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The Library of Congress > Teachers > Classroom Materials > Collection Connections > African American Perspectives

[Detail] Daniel A. P. Murray. Photographer unknown. Photo, undated

Chronological Thinking

The pamphlet collection can help students develop chronological thinking about patterns of change and continuity in social and political attitudes. Students can study issues such as women and work, race and equality, or the colonization of Africa, to trace and attitudes over time. In order to study changing attitudes, students may need a time line or other narrative sources to provide historical context for the pamphlets.

Historical Comprehension

Throughout the collection, students can juxtapose two or more pamphlets to compare and contrast attitudes of the time. These comparisons will help students analyze the narratives for what they reveal about motivations, intentions, hopes, fears, and doubts of the people involved.

Two documents in the collection, Ida B. Wells "Lynch Law in Georgia" and Rev. Emanuel K. Love's "A Sermon on Lynch Law and Raping," reveal discordant voices on an urgent issue at the end of the nineteenth century.

The Rev. Love takes on a voice of conservatism, in which he accepts the white separatist's correlation between lynching and the rape of white women. He criticizes those who "wave the bloody shirt." Love opposes "intermingling" of the races in his desire to "make the South the glory of all the world."

Ida B. Wells, on the other hand, is angered by those who "justify savagery on the ground that Negroes are lynched only because of their crimes against women" and provides evidence to the contrary.

Historical Analysis and Interpretation

Using this collection, students can build historical thinking skills by examining how an author's race, gender, and social class influenced the point of view presented in a document. Students can also examine the influence authors had on their audiences. For example, students might study writings by leaders of the national anti-lynching movement including Ida B. Wells-Barnett.

Historical Research Capabilities

This diverse collection can support many research projects. The documents are varied, ranging from sermons to pamphlets to poetry. Students can research a topic from different points of view, places, and time. They can study the development of different perspectives on historical events or periods. Secondary sources can provide context for this rich collection of primary source materials.

For example, many history textbooks cover John Brown's raid. Inthis collection, Frederick Douglass gives a speech praising John Brown. Students might compare Douglass' speech to a textbook account. They might seek additional points of view about John Brown in other primary sources such as newspapers of the era.

Historical Issue Analysis and Decision Making

The collection lends itself to providing historical context for issues relevant in today's society. Students can study the history of issues such as segregation, social mobility, and violence against minorities. They can role play and act out, how, under the circumstances of another era, they might respond to these issues. Using the pamphlets, students can examine how African Americans generated effective political action under the political, social, and economic conditions in which they were living.