History is necessary for making sense of the present. We need it for identity, as a way of understanding our personal past,  to understand how we are connected to each other, and what our ancestors experienced. Nations use history as the basis for law and government.  History is a record of the written word,  telling us what was recorded on a given day but not why, or how. Oral history fills in the gaps by focusing attention on people’s memories and lived experiences. History is part of the larger package of social studies needed for active civic engagement.

Desegregating Topeka Public Schools – 45 years after Brown v. Board

In this 13-minute short video, taken from a longer oral history interview, Ben Scott - minister, NAACP official, former legislator, school board member--talks first about his experiences growing up in Liberty, Texas attending segregated schools. (Scott moved to Topeka to go to Washburn University.) Later in the interview, after he became a member of the Topeka Public Schools Board of Education, he describes the Board's attempts to comply with a federal court order to desegregate schools. This clip could be used in conjunction with the lesson plan on Understanding Segregation. The full content of Scott's Show Moreinterview and transcript is in Collections/Diverse Voices in Public Policy. Interviewer is Joan Wagnon. There is more information about the court case in the "Biography of The Honorable Richard Dean Rogers, Senior United States District Judge, " a history prepared 1994-1995 by Homer Socolofsky, United States District Court, District of Kansas, 1995. Printed in U.SA. by Mennonite Press. Pertinent sections appear on pp. 106-107 and also pp. 111-113. Show Less

Understanding Segregation: A Snapshot of Historical Injustice

Carolyn Wims Campbell was educated at McKinley Elementary. a segregated school in the public school system of Topeka, KS. She later became a member of Topeka USD 501's Board of Education after which she was elected to the Kansas State Board of Education. In this lesson plan, created by Susan Sittenauer, students will hear first-hand stories from distinguished Kansans on the issue of segregation and will gain a greater understanding of how others have faced the challenges of discrimination. A companion piece, excerpted from the oral history of former legislator Ben Scott, deals with the desegregation of Show Morethe Topeka Public Schools 45 years after Brown v Board. The Scott clip could be used as an additional lesson. Show Less

Why Oral History is Important

This six minute video of Dr. Jim Leiker, historian at Johnson County Community College, will give students a clear understanding of why history is important, and why oral history plays an important role in "filling in the gaps" in the historical record.

Identify a Kansas Hero: a history lesson for 7th graders

This lesson plan, created by Michael Kates who is a 7th grade teacher in Topeka, asks the essential question, “How do theories, beliefs and inventions transform society? Students will select an oral history interview from the KOHP collection, watch the video in order to draw conclusions about the historical significance of the person and the resulting consequences of that person’s actions. Activities include taking notes on an Identity Chart about the important aspects of their identity and using Canva to create a comic book based on the Kansas hero’s early life, achievements, and ideas. Complete details of Show Morethe four-lesson plan can be downloaded below. Show Less
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