Tag Archives: Womens History Month

Links for Women’s History Month

Alice Paul source: http://www.americaslibrary....

Alice Paul (1885-1977) Activist, Suffragette, played by Hillary Swank in an HBO movie. Image via Wikipedia

March is Women’s History Month, something we take seriously at the Neighborhood, along with all our other holidays (even “Talk Like a Pirate” Day…AArrrggghh!).

It seems like we’re not the only site getting in on the act.  A typical Google search finds thousands of sites that have something to say about the holiday.  To that end, I’ve whittled it down to a list of websites you may find helpful when teaching about the importance of women in American history (as always, tell them Mr. D sent you):

National Women’s History Project – Here’s a good place to start.  The NWHP has a great clearinghouse house for anything and everything related to women’s studies.  Biographies, articles, lesson plans, resources, primary documents…you name it.

Women’s History Month from the Library of Congress – I guess you could call this the “official” page of the month.  Another one-stop shopping center of materials, but with the awesome powers of the Library of Congress, the National Parks Service, the National Archives, and the National Endowment for the Humanities backing it up.

Women’s History Month – History.com – History (which is what the History Channel calls itself nowadays) has also gotten into the act, just in case those shows about lumberjacks, truckers and pawnbrokers made you forget the original purpose of the network.  As expected, History’s site is a bit more multimedia, with streaming videos, links to photo galleries of famous women, etc.  Does have a nice summary on the history of the holiday, though.

Women’s History Month – Time for Kids – A little more kid-friendly than the other sites, TFK did a good job highlighting important women as well as the struggles for women’s rights, such as the suffrage movement and the 1970s feminist movement.  A really nice feature is “Name that ‘Toon” which takes political cartoons from past and present, asking the readers to supply their own captions.

Women Who Changed History – ScholasticScholastic‘s site is more of a research starter for students who can’t seem to find the right woman for their biography.  It includes the bios of women past and present, summaries of important movements, and quizzes/games for students to learn more.

Women’s History and Heritage Month – Smithsonian Magazine – Designed for older students and scholars, Smithsonian Magazine’s site features nuanced, scholarly articles on aspects of women’s history often overlooked by conventional sources, such as women artists of the Hudson River School, philanthropist Melinda Gates, Harriet Tubman’s spirituality, and a re-examinaton of Victorian womanhood.

National Women’s History Museum – Yet another omnibus site for the holiday, but with a concrete purpose.  The mission: to build a museum on the National Mall in Washington, DC dedicated to women’s history (a worthy cause, indeed).  Worth a look, even if you’re overloaded with materials.

Women’s History Month – Biography Channel – A favorite offshoot of A&E, the Biography Channel sure made it easy for students to research their favorite heroines for that big assignment.  Even if all the information isn’t there (and it probably isn’t), there’s enough story starters to get your kids on the right track.

Women’s History Month – The New York Times – The New York Times Education section has also gotten into the act, with resources, articles, lesson plans and printouts to be used in the classroom.  Their resources are worth a look, since they must use their vast archive of periodicals as a source.

Women’s History Month – ABC Teach – I don’t like putting pay sites on here, but the free part of ABC Teach is important, in that it has templates and worksheets that will help you plan your Women’s History Month activities.  DON’T BOTHER with the “member’s only” stuff – you can get that at the other sites for free.

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Website for the Classroom: Turning Points in American Sports

Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, 1973 (AP)

I’m gearing up for my trip to Cuba in a couple of weeks, so the next few posts will be more informational in nature.  More resources, less commentary from yours truly…which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

The Gilder-Lehrman Institute for American History produces an e-journal called History Now.  This quarter’s topic is sports, and no better month to release it than March, as pro hockey and basketball get more important, spring training has baseball on so many minds, and the grandest dance of all, the NCAA National Basketball Championships, both the men and the women.

The journal has some amazing articles.  Start with the introductory article on the importance of sports in American history by Fordham professor Mark Naison.  I’ve met Mark, and have also been on walking tours with him detailing the history of the South Bronx.   He is a fascinating scholar of urban history, as well as the chief archivist of the Bronx African American History Project, an incredible endeavor documenting thousands of oral histories–in essence providing a primary record for the history of the Bronx in the 20th and 21st centuries.

For those steeped in Women’s History Month, look at Gail Collins’ article on the 1973 “Battle of the Sexes” between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, as well as articles on women’s baseball and the importance of Title IX, which guaranteed equality in education and especially sports based on sex.

Along with the articles are great sidebars for teachers to use.  Interactive lesson plans, video clips, and archives of previous editions can allow you into a cornucopia of resources. 

Take a look and have some fun with this.  Let me know how you did, and I might even have more resources for you.

Now if you don’t mind, I have to finish my brackets.

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Mr. D’s History Bookshelf # 5: Rabble Rousers: 20 Women who Made a Difference

“In the new Code of Laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make I desire you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.” — Abigail Adams, 1776

Ever since the founding of our nation, the voices of women were important in building our society. 

Like so many of their male counterparts, many important female Americans were not willing to play nice to make a difference.  Anne Hutchinson braved Puritan aggression and a raging Indian war in New York in order to advance her beliefs.  Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Alice Paul endured constant opposition, both nonviolent and otherwise, in their quest to gain voting rights for women.   Harriet Tubman dodged very real dangers in leading enslaved Africans to freedom.

March is Womens’ History Month, and teachers will be hungry for good books for their students to use about these important women.  There are quite a few different books about many different women.  Yet if a student needs to do a biography, and hasn’t a clue about who (aside from the usual suspects mentioned earlier), then Rabble Rousers: 20 Women who Made a Difference by Cheryl Harness is a great start.

Harness took 200 years of womens’ activism and created a lively, engaging primer on many of the important women who changed our world.  20 women are documented in 2-page illustrated biographies covered with sidebars, photos and artwork detailing the lives, worldview and important events that these women lived through.

Many of the women documented here are well-known to students today.  Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, and Eleanor Roosevelt sould be familiar.  Yet there were others who may not be so well-known.  Mary Edwards Walker, for example, was an abolitionist and nurse who spied for the Union during the Civil War, becoming the only female to ever receive the Medal of Honor.  Frances Wright was an early 19th Century social reformer whose ideas about social issues made here at least a century ahead of her time.

One selection, however, puzzles me.  Ann Lee, the English mystic who founded the Shaker sect, or the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, is one of Harness’ revolutionary women.  I’m not really sure that the founder of a sect that is almost extinct today really warrants such a coverage. 

In spite of this, Harness excels in this work in both her detail and her focus.  Unlike other books on American women, she does not present a massive volume with hundreds of women in little detail.  Instead, her main thrust is to include 20 women who made active efforts to create positive change in their society, and to present them to the fullest extent possible.  Students who use the book in reports may only need one or two more sources to form a complete assignment.

Furthermore, girls can really use Rabble Rousers as a source of inspiration and encouragement.  By choosing women who led from the front, rather than behind, Harness is providing role models for women to become modern-day leaders.  She even provides detailed bibliographies, places to visit and suggestions for community action in the spirit of her revolutionary subjects.  Modern girls owe a debt to Cheryl Harness in providing such role models.

As we begin Womens’ History Month, make sure Rabble Rousers is necessary reading in your classroom.

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