Presentation on theme: "Post-War Suburbanization: Developing Effective Questions for Historical Investigations Bruce A. Lesh Franklin High School Reisterstown, Maryland."— Presentation transcript:
Post-War Suburbanization: Developing Effective Questions for Historical Investigations Bruce A. Lesh Franklin High School Reisterstown, Maryland
1920s Unit Plan 1920s Consumer Culture (1 Day) New Women of the 1920s (1 Day) Marcus Garvey and African Americans in the 1920s *(1 Day) Prohibition (1 Day) Buck vs. Bell and Intolerance (1 Day) Causes of the Depression (1 Day) Hoover and the Depression (1 Day) Bonus Army * (2 Days) Unit Exam
Elements of a History Lab A central question that does not have one answer. Source work—Historical sources are evaluated and the information gained is applied to the development of an answer to the lab’s central question. The employment of literacy skills to evaluate historical sources. The development, refinement, and defense of an evidence-based answer to the guiding historical question
“The point of questions…is to provide direction and motivation for the rigorous work of doing history.” Linda Levstik and Keith Barton, Doing History: Investigating with Children in Elementary and Middle Schools
“…teachers introduce a sense of mystery…by raising thought-provoking questions, ones that demand answers supported by reasons, by evidence…” Teaching United States History as a Mystery David Gerwin and Jack Zevin
“What Leads to the Fall of a Great Empire? Using Central Questions to Design Issues-based History Units,” Edward Caron Six criteria for effective questions to guide historical inquiry: –Does the question represent an important issue to historical and contemporary times? –Is the question debatable? –Does the question represent a reasonable amount of content? –Will the question hold the sustained interest of middle or high school students? –Is the question appropriate given the materials available? –Is the question challenging for the students you are teaching?
“Challenging History: Essential Questions in the Social Studies Classroom” by Heather Lattimer Get at the heart of the discipline Have more than one reasonable answer. Connect the past to the present. Enable students to construct their own understanding of the past. Reveal history as a developing narrative. Challenge students to examine their own beliefs
Historical Categories of Inquiry cause and effect change and continuity turning points using the past and through their eyes “spiraled and sequenced throughout the curriculum” build a common language” to structure students examination of the past Thinking Like an Historian: Rethinking History Instruction A Framework to Enhance and Improve Teaching and Learning Nikki Mandel and Bobby Malone
Marcus Garvey: The Evolution of a History Lab Question Who was Marcus Garvey? What was Garvey best known for? What was the Back to Africa movement? Did people support the movement? How did Garvey compare to Washington and Dubois? Did Marcus Garvey have a negative or positive impact on society? What did Garvey bring to the 1920s? Marcus Garvey a Renaissance man? Visionary or agitator at the beginning, but realized no matter what he is definitely an agitator Was Garvey seen as a villain or a superhero? Marcus Garvey: Enemy of the State, Statesmen, or Savior?
Marcus Garvey: The Evolution of a History Lab Question Marcus Garvey: Racial Visionary or Enemy of the state?
“Little Boxes” by Malvina Reynolds Little boxes on the hillside Little boxes made of ticky-tacky Little boxes on the hillside Little boxes all the same There's a green one and a pink one And a blue one and a yellow one And they're all made out of ticky-tacky And they all look just the same And the people in the houses All went to the university Where they were put in boxes And they came out all the same And there's doctors and there's lawyers And business executives And they're all made out of ticky-tacky And they all look just the same And they all play on the golf course And drink their martinis dry And they all have pretty children And the children go to school And the children go to summer camp And then to the university Where they're all put in boxes And they come out all the same And the boys go into business And marry and raise a family In boxes made of ticky-tacky And they all look just the same There's a green one and a pink one And a blue one and a yellow one And they're all made out of ticky- tacky And they all look just the same
“Suburbia is becoming the most important single market in the country. It is the suburbanite who starts the mass fashions—for children…dungarees, vodka martinis, outdoor barbecues, functional furniture, [and] picture windows … All suburbs are not alike, but they are more alike than they are different.“ William H. Whyte, Organization Man.
“What the people were looking for were good schools, private space, and personal safety and they found them in the suburbs. It was the single tact home that offered growing families a private haven in a heartless world.” Kenneth Jackson, Crabgrass Frontiers
"Levittown represented the worst vision of the American future: bland people in bland houses leading bland lives. The houses were physically similar, theorized Mumford, so the people inside must be equally similar; an entire community was being made from a cookie cutter…a multitude of uniform, unidentifiable houses, lined up inflexibly, at uniform distances on uniform roads, in a treeless command waste, inhabited by people of the same class, the same incomes, the same age group, witnessing the same television performances, eating the same tasteless prefabricated foods, from the same freezers, conforming in every outward and inward respect to the same common mold.” Lewis Mumford, The City in History: Its Origins, Its Transformation, and Its Prospects, 486.
“These are very gregarious communities, in which people wander in and out of one another’s houses without any invitation, and organize themselves into everything from car pools to PTAs and hobby clubs of numerous sorts; and in which the churches are more important institutions than anyone who was brought up in the twenties and thirties would have imagined them to be. Such communities are paradises for the well-adjusted; by the same token, they are less inviting to residents who prefer a modicum of seclusion and resist being expected to live up to the “Joneses”…A firm believer in diversity, who would like to see more, not less, mixing together on easy terms of people of different economic fortunes, different age groups, and different occupations and preoccupations, cannot help wondering if these larger new suburbs can escape being natural breeding grounds for conformity.” Frederick Lewis Allen, “The Big Change in Suburbia,” Harpers Magazine, 1954.
