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Volume I: A Restless People:  Americans on the Move 1760-1900


Coming to America: The New Immigrants
Kate Daher
John A. Brashear High School

With this curriculum unit, students will be expected to study the Gilded Age and the New Immigration period in United States history. Coined the New Immigration by scholars, thousands of people from Southern and Eastern Europe poured into Ellis Island or other ports of entry — the largest number in American history. At the same time, blacks escaping Jim Crow South moved North looking for work and a better life. The unit is a process of discovery and attempts to uncover the voices of those seeking a better life. From the ‘old country’, to the journey, to settling into a new environment, to the rise in nativist sentiment, to the passage of anti-immigration laws, students will ‘listen’ to the voices in the past and be given the opportunity to discover something in themselves.


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Northern Migration of Fugitive Slaves: Through Primary Resources
JoAnne Freed
Taylor-Allderdice High School

Through the Pittsburgh Teachers Institute, I have developed a curriculum unit on the northern migration of African-Americans during the 19th century, paying particular attention to the migration of fugitive slaves to Canada via the Underground Railroad. This unit will include the use of primary sources in which African Americans provide first hand accounts of events they participated in or observed. In addition, the lesson plans will have a taste of hometown for those who live in the state of Pennsylvania, particularly the southwest region. However, this local flair will not at all interfere with its value in any United States History classroom.

This curriculum unit will be developed for the average to advanced learner in a high-school level United States history course. The lessons are teacher friendly by lending themselves easily to modification. Teachers will be able to make minor changes to better suit the needs of their intended audience. In addition, the unit can easily be broken down into daily, non-consecutive lesson plans. Teachers will have the freedom of teaching the whole unit or limiting themselves to a two-day portion of the unit.


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Allegheny Arsenal: On the Trail of American Migration
Billie J. Gailey, Ph.D.

Allegheny Arsenal was a fort built in the Lawrenceville section of the city of Pittsburgh in 1814. It served the city and the country as a federal military installation for nearly one hundred years. During that time period, the Arsenal was used to manufacture ammunition and other military stores and demonstrate the army’s presence on the expanding frontier.

The teaching unit it designed to view Allegheny Arsenal as a landmark on the trail of westward migration and a historical backdrop for that movement. Varied lessons are provided that can be used to reinforce basic communications, history, geography and mathematics skills while suggesting the larger picture of American migration.

In a sense, Pittsburgh and Allegheny Arsenal were a microcosm of western development. A diverse American population passed through the city during the development of the country. Many of the key events of the country’s timeline (War of 1812, Civil War, etc.) are reflected in documents relating to the Arsenal. These documents give students a hands-on view of primary sources as they explore the past.


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Go West: The Impact of Railroads on Westward Migration
By Sonia Henze
Taylor Allderdice High School

United States History is often the story of European settlers on the East Coast, with mention of various ethnic groups. Teachers are faced with the task of developing strategies to incorporate diverse lessons into their American History curriculum. Relying solely on the text often excludes social and cultural history told from both perspectives. Using the political and economic framework of railroad networks, the development of the Trans-Mississippi West is explored.

This curriculum unit is an interdisciplinary approach to the westward movement of Americans after the Civil War through the turn of the century. Students will identify various resources, differentiate between primary and secondary sources and assess the validity of these sources in the study of history.

In a quest for the “western voice”, several decades were scanned to discover what prompted so many Americans to give up what they had in urban areas east of the Mississippi and start a new life along the western frontier. “We settled where the railroad ended” was a popular response to the question “why move west?” After engaging in the challenge of studying how the growth of railroads affected the development of the American West, I am left with more questions. Railroad systems spurned amazing amounts of growth following the Civil War, but at what cost to the individual?

This unit investigates the affect of transportation on westward migration as well as the impact of different ethnic groups on the development of western towns and states.


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Do Facts Speak For Themselves?
(Analyzing Primary Sources)
by Judith Karavlan

This curriculum unit was written for eighth grade students studying United States History. The purpose of this unit is to show how the forces of migration affected towns, specifically Boston, Massachusetts and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The unit is designed in two parts. The first section, the Boston Massacre, can be used during the study of the American Revolution, while the second part, the Homestead Steel Strike of 1892, can be used during the study of immigrant labor in the late 1800’s. The purpose of this unit is to help our students to analyze historical events using primary sources. In doing this, the unit creates a broad based investigative and challenging learning environment. Through this curriculum unit students will be assisted in meeting educational standards in communication and citizenship.


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African American Westward Migration
Carol Petett

The curriculum unit, African American Westward Migration, may to be used in a History of the United States on immigration and migration. This unit uses Primary sources to examine some of the push and pull factors that led to the large migration of black people, called “Exodusters” because their leaving the south was said to be like the children of Egypt escaping pharaoh and going to the “promised land”. In this case pharaoh was the old plantation system that continued to exist in the south after the Civil War and the “promised land” was the state of Kansas and the Homestead Act. The resources used in this unit include newspaper articles discussing the movement of former slaves to Kansas and advertisements encouraging former slaves to leave southern states as well as a report on the conditions of freedmen in the state of Louisiana during Reconstruction.


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Primary Sources Speak: Documenting Westward Expansion
By Dr. Don Roberts

This curriculum unit was written specifically for eighth grade American History teachers, but Language Arts teachers might team teach this with the Social Studies teachers. It will supplement the information on the westward movement currently within the United States history curriculum. Opportunities are provided for students to interact with five specially selected primary sources (journal entries written by Lewis and Clark; “The Appeal of the Cherokee Nation;” journal entries written by Narcissa Whitman; a Congressional Globe article, “The Destiny of the Race,” written by Senator Thomas Hart Benton;  and excerpts from Sarah Winnemucca’ autobiography, Life among the Piutes). Lesson plans, projects, and activities designed to introduce students to the study of primary sources are included.


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Chatham University
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Jointly sponsored by Carnegie Mellon University, Chatham University and the Pittsburgh Public Schools.
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