There was a time when American History teachers had to just "hold tight" until their course chronology met up with available Facing History resources on the Eugenics movement (late 1800s/early 1900s), and 20th century issues around immigration, education, and "race."
We've all heard the adage "first impressions are the most lasting." As your students return from summer vacation, what first impressions will they have on their first day in your classroom? What lasting impressions will "set the tone" for the remainder of the semester or school year?
Building on our webinar for creating a safe, reflective classroom community, this week each LA Program staff member of Facing History and Ourselves will share their favorite community-building activity. Here is post #2 of 4.
To Look At Me You Wouldn't Know...."
I absolutely love this simple yet powerful strategy to help build classroom community by breaking down students' assumptions and stereotypes about others.
This is the final installment in a five-part series on The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case: Race, Law and Justice in the Reconstruction Era, by Michael A. Ross.
As I approached the last chapters of this book many questions emerged, particularly during the courtroom drama which unfolds in Chapter 9, "Unveiling The Mystery."
- What message would be sent if the defendant is found guilty or not guilty?
- Who would claim victory?
- How would politics and the media, during this era of Reconstruction, use the verdict to influence public opinion?
- How would the verdict reverberate throughout New Orleans or for that matter, the rest of the nation?
- What would happen should this case fall apart altogether?
- And finally, how would the verdict be attributed to race?
The politics of reconstruction had turned the world upside down."
This is part four in a five-part series on The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case: Race, Law and Justice in the Reconstruction Era, by Michael A. Ross.
Chapters 5 to 7 of The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case reveal that who you were - your color, position, gender, political affiliation, personal history, and where you were from - mattered. These attributes became the basis for how society judged an individual's motives or trustworthiness. One's credibility and reputation rested on these factors more than the substance of what you said or did.
Suspects Ellen Follin, a Creole, and her sister, Louisa Murray, are arrested for the kidnapping of Molly Digby. As a Creole, Ellen had greater status than former slaves in New Orleans society. She owned a Lying-In Hospital, which was what one newspaper referred to as a “house of secret obstetrics,” a questionable profession even then.
This is part two in a five-part virtual book club on The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case: Race, Law and Justice in the Reconstruction Era, by Michael A. Ross.
For this week, we read Chapter One: “A Kidnapping in the Back of Town.” Chapter one sets the stage for introducing one of our country's most sensationalized kidnapping mysteries in history. Through the lives of ordinary Americans from every segment of society in 1870 New Orleans, we see the entire social order of society turned upside down at the height of Reconstruction after the Civil War.
With the kidnapping of Molly Digby, the 17-month-old baby from Irish working class parents, a cast of citizens navigate their identities, roles and responsibilities in a city torn apart by politics, racial fear, rumors, hysteria and religious accusations of Voodoo sacrifices. This includes:
- Louisiana's Governor, Henry Clay Warmoth,
- a Union army veteran from Illinois,
- suspect Ellen Follin, described in the press as a "fashionable tall, mulatto woman, probably for the purpose of receiving a ransom,"
- police chief Algernon Sidney Badger, originally from Massachusetts, and
- African American detective John Baptise Jourdain, assigned to the Digby case.
Although his book reads like a classic "who done it?" detective story from the pages of Sherlock Holmes, Michael A. Ross, author of The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case: Race and Justice in the Reconstruction Era offers deep insights into the hearts and minds of Southern society in the aftermath of the American Civil War. In honor of the release of Facing History and Ourselves' newest case study The Reconstruction Era: The Fragility of Democracy, we're doing a virtual book club on the blog!
We all know our experience in the world is not detached or separated into departments or subject matters. In fact, depending where we are and what we are doing, we often see the connections and intersections between historical knowledge, human behavior, psychology, literature, science, math and technology. This realization often brings into question why many of our schools are designed and structured around separate departments with separate curriculum where teachers meet within their disciplines to discuss or plan subject matter lessons.
Article II, Section 2 of the United States Constitution states the President "shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient." Last night, as with Presidents since George Washington, President Obama delivered his third State of the Union Address. Over the years, Presidential statements have increased influence and profound impact on both the direction of our country as well as personal expressed values and beliefs which strengthen us as a democracy and a people.