The David Mathews Center offers issue guides for classroom discussion on historical events in Alabama history, including the Creek War, women’s suffrage, and the Civil Rights movement. While the issue guides are an excellent starting point for discussing the difficult choices citizens made during these events, here are a few resources for taking your learning even farther.
Creek War of 1813 – 1814
For many Alabama students, the Creek War occured right in their backyard. In addition to historic sites like Fort Sinquefield and the Missippian people’s Moundville Archeological site, there are many online resources that can immerse students in the culture and history of the Creek tribe. The National Museum of the American Indian’s Infinity of Nations online exhibit features pictures of artifacts from many inidigenous peoples groups across the world, including Woodlands tribes such as the Creeks.
If you are interested in incorporating music, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings provides a lesson plan for analyzing the music and images of Southeastern US tribes who experienced the Trail of Tears. While the lesson plan and images are free, the songs from the album Beautiful Beyond cost one dollar to download. To give students a taste of Muskogee music, download “Believing and Praying” (track 123) by Margaret Mauldin. The Muskogee Creek Nation’s website also offers free videos to introduce students to the Muskogee language.
Votes for Women: Suffrage 1915
The National Women’s History museum offers an excellent overview of the evolving role and rights of women in America, from the country’s founding to the present. From comprehensive online exhibits to electronic field trips, the museum offers resources on just about every topic imaginable. If you are looking for a good place to start, their online exhibit on “Creating a Female Political Culture” provides examples of 19th and 20th century media for students to examine, and is a great compliment to the Women’s Suffrage: 1915 issue guide.
A few other resources that can help students better understand the diversity of female experiences include the National Portrait Gallery’s “Votes for Women” exhibit, The
National Archives “Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote” and the Library of Congress’s photos of 19th century African-American women activists.
Project C: Separate and Unequal in 1963
While there are dozens of Civil Rights sites worth visiting in Alabama, there are also many online resources available for students to explore. Voices of Alabama is a multimedia site that allows users to experience the stories of our state’s civil rights history. If students want to learn more about the Civil Rights movement across the United States, the Library of Congress provides a diverse array of images and profiles.
Music played an important role in the Civil Rights movement. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings offers two engaging lesson plans that bring the music of the Civil Rights movement into the classroom. The first is specifically about the music of the Alabama Civil Rights movement, the other follows the song “This Little Light of Mine” from its prominence in the American Civil Rights movement to its use in the Anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa.
On that note, if you are interested in connecting the United States Civil Rights movement with civil rights movements across the world, Google Arts and Culture offers exhibits on both South African Aparthteid and Aboriginal Activists. The Museum of Free Derry also has images and narratives that tell the story of the Troubles, which began in 1968 as a result of religious descrimination in Ireland.
Written by Gabrielle Lamplugh, Education Director