Telling the American Story
Our year begins with studies of the indigenous people and the encroaching American colonies. This presentation, taking place in mid-September from the National Museum of the American Indian, should shine some light on those times. We will look at three familiar accounts in American history and consider them from different points of view. Here is the official description of the session:
The American story has been profoundly shaped by American Indians, yet the stories told about Indians are often false and almost always incomplete. What do we gain by telling stories that may not be true? What do we lose? In this program, students examine three key events in American history—the first Thanksgiving, the life of Pocahontas, and the Battle of Little Bighorn—to uncover the hidden stories behind them.
Monticello was the home of Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence and 3rd president of the United States of America. The revolutionary ideas of this man of the Enlightenment were instrumental in the creation of the United States. His home in Charlottesville, Virginia, is an architectural icon, with its neoclassical design drafted by Jefferson himself. But Monticello was also a working plantation, and the home to hundreds of enslaved people. The Founding Father who wrote “all men are created equal” was also a lifelong slave owner.
Slavery at Monticello
A second hookup with Monticello will focus on slavery at Monticello. No study of Thomas Jefferson is complete without thinking about the internal struggle of the this man who, though advocating for every man as being equally-created and yet owning slaves. Students really have to think about the moral struggle in the third president's thinking and actions. Here is the description of the session:
How could the author of the Declaration of the Independence own slaves? How could twenty percent of the population of the new United States, founded on the principles of liberty and equality, live in bondage? What was life like for enslaved people in the early republic?
Finally, I've wanted to hear my friend's story since I learned he had a story. On the September 11 anniversary of the largest terrorist attacks in the United States, we will hear from him as we connect virtually in the classroom. As you can tell from his explanation below, his experiences extend beyond 9/11, but we will focus primarily on that infamous day in history.
I served in DESERT SHIELD and STORM (lost two jets in one day and another one a few days later), 9/11 at US Strategic Command with President Bush, was dropped into Croatia to pickup a downed F-16 with its parts at the bottom of the Adriatic, and generated and maintained the B-2 bombers at Whiteman AFB for their combat debut in the Balkans.