Primary Source Highlights on DocsTeach

We're constantly updating DocsTeach.org — the online tool for teaching with documents from the National Archives. Here are some recent highlights. Newly Added Primary Sources Hollywood Ten - We recently added court documents related to the screenwriters, producers, and directors who jeopardized their careers by taking a stand against the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). Several … Continue reading Primary Source Highlights on DocsTeach

February is African American History Month

In celebration, the National Archives has teamed up with other federal agencies and cultural institutions to provide digital content, including resources for teachers. Along with the Library of Congress, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, we pay tribute to the generations of … Continue reading February is African American History Month

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 and develop critical thinking skills by evaluating historical congressional records as historians. Available on DocsTeach.org, … Continue reading To What Extent was Reconstruction a Revolution?

Black Soldiers in the Civil War: A New DocsTeach Activity

In this activity, students can analyze a Government poster used to recruit recently freed slaves to fight for the Union Army during the Civil War. The poster refers to the Emancipation Proclamation and President Lincoln’s General Order 233, to provide equal pay for Black soldiers and equal protection if they were captured by the Confederacy and became … Continue reading Black Soldiers in the Civil War: A New DocsTeach Activity

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.

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.

“Fighting for Freedom”: A Free Summer Institute from the National Archives at Boston and the National Park Service

The National Archives at Boston in Waltham, MA, and the Boston African American National Historic Site are teaming up to offer the 2013 Summer Institute for teachers "Fighting for Freedom at Home and on the Front: Boston's Struggle for Freedom, 1806–1865." The two-day institute takes place Monday, June 24, 2013 and Tuesday, June 25, 2013. … Continue reading “Fighting for Freedom”: A Free Summer Institute from the National Archives at Boston and the National Park Service

Mr. President, It is my Desire to be free.

"Mr. President, It is my Desire to be free." Thus wrote (another - not me!) Annie Davis to Abraham Lincoln, 20 months after he issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Writing from Belair, Maryland, she continued, “Will you please let me know if we are free.” But she was not. The Emancipation Proclamation affected only those states … Continue reading Mr. President, It is my Desire to be free.