“The community has an almost antiseptic air. Levittown streets, which have such fanciful names as Satellite, Horizon, Haymaker, are bare and flat as hospital corridors. Like a hospital, Levittown has rules all its own. Fences are not allowed (though here and there a home-owner has broken the rule). The plot of grass around each home must be cut at least once a week; if not, Bill Levitt's men mow the grass and send the bill. Wash cannot be hung out to dry on an ordinary clothesline; it must be arranged on rotary, removable drying racks and then not on weekends or holidays....” "Up From the Potato Fields, "Time 56. July 3, 1950.
“These communities have none of the long-festering social problems of older towns, such as slums, crowded streets, vacant lots that are both neighborhood dumps and playgrounds, or sagging, neo-fronted business districts that sprawl in all directions. Instead everything is new. Dangerous traffic intersections are almost unknown. Grassy play areas abound. Shops are centrally located and under one roof…Everybody lives in a “good neighborhood”; there is, to use that classic American euphemism, no “wrong side of the tracks”…Even Levittown, with 70,000 people not far from New York’s turbulent underworld, has virtually no crime…Police attribute this lack of crime to the fact that nearly all the men were honorably discharged from the services and subjected to credit screening. This, they say, eliminated the criminal element and riff-raff. Some police officials included the absence of slums and disreputable hang-outs as causes. Personally, I feel many more factors were involved, including the absence of real poverty; the strong ties of family, religious and organizational activities; steady employment; and the absence of restrictive, frustrating social structure.” Harry Henderson, “The Mass Produced Suburbs,” Harper’s Magazine, November 1953.
“The Negroes in America…are trying to do in 400 years what the Jews in the world have not wholly accomplished in 600 years. As I Jew I have no room in my mind or heart for racial prejudice. But…I have come to know that if we sell one house to a Negro family, then 90 or 95 percent of our white customers will not buy into the community. That is their attitude, not ours…As a company our position is simply this: we can solve a housing problem, or we can solve a racial problem, but we cannot combine the two.” William Levitt, builder of Levittown
“…The children growing up in New Suburbia run the danger of becoming ‘homogenized.’ In many of the new suburbs the white child never sees a Negro. In others the Jewish child never plays with any but Jewish children. Some of these suburbs are virtually all Catholic. In other areas there are no Catholics. Even without racial and religious segregation---and in these new developments groups tend to segregate themselves to an alarming degree---the pressure to conform is intense, and stultifying…” Sidonie Gruenberg, “The Homogenized Children of New Suburbia.” New York Times Magazine, 1954.
“Those who lambasted suburbia…tended to ignore several basic facts: the boom in building energized important sectors of the economy, providing a good deal of employment; it lessened the housing shortage that had diminished the lives of millions during the Depression and war; and it enabled people to enjoy conveniences, such as modern bathrooms and kitchens, that they had not before.” James Patterson, Grand Expectations, pg. 340.
“W ithin Levittown, many residents say, the atmosphere is more tolerant and neighborly than any other place they ever lived. However, Levittowners collectively have not yet come to grips with one problem that could give rise to a really tense situation. This is the problem of Negro exclusion. The Levitts do not sell their houses to Negroes. This, as William Levitt explains it, is not a matter of prejudice, but one of business. “The Negroes in America,” he says, “are trying to do in four hundred years what the Jews in the world have not wholly accomplished in six thousand. As a Jew, I have no room in my mind or heart for racial prejudice. But, by various means, I have come to know that if we sell one house to a Negro family, then ninety to ninety-five percent of our white customers will not buy into the community. That is their attitude, not ours. We did not create it, and cannot cure it. As a company, our position is simply this: we can solve a housing problem, or we can try to solve a racial problem. But we cannot combine the two.” Craig Thompson: “Growing Pains of a Brand-New City” (August 7, 1954) Saturday Evening Post, Volume 227
Broad Classes of Reasons Given for Moving to the Suburbs, and Percentage of Respondents Mentioning Each Type Wendell Bell, "Social Choice, Life Styles, and Suburban Residence," in The Suburban Community, ed. William Dobriner (New York: Putnam, 1958), 234–35. Specific Reasons for Moving to the SuburbsPer Cent Physical reasons (N=172):72.3 More space outside house19.7 More space inside house14.3 "The outdoors" (fresh air, sunshine, etc.)12.6 Less traffic11.8 Cleaner6.3 No neighbors in same building3.8 Quiet2.1 No stairs1.7 Social reasons (N=66):27.7 Better schools10.2 "Nice" children to play with9.2 Other children to play with2.5 More organized activities2.5 Home of own (security)1.7 Adults "nice" to children0.8 Better churches0.8 Total reasons in this category (N=238)100.0
Wendell Bell, "Social Choice, Life Styles, and Suburban Residence," in The Suburban Community, ed. William Dobriner (New York: Putnam, 1958), 234–35. Specific Reasons for Moving to the SuburbsPer Cent Physical reasons (N=172):72.3 More space outside house19.7 More space inside house14.3 "The outdoors" (fresh air, sunshine, etc.)12.6 Less traffic11.8 Cleaner6.3 No neighbors in same building3.8 Quiet2.1 No stairs1.7 Social reasons (N=66):27.7 Better schools10.2 "Nice" children to play with9.2 Other children to play with2.5 More organized activities2.5 Home of own (security)1.7 Adults "nice" to children0.8 Better churches0.8 Total reasons in this category (N=238)100.0
Create three real estate signs that might appear outside a home in the exploding suburbs of post-war America. For each sign, be sure to consider: Factors that promoted post-war suburbanization The benefits/problems of living in a new suburb like the Levittown’s Characteristics of Levittown and other suburbs Racially discriminatory practices such as blockbusting, racial covenants, and red-lining Was this the American Dream or the homogenization of American Culture?