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Presentation on theme: "THE SAM WINEBURG TOP TEN LIST OF FAMOUS AMERICANS How does your list compare?"— Presentation transcript:


2 Albert Einstein was a naturalized citizen. Born in Germany in 1879, he emigrated to the United States when Adolf Hitler took power in Germany. His story – and his influence on the Manhattan Project during World War II, encapsulate a promising theme of American History – that of strength through diversity. 10. Albert Einstein

3 Thomas Edison, who flunked out of elementary school, went on to become Americas greatest inventor. He had thousands of patents, including those for the light bulb, the motion picture machine, the phonograph, and the battery cell. 9. Thomas Edison

4 Well, there are many ways to influence American history, and Marilyn Monroe applied some untraditional ones. She was an actress, a model, a singer, and a celebrity who died before her time. 8. Marilyn Monroe

5 In addition to the long running talk show which she managed for over a decade, Oprah Winfrey has become a television executive so powerful that what she whimsically mentions in passing can change the nations culture. 7. Oprah Winfrey

6 The first woman to fly solo across the United States, she died mysteriously in an effort to cross the Pacific Ocean. Mounting evidence seems to suggest that Earhart and Fred Noonan, who accompanied her on the flight, survived the crash of their plane only to die marooned on an isolated island in the Pacific. 6. Amelia Earhart

7 Your grandparents would wonder how this Original American has slipped so far down the list. He did help to write the Declaration of Independence, act as an ambassador to France during the Revolutionary War, and serve as the elder statesman during the Constitutional Convention of 1787, after all. 5. Ben Franklin

8 Although she is considered by some to be the leader of the womans suffrage movement, she was only one of many suffragists. Indeed, Susan B. Anthony was dead before the 19 th Amendment was passed and women gained the right to vote. 4. Susan B. Anthony

9 Harriet Tubman is probably most famous for her work on the Underground Railroad, where she risked her life helping to bring enslaved people north of the Mason-Dixon line to freedom. She also is reported to have worked as a spy for the Union during the Civil War. 3. Harriet Tubman

10 After working as a seamstress and as a secretary for the NAACP, Rosa Parks rose to prominence when she refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery city bus to a white man. The Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955 – 1956 is still considered one of the formative events of the Civil Rights Movement. 2. Rosa Parks

11 At the age of 25, Martin Luther King, Jr. lead the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The organization he organized during that confrontation – the Southern Christian Leadership Conference – would go on to orchestrate many of the most transformational events of the Civil Rights Movement. 1. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

12 What surprises you about this list? Are there people missing who should be there? Discuss! reflection

13 Evaluating the Wineburg list and reconsidering our own… Alternate Perspectives…

14 Accounting for Alternate Perspectives You probably will not be surprised to learn that if we posed the exact same question to your parents – or your grandparents, for that matter – we would almost certainly get a different result. Whats surprising, though, is how similar the results actually are… Among men and women 45 or older, these are the results. 10. Henry Ford 9. Betsy Ross 8. Thomas Edison 7. Amelia Earhart 6. Oprah Winfrey 5. Ben Franklin 4. Susan B. Anthony 3. Harriet Tubman 2. Rosa Parks 1. Martin Luther King, Jr.

15 There is virtually no evidence that Betsy Ross – as your parents understand her – ever existed at all. (While there was a woman named Betsy Ross, there is no evidence that she stitched together the first American Flag.) Betsy Ross? Really?

16 Most famous for founding the Ford Motor Company and mass-producing the Model-T Ford using the assembly line, Ford is less well-remembered for being an outspoken anti-Semite and a supporter of Nazi Germany. Henry Ford

17 More significant differences… Differences due to the generation gap are relatively insignificant, then. There is a larger difference between the lists of African-Americans and whites, though. Nine of the most important historical figures to African-American students were African-American. Nevertheless, black and white students shared five (5) people in their top ten. Five Shared Figures: 1. Martin Luther King, Jr. 2. Rosa Parks 3. Harriet Tubman 4. Oprah Winfrey 5. Susan B. Anthony

18 What accounts for the difference? Black History Month – established by Carter Woodson in the 1920s? The central role of African-Americans in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s? Are there other marginalized groups historically which are overlooked?

19 Crazy Horse has an enormous monument in his honor in South Dakota, and a handful of chiefs like Sitting Bull, Geronimo, or Chief Joseph will grace our textbook; however, the vast majority of Native American cultures have been written out of our nations history. Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, Powhatan, Pocahontas, Sacagawea, and even Jim Thorpe might be worthy characters to consider, but very few make the lists. Native Americans

20 The contribution of Latinos to United States history are enormous as well. Cattle ranching and the life of cowboys on the open range? A Spanish tradition. Indeed, a large part of our national identity is whitewashed by people who willfully ignore the large influence of Hispanic culture in the South, Southwest, and Far Western US. Hispanic-Americans

21 Labor history has been dropped from the American narrative to a large extent as well, making names like Terence V. Powderly, Samuel Gompers, Eugene V. Debs, Joe Hill, A. Philip Randolph, and John Lewis less recognizable today than previously. Labor Union Leaders

22 Gay rights has become a major part of civil rights as we understand society today; however, it was a long and difficult struggle to bring about social change on this issue, and individual leaders are not well known. Increasingly, there is a place in history text books to include homosexuals in the narrative of our country. Homosexuals

23 In the South, - and Virginia is the South – race relations is often thought of in black and white terms. In other regions of the nation, however, diversity means something altogether more complex. Consider the role of Asian-Americans and immigrants in parts of the far West. Some of the most bigoted and racist laws in our history applied to Asian people – including the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. Chinese, Japanese, Filipinos, Indians…

24 After our discussion, would you change any of the individuals on your list? Why or why not? reflection and reconsideration

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