Understanding the American Experience

Long-Lost Letters Remind Us to Ask: Who Serves, and Why?

Letters sent on the eve of Gettysburg have been found and read for the first time. They remind us of the many reasons that different men and women have served and continue to do so.

Who furnished troops for the Civil War? did your state participate?

How many really perished in the Civil War?

Black soldiers have served as well

Latinos in World War II: Fighting on Two Fronts

Native Americans in Service

Grand Challenge: Understanding the American Experience

ERC Grand Challenges: For project design, for inquiry, for activism

The 15th Amendment

The 15th Amendment: Ulysses S. Grant’s Vision for a Post-Civil War America.

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Grand Challenge: Understanding the American Experience

ERC Grand Challenges: For project design, for inquiry, for activism

Hand colored lithograph print commemorating the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment containing a large central scene of the celebratory parade held in Baltimore in May surrounded by several bust portraits and vignettes. Source:  The Library Company of Philadelphia

Hand colored lithograph print commemorating the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment containing a large central scene of the celebratory parade held in Baltimore in May surrounded by several bust portraits and vignettes. Source: The Library Company of Philadelphia

The Birth of Women's Suffrage

In 1848, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott and other women called a women’s rights meeting in Seneca Falls, New York.  People came to view the Seneca Falls, NY gathering as the meeting that launched the suffrage movement.

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Grand Challenge: Understanding the American Experience

ERC Grand Challenges: For project design, for inquiry, for activism

By unknown - Library of Congress, PD-US, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22568316

By unknown - Library of Congress, PD-US, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22568316

The Quebec Diaspora

Emigration from French-speaking Canada benefited American industry and culture.

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Grand Challenge: Valuing World Cultures

·         Shed light on the interconnections among world cultures.

·         Add to knowledge of migrations, diasporas, and interactions of cultural groups

Grand Challenge: Understanding the American Experience

ERC Grand Challenges: For project design, for inquiry, for activism

Creole    girls,    Plaquemines Parish   ,    Louisiana   , 1935  Ben Shahn - This image is available from the United States  Library of Congress 's  Prints and Photographs division  under the digital ID  fsa.8a16783 .

Creole girls, Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, 1935 Ben Shahn - This image is available from the United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID fsa.8a16783.

Folklore and Complications of Geronimo’s Cadillac

Who was the enigmatic Geronimo and what is his place in our history?

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  Grand Challenge: Understanding the American Experience

 

STEM, STEAM, STEMX, STEMD and beyond..

ERC Grand Challenges: For project design, for inquiry, for activism.

Geronimo in a 1905  Locomobile  Model C, taken at the Miller brothers' 101 Ranch located southwest of Ponca City, Oklahoma, June 11, 1905 |  Public Domain

Geronimo in a 1905 Locomobile Model C, taken at the Miller brothers' 101 Ranch located southwest of Ponca City, Oklahoma, June 11, 1905 | Public Domain

The Cultural Force of 19th Century Japanese Baseball

Japanese immigrants to the United States were deeply familiar with baseball: Japan had embraced it in the late 1800s. During the Meiji Restoration leaders promoted baseball as a way to transform the image of Japan while facilitating international connections.

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  Grand Challenge: Valuing World Cultures

Shed light on the interconnections among world cultures.

Study historic and contemporary cultural and artistic heritage, with emphasis on the heritage, arts, indigenous knowledge and expressive systems, and contemporary art and design.

Add to knowledge of migrations, diasporas, and interactions of cultural groups.

Deepen our understanding of significant global political and historic patterns and events and their impact on humanity and the planet. 

Grand Challenge: Understanding the American Experience

Conduct research on historical migrations and diasporas to and within America and on the contemporary movements of people, art, artifacts, and cultural expressions that connect various world cultures to the American experience.

Use material culture and documentary collections to research and interpret national milestones and achievements; American life and national identity, cultural expression, the environment and changing landscape, and achievements in science and technology; political and military struggles; economic, scientific, technological, and cultural innovations; and artists and leaders that have defined the United States and the character of its people.

STEM, STEAM, STEMX, STEMD and beyond..

ERC Grand Challenges: For project design, for inquiry, for activism.

Gettysburg Cyclorama

One of the most celebrated and widely viewed paintings of the nineteenth century --actually what was called a " Cyclorama"-- almost didn’t survive into the twentieth. The installation provoked an intense, extended and emotional revisiting of America's recent Civil War. Frenchman Paul Philippoteaux's The Battle of Gettysburg, a vast canvas with a vast audience—hundreds of thousands had once flocked to see it—was found by a Boston Globe reporter fifteen years later, moldering in a shed at the back of a vacant lot. 

