Step 1: Introducing the Project. 1-2 class periods
- Classroom teacher will introduce the question "Was the Depression North Carolina's 'Reconstruction'?" for initial reaction from students and to review the Civil War/Reconstruction Era.
- Students will receive the assignment.
- The instructor will explain the project in detail, stressing the importance of research, drawing conclusions, and answering the question.
- Opportunities will be provided for individual and group questioning.
Step 2: Researching the New Deal. Time will vary
- Students will research the impact of the Depression and New Deal programs on the social, economic and/or political life of the individual in preparation for the writing assignment.
- Students may interview individuals who were living during the Great Depression.
- Students should search for a specific illustration for the assignment.
Step 3: Introducing American Life Histories, 1939-40. 1-2 periods
- Introduce and demonstrate use of the American Life Histories: Manuscript from the Federal Writers' Project.
- Use the American Life Histories Special Presentation Voices from the Thirties to introduce the collection and the work of the Federal Writers' Project.
- To assist students in conducting searches, demonstrate use of the Search Tips page of American Memory.
- Work with the media specialist to identify other online sources as well as print sources from the school library collection.
Step 4: Exploring American Life Histories, 1936-40. 1-5 periods
- Students will explore the American Memory Collection, American Life Histories. They should read a variety of interviews, observing point of view/bias and format of questioning.
- The following questions will serve to guide students as they research the American Life Histories, 1936-1940: "How did the Depression affect different social, economic, geographical, and political dimensions of North Carolina?" and "If you were going to interview someone from North Carolina during the Depression, what kind of person would you look for?"
- The student should select a specific occupation as the basis of further research and for the "interviewee" in the imaginary Life History report. Suggested occupations include artist, banker, bootlegger, farmer, lawyer, merchant, mill worker, preacher, sharecropper, and sheriff. The occupation request form should include the following: occupation; sex, race, state geographic location, designated name.
Step 5: Creating the "Interview". 1-2 periods
- Guide student writers in format, style, and tone of the project.
- The following WPA Life Histories from North Carolina provide a contrast in writing styles that will be useful to students as they begin their original interviews: Stella Wall, Aline Caudle, Allen Teavis, Mary Allen.
- Students will link reports to images and print or text citations.
- A bibliography will accompany the report.