Page Title

How have Americans viewed their life and their world throughout history?

How have they documented their impressions of each other?

Today you’ll explore these questions and take a tour of the Library of Congress’ online resources focused on American views and voices, and experience activities that support literacy and content knowledge. Agenda February 20, 2010


February 20, 2010






Welcome – introduction
Documenting our Journey: Echoes of Whitman

 American Voices Poem


Ethnicity and Culture: Tour #1
African American experience



Selected American Memory Collections: [also see Collection Connections for each]

African-American Perspectives: Pamphlets from the Daniel A. P. Murray Collection 1818-1907 This collection documents a wide range of events, topics, and issues in African-American history. It recreates the public dialogue among African Americans a century ago, and highlights political, cultural, and social issues.

Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project 1936-1938 This collection contains more than 2,300 first-person accounts of slavery and 500 black-and-white photographs of former slaves collected as part of the Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration.

The Church in the Southern Black Community - Documents the growth of the "Black Church" in the American South and how evangelical Christianity was modified by the African-American community to encourage dreams of freedom, the importance of community, and the desire for personal survival.

The Frederick Douglass Papers at the Library of Congress, document the activities of the noted abolitionist, writer and publisher. Included within this collection are correspondence with noted abolitionists including Henry Ward Beecher, Ida B. Wells, Gerrit Smith, and Horace Greeley, and scrapbooks documenting his activities.

Jackie Robinson and Other Baseball Highlights, 1860s-1960s - In 1947, Jackie Robinson signed a contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers, becoming the first African-American baseball player in the major leagues. Collection highlights Robinson’s multi-sport athletic talents and a courage, playing an active role in civil rights.

Voices From the Days of Slavery: Former Slaves Tell Their Story - Audio recordings of former slaves discussing their lives and their experiences while slaves.


Teacher Resources:

Primary source Sets

Jim Crow in America - After the Civil War, most Southern states limited the economic and physical freedom of former slaves by enacting laws that came to be called Jim Crow laws. This primary source set presents popular views on, and the causes and effects of, these laws

The NAACP: A Century in the Fight for Freedom The story of America's oldest and largest civil rights organization, told through letters, photographs, maps, and more.


Lesson Plans:

After Reconstruction (Grades 9-12) Students identify problems and issues facing African-Americans immediately after Reconstruction using text based sources. Students explore documents in order to simulate the 1898 National Afro-American Council meeting.

From Jim Crow to Linda Brown (Grades 9-12) Students explore the era of legalized segregation. This lesson provides a foundation for a more meaningful understanding of the modern Civil Rights Movement.

Baseball and Jackie Robinson (Grades 9-12) Students explore racism in the United States, both in and out of sports. The lesson focuses primarily on race relations in the 1950s.

To Kill a Mockingbird (Grades 7-12) Students are guided on a journey through the Depression Era South in the 1930s. This lesson helps students grasp how historical events and human forces have shaped relationships between black and white, and rich and poor cultures of our country.

Two Unreconciled Strivings (Grades 11-12) Students examine the tension experienced by African-Americans during the Gilded Age. The lesson explores the areas of family, work, play, faith, education, race, and violence.


Other Resources:

African American history month web portal - The Library of Congress, along with National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the generations of African Americans who struggled with adversity to achieve full citizenship in American society.

The NAACP: A Century in the Fight for Freedom exhibition presents a retrospective of the major personalities, events, and achievements that shaped the NAACP’s history during its first 100 years. Currently, the site highlights 70 treasures and will eventually expand to feature more than 150 items. (launched February, 2010)

Exhibition - With an Even Hand - This exhibition is divided into three section; it examines precedent-setting court cases that laid the ground work for the Brown v. Board decision, explores the Supreme Court argument and the public's response to it, and closes with an overview of this profound decision's aftermath.

African-American Odyssey - This exhibition tells the story of the African American experience through nine chronological periods, from Colonial settlement in 1492 to the post-war US in the early 1970s.