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Grand Challenge: Understanding the American Experience

Use material culture and documentary collections to research and interpret national milestones and achievements; American life and national identity, cultural expression, the environment and changing landscape, and achievements in science and technology; political and military struggles; economic, scientific, technological, and cultural innovations; and artists and leaders that have defined the United States and the character of its people. 

 

ERC Grand Challenges: For project design, for inquiry, for activism.

Detail of the cyclorama from  National Park Service

Detail of the cyclorama from National Park Service

The Great Mississippi Flood Found Footage: Haunting, Poetic

Bill Morrison’s masterpiece of found footage, explores a moment in American history that brought on huge social, demographic and environmental changes.

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Grand Challenge: Understanding the American Experience

Use material culture and documentary collections to research and interpret national milestones and achievements; American life and national identity, cultural expression, the environment and changing landscape, and achievements in science and technology.

ERC Grand Challenges: For project design, for inquiry, for activism.

Undiscovered Photo of Harriet Tubman

 

Tucked into a rare. almost disintegrated, album’s last page is a previously unknown photo of one of American history’s great figures: abolitionist Harriet Tubman, in what’s believed to be the earliest photo of her in existence.

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Understanding the American Experience

Use material culture and documentary collections to research and interpret national milestones and achievements; American life and national identity, cultural expression, the environment and changing landscape, and achievements in science and technology; political and military struggles; economic, scientific, technological, and cultural innovations; and artists and leaders that have defined the United States and the character of its people.

Photo Credit: Shawn Miller

Photo Credit: Shawn Miller

African-American Civil War Veterans Created Their Own Town

After the Civil War, 18 veterans of the United States Colored Troops returned to Talbot County, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, where their families had toiled for generations. But this time, they had a chance to create something their ancestors had been denied: a village of their own, where everyone was free.

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Understanding the American Experience

Conduct research on historical migrations and diasporas to and within America and on the contemporary movements of people, art, artifacts, and cultural expressions that connect various world cultures to the American experience.

Interpretation of the diverse communities of the United States, particularly African American, Latino, Asian Pacific American, and Native American, as well as the cultural interrelationships among these communities.

 

ERC Grand Challenges Network: for inquiry, for project design, for activism. 

Photo Credit: Gabriella Demczuk

Photo Credit: Gabriella Demczuk

Zoot Suit Riots

The Zoot Suit Riots were a series of conflicts in June 1943 in Los Angeles, California, United States, which pitted European Americans servicemen stationed in Southern California against Mexican American youths and other minorities who were residents of the city.

European American servicemen and White European immigrant civilians attacked and stripped children, teens, and youths who wore zoot suits, ostensibly because they considered the outfits to be unpatriotic during World War II, as they had a lot of fabric. Rationing of fabric was required at the time for the war effort. While most of the violence was directed toward Mexican American youth, young African American and Filipino Americans who were wearing zoot suits were also attacked.

The Zoot Suit Riots were related to fears and hostilities aroused by the coverage of the Sleepy Lagoon murder trial, following the killing of a young Latino man in a barrio near Los Angeles. The riot appeared to trigger similar attacks that year by European Americans against Latinos in Chicago, San Diego, Oakland, Evansville, Philadelphia, and New York City.

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Provocations: 

  • What statements do we make with the clothes we wear, and how are they a part of our cultural moment?
  • How have class, race, and age shaped violent events in America's past?
  • How would you make a zoot suit? How has it influenced fashion since its day?
  • Did the cities that banned the zoot suit solve the underlying problems? 
  • What other fashions have caused social ruckus? 
Photo credit: Gordon Parks / Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division 

Photo credit: Gordon Parks / Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division 

6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion - The Campaign for the National Museum of the United States Army

The 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion was a unique U.S. Army unit and it had the distinction of being the only all-African American, all-female unit sent overseas during World War II.  The women kept mail flowing to nearly seven million soldiers in the European Theater of Operations (ETO).

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WACs who would later be organized into the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion stand in front of their quarters in England, 17 February 1945 (National Archives)

WACs who would later be organized into the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion stand in front of their quarters in England, 17 February 1945 (National Archives)

 

ERC Grand Challenges: For project design, for inquiry, for activism.