The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and now the nomination of our first female presidential candidate by a major political party - the list does not stop there as Philadelphia is a city of firsts. Another first for Philadelphia happened at the 1948 presidential convention, when the Democrats, Republicans, and Progressives all hosted conventions here in Philadelphia. These conventions made history as the first to be televised, yet they also were well-known for large scale protests, specifically against a Civil Rights platform.
"If I say goodbye the nation learns to move on. It outlives me when I'm gone" -- President George Washington from the musical Hamilton
Sometimes taking the extra minute to dive into the history of a document can help uncover an array of information previously unconsidered. The Pope’s Dream, is often used with students in our archives to illustrate the anti-Irish sentiment in the United States at the end of the 19th century.
Many of us know the story of the late Cassius Clay who denounced his “slave name,” converted to Islam, and became known as Muhammad Ali, the greatest boxer of all time. Yet, many do not know, that the future Muhammad Ali was named after Cassius M. Clay, an abolitionist from Kentucky, who spent his life fighting for his beliefs. One has to wonder if Muhammad Ali knew that, like him, his namesake was not one to back down from a fight even against all odds.
Native American history can be an interesting conundrum for many teachers since it can be difficult to find the voice of native people over the abundant voice of white people speaking for, or about, Native Americans, often with misguided interpretations. One of the earliest accounts we have of Native American resistance is a speech made by the famous Shawnee, Tecumseh, when he spoke to the Osages in the winter of 1811-1812.
In honor of Black History Month, we are celebrating W.E.B Du Bois’ birthday. Du Bois was born on February 23, 1868 into a world where slavery was abolished, yet the struggle for African Americans to gain equal rights still persisted. He was a Civil Rights activist, co-founder of the NAACP, and paved the way in higher education by becoming the first African American to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard University.
The School District of Philadelphia may lack proper funding, but the United States' eighth-largest public school system has never wanted for dedicated teachers. For many of the city's Cold War kids, Helen Cheyney Bailey stands at the front of the class.
Born in Philadelphia and educated in its public schools, Bailey (1897-1978) initially dreamed of being a writer. A scholarship to Radcliffe College seemed to offer the Philadelphia High School for Girls graduate a chance at a life of letters. Gender conventions got in the way.
What was life like for a twenty-something free black woman living in Philadelphia during the Civil War? If you are interested to know, please check out our latest unit plan, Emilie Davis’s Civil War: 1863-1865.
What is appropriate for children to see when teaching slavery and abolition? This week Scholastic decided to pull the book “A Birthday Cake for Mr. Washington.” The book was the story of Washington’s chef, Hercules, and his daughter Delia, as they bake a cake for the President's birthday. Scholastic had been facing criticism because the story made slavery seem like a pleasant lifestyle where slaves were happy and left out the fact that the real Hercules eventually ran away from Washington’s home to gain his freedom.
HSP has just launched a whole new lesson plan section and a virtual lecture series on its website, by-products of the 2015 Cultures of Independence teacher workshop. Funded primarily by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the workshop’s foundational philosophy was that study of local landmarks provides entrée into national historical and cultural movements.