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Migrants, family of Mexicans, on road with tire trouble

[Detail] Migrants, family of Mexicans, on road with tire trouble

Lesson Overview

  • Is there a novel in every person?
  • Are there stories that have never been told because they seemed unimportant?
  • What is the value of the lives of people who will never be famous or have their biographies written?
  • Are we all part of American Memory?

Students address these questions through activities using oral history methods and investigating life in the 1930s. They compare the immigration/migration experiences of their families to those of people living through the Great Depression using interviews with parents, and photographs, films, and documents from the Library of Congress and other sources.


Students will be able to:

  • conduct oral history interviews;
  • understand and use research methodology, including online primary resources;
  • discuss changes in immigration/migration over time;
  • analyze photographs.


Time Required

Recommended Grade Level

  • 9-12
  • 6-8


  • Oral Histories
  • Culture & Folklife


  • Great Depression and WWII, 1929-1945


Evelyn Bender and Byron Stoloff