Teaching Vanport/ Teaching the Levees

I spent the morning talking with Donna Sinclair at The Center for Columbia River History about our 3/21 colloquium, Local Perspectives on the Civil Rights Movement. She was full of great ideas, including keynote speakers, ways to involve instruction around the tools of the historian (including collecting oral histories, using census data, interrogating primary documents, and contrasting newspaper archives), and assembling resources. It’s going to be a truly valuable day.

We spent some time talking about Vanport, the nation’s largest WWII housing project that vanished on Memorial Day, 1948. In talking about Vanport, I couldn’t help thinking about Katrina. At last week’s Institute, many participants were interested in the Teaching the Levees curriculum that Diana Hess introduced. It’s available as a free download .pdf file at http://www.teachingthelevees.org/.

Donna also mentioned an upcoming lecture that will be of interest: Quintard Taylor, professor of American History at the University of Washington and director of the http://www.blackpast.org/ website, is coming to town. He’ll be presenting The Other Black Northwest: Beyond Portland and Seattle at WSUV October 8 at 12:00 and at PSU October 9 at 5:30. Both those times are lousy for teachers, the former because it’s during the work day and the latter because it conflicts with Will Harris’ presentation on the Constitution and the 2008 Election. Here’s hoping they figure out how to capture the lecture on video or audio; if they do, I’ll be sure to pass it on.

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