From Veteran’s History Project (special features) :





Voices of American Ingenuity:
Inventors and innovations


Research Agenda


Selected American Memory Collections: [also see Collection Connections for each]

Alexander Graham Bell Family Papers,1862-1939, includes correspondence, scientific notebooks, journals, blueprints, articles, and photographs. The papers document the invention of the telephone, the first telephone company, Bell's family life, interest in the education of the deaf, and aeronautical and other scientific research.

Emile Berliner and the Birth of the Recording Industry documents the activities of the person responsible for the development of the gramophone, microphone and flat recording disc. Recordings from the Berliner Gramophone Company document the various kinds of material recorded in the 1890. Also included is information on Berliner's other interests including public health and poetry.

Inventing Entertainment: The Edison Companies showcases the work of prolific inventor Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931). Known as the "Wizard of Menlo Park," Edison patented 1,093 inventions, including the phonograph, the kinetograph (a motion picture camera), and the kinetoscope (a motion picture viewer). This site features 341 motion pictures, 81 sound recordings, photographs, original articles, and other related materials.

Samuel F.B. Morse Papers at the Library of Congress, 1793-1919 documents the life and work of the inventor of the electromagnetic telegraph and his participation in the development of telegraph systems throughout the world and includes many of Morse's drawings and designs as well as his photographs. Also included are writings relatingto Morse's family, religion and the nativist movement.

The Wilbur and Orville Wright Papers - document the lives of the Wright Brothers and their work to develop the first powered and controlled aircraft. Includes scrapbooks, images, diaries, drawings and letters.

Teacher Resources:

Primary Source Set:

The Inventive Wright Brothers

Lesson Plans:

Thank you, Mr. Edison (Grades 7-12) Students investigate electrification as both a technological and social process. No other lesson plans available from Library of Congress in this area – you can help fill this void!

Other Library of Congress Resources:

Interview with an everyday inventor: Excerpt from American Life Histories, 1936-1940 Buck Sanders, operator of a small filling station and garage in a remote mountain section of North Carolina talks about his work as a business man and as an inventor.

What in the World is That? Interactive game in which students learn about amazing innovations and inventions from the past through primary sources. Includes famous as well as obscure inventions throughout history. Includes background information and teacher resources.

Flights of Fancy Use these Resources from the Library of Congress documenting the history of flight — the dreams, fantasies, experimentation and inventions that came before and after the historic achievement of the Wright brothers. 


Other Websites of Interest

Notable Women In Aviation History

Great American Adventurers: The Wright Brothers and the Airplane






Ethnicity and Culture: Tour #2
Asian American/ Northern California



Selected American Memory Collections: [also see Collection Connections for each]

The Chinese in California - Documents Chinese immigration to California between 1850-1925. Included within this presentation are stories of immigrants arriving in the United States, information on the impact of Chinese immigration on the United States and the growth and development of the Chinatown community in San Francisco.

"Suffering under a Great Injustice:” Ansel Adams’s Photographs of Japanese-American Internment at Manzanar - Adams documents the life of Japanese Americans interned at the Manzanar relocation camps during World War II. Photographs include portraits, views of daily life, agricultural scenes and sports and leisure activities.

California Gold: Northern California Folk Music from the Thirties is a multi-format ethnographic collection that contains more than 35 hours of recorded folk music, as well as still photographs, drawings, and written documents. European ethnic, Spanish- and English-speaking communities are represented.


Teacher Resources:

Primary source set: Japanese American Internment During World War II []

Lesson Plan:
Nothing to Fear (Grades 5-8) Students learn what the World War II experience was like for Japanese Americans living on the West Coast.


Other Resources:

American Memory Timeline: Chinese Immigration to the United States, 1851-1900 (Presentation) View a sampling of mid to late 19th century immigration documents related to Chinese immigration.

Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month (Presentation) May is the month to celebrate contributions of the millions of Asian/Pacific Americans who have enriched America’s history. This site, created for the 2009 celebration, is likely to be updated with a new theme for this year’s activities, but provides timeliness resources in the meantime.

Immigration: Chinese (Presentation) Learn about the Chinese experience in America from the 1840s to modern times. Be sure to click the globe on the left to view patterns of Chinese immigration across the United States.

