Student Challenge: Who Changed the Course of U.S. History without Uttering a Word?

Posted on December 4, 2015

Good question, isn’t it?  Where can students go to find the answer?

Biography In Context for starters, where you’ll find a feature this month on the Mother of the Civil Rights Movement, Rosa Parks. Her quiet defiance of sitting in a “whites-only” section of a bus on December 1, 1955, galvanized support for the Civil Rights Movement, sparking Freedom Rides, boycotts, and sit-ins. Transport students back in time to visit this tumultuous era in our nation’s history – students can read about Parks and her work, hear her speak in a video, and look at her statue that President Obama unveiled in the Capitol.

This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, and Student Resources In Context covers that legal precedent as well as recent challenges to it. While on the topic, Women’s Suffrage hit the big screen recently, and the fascinating stories behind that movement can be found in US History In Context. Read Susan B. Anthony’s “Speech on the Right of Women’s Suffrage,” from 1873, when she was arrested for the having the audacity to vote!  Look at photos of suffrage parades, read the Seneca Falls Declaration of Sentiments, as well as other primary sources from Carrie Chapman Catt, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and others.

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19th Century Nitty-Gritty: Out of Savagery into Civilization

By Melissa Rayner

Native American rights have been in the news quite a bit lately, especially as they relate to the Redskins controversy. That got me thinking:  How were things back in our favorite century?

And what I found broke my heart, much in the same way reading The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison breaks my heart every single time (yes, normally, these blog posts are kind of hilarious, and I promise to return to hilarity next week).

My search turned up an autobiography by Joseph K. Griffis (formerly Tahan), Out of Savagery into Civilization, in which he recounts–and even dumbs down–his many adventures as a wild man of the plains and how he eventually found his place among learned, civilized society. Here, the introduction lays out his many experiences:

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