’s post comes from Joel Walker, education specialist at the National Archives at Atlanta. On December 31, 1942, the Counter Intelligence Section of the Seventh Naval District based in Jacksonville, Florida, distributed its monthly summary of subversive activities.  On page … Continue reading

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Considering Context in Primary Sources: The Art of John Trumbull

What is a Primary Source?  In the very simplest terms, a “primary source” is described as any record that was created at the time of an event by someone who was there.  In short, an eyewitness account of some kind.  … Continue reading

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We Shall Overcome: Anxiety and Optimism for the March on Washington

On August 28, 1963, a quarter million people came to the nation’s capital to petition their duly elected government in a demonstration known as the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Frustrated by the inaction of a gridlocked Congress, … Continue reading

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