Immigration: Japanese (Presentation) Learn about the Japanese experience in America from the mid 1800s to modern times. Be sure to click the globe on the left to view patterns of Japanese immigration across the United States.

Veteran’s History Project special features:
Asian Pacific Americans: Going for Broke


Lunch – credit information



Strategies for Women’s Suffrage:
Voices for Equality

Instructions for BOLT


Selected American Memory Collections: [also see Collection Connections for each]

Miller NAWSA Suffrage Scrapbooks, 1897-1911 presents the scrapbooks of Elizabeth Smith Miller and her daughter Anne Fitzhugh Miller which document their work in the woman’s suffrage movement. The seven scrapbooks included in the collection include articles, pins, ribbons and other memorabilia the Millers collected.

By Popular Demand: "Votes for Women" Suffrage Pictures, 1850-1920 This selection of 38 pictures, related to the campaign for woman suffrage in the United States, include portraits, photographs of suffrage parades, picketing suffragists, and an anti-suffrage display as well as cartoons commenting on the movement.

Votes for Women, 1848-1921, consists of proceedings from the meetings of women's organizations, books, pamphlets, memorials, and scrapbooks that document the struggle for women's suffrage and women's rights. The collection includes material from Carrie Chapman Catt, Susan B. Anthony, Julia Ward Howe, and others.

Women of Protest: Photographs from the Records of the National Woman's Party contains photographs documenting the activities of this militant organization in the woman’s suffrage movement. Included are a time line, images of parades and other protest activities and images of women imprisoned for their activities in support of the suffrage movement.

Teacher Resources:

Primary Source Set

Women’s Suffrage


Lesson Plans:

Suffragists and Their Tactics (Grades 9-12) Students use primary sources to explore the strategies and challenges of the women’s suffrage movement in the United States.

Voices for Votes: Suffrage Strategies (Grades 4-6) Students create original documents encouraging citizens to vote in current elections. This lesson is devoted entirely to the issue of women’s suffrage, both historically and in today’s society.

Women: Struggle and Triumph (Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12) Students synthesize information from journals, letters, narratives and other primary sources and write impressions of 19th century women in the Northeast, Southeast or West who helped shape United States history.

Women, Their Rights, and Nothing Else (Grades 9-12) Students create timelines and papers that explore the long route women traveled to receive the right to vote. Students use a variety of primary sources to investigate women’s route to suffrage.

Other Resources:

Pages from Her Story (Online Activity) Read women's perceptions of historic times and events in the reflections, hopes and dreams they recorded in diaries, journals, memoirs, reminiscences, letters, and speeches.

 WiseGuide (August 2003) guide to finding resources about Women’s history from Library of Congress


Ethnicity and Culture: Tour #3
Native American/ Hispanic



Selected American Memory Collections: [also see Collection Connections for each]

Edward S. Curtis's The North American Indian: Photographic Images presents the 2226 photographs taken by Edward S. Curtis for his work The North American Indian. Included are images of tribes from Great Plains, Great Basin, Plateau Region, Southwest, California, Pacific Northwest, and Alaska.

American Indians of the Pacific Northwest integrates over 2,300 photographs and 7,700 pages of text relating to the American Indians in two cultural areas of this region, the Northwest Coast and Plateau. These resources focus on housing, clothing, crafts, transportation, education, and employment.

Omaha Indian Music features traditional music from the 1890s and 1980s, including wax cylinder recordings made in the 1890s, songs and speeches from the 1983 Omaha harvest celebration pow-wow, and from the 1985 Hethu'shka Society concert at the Library of Congress. Includes interviews and photographs.

Hispano Music & Culture of the Northern Rio Grande documents the religious and secular music of Spanish-speaking residents of rural Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado. Includes regional alabados (hymns), folk dramas, wedding songs, and dance tunes recorded in 1940s.

The South Texas Border, 1900-1920: Photographs from the Robert Runyon Collection document the history and development of South Texas and the Mexican border, including the Mexican Revolution, U.S. military presence before and during World War I, and growth and development of the Rio Grande Valley.

Teacher Resources:

Primary source sets:

Hispanic Exploration in America

Assimilation through Education (Indian Schools)

Lesson Plans:

Indian Boarding Schools: Civilizing the Native Spirit (grades 6-9) - Students investigate and consider to reflect the multiple facets of the forced acculturation of the Native Americans during the late 19th and into the 20th century, to consider the many differing points of view on the "Indian problem," and how it could be solved.

Reservation Controversies: Then and Now (grades 8-12) covers historic issues dealing with American Indian Reservations in the 1870s and also in the present. It is divided into two sections with separate "scenarios" for the students.

The Huexotzinco Codex (grades 6-8) Students analyze a set of pictograph accounting documents created by native peoples of Puebla, Mexico in 1531. Students will take on the role of historians, study the documents, and create a scenario to explain what these documents were for, who created them, and why.


Other Resources:

Exploring the Early Americas: The Jay I. Kislak Collection (Exhibition) examines indigenous cultures, the drama of the encounters between Native Americans and Europeans, and the changes caused by the meeting of the two worlds. Rare maps are featured throughout the exhibition.

Veteran’s History Project special features:





American voices in crisis:
Responses to wars and threats


War Stories Worksheet


 Selected American Memory Collections: [also see Collection Connections for each]

After the Day of Infamy: "Man-on-the-Street" Interviews Following the Attack on Pearl Harbor, presents interviews of people from throughout the United States on their feelings after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. These tapes also include opinions on other events of the day including racial discrimination, labor disputes and the decision to go to war.

The September 11, 2001, Documentary Project, based on a similar project created after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, documents eyewitness accounts, expressions of grief and other commentary on the events of September 11, 2001. Included in this presentation are photographs, drawings, audio and video interviews and written narratives.

Washington during the Civil War: The Diary of Horatio Nelson Taft, 1861-1865 documents life in Civil War era Washington, D.C. as seen through the eyes of Horatio Taft. As Taft's sons were close friends of Abraham Lincoln's son, Willie, information about Lincoln and his family is included in Taft's diaries. Also included are descriptions of Lincoln's assassination as described by Taft's son, one of the attending physicians at Ford's Theater, and several of Taft's friends.

Teacher Resources:

Primary Source Set 

Veterans' Stories: The Veterans History Project

Lesson Plans:

Photojournalism: A Record of War (Grades 5-8) Students explore how and why war has been photographed and also see the bias within the recording/reporting of war.

What are We Fighting for Over There? (Grades 10-12) Students create World War I era newspapers with different perspectives on American involvement in the war.

What Do You See? (Grades 5-12) Students analyze Civil War photographs, and develop links between the Civil War and American industrialization.

Other Resources:

Exhibition: Witness and Response: September 11 Acquisitions at the Library of Congress Provides representative items from virtually every section of the Library of Congress, including prints, photographs, drawings, poems, eyewitness accounts and personal reactions, headlines, books, magazines, songs, maps, videotapes and films.

The September 11 Digital Archive uses electronic media to collect, preserve, and present the history of September 11, 2001 and its aftermath. . In September 2003, the Library of Congress accepted the Archive, which contains more than 150,000 digital items, into its collections. Provides an opportunity to contribute stories, upload images, documents, and other digital files to the Archive.

Veteran’s History Project special features:

Disabled Veterans - the Unhealed Wounds:

The Global War on Terror:

Voices of War:

Sweethearts, Family Ties & Buddies:



Individual search time
Creating American Views and Voices poems






If you are planning on doing the extra assignment in order to obtain the optional graduate credit, click here for the assignment specifications.  

Also, you will need to leave a reflection in the workshop forum, to go instantly to the workshop forum, click here. Be sure you leave your response in the America Views and Voices workshop area.



Current News

New resource: Book Backdrops developed by our summer institue participants.

Calendar of Events:

Coming this Fall 2015

Transforming America: America in the Gilded Age (Date to be announced soon)

Other offerings this fall will be Essentials Exploration and a Special Topics workhop focused on WWII