The physical places we inhabit don't always take the forefront in discussions about American History, but learning takes on new depth when we examine where our history and culture take shape. From historical sites such as Wounded Knee or Pearl Harbor, to natural wonders like the Great Plains, setting is an indelible part of our shared culture.
Setting also offers a new dimension of understanding for young students of history. In fact, some of the most impactful moments in U.S. history have taken place in high schools. In 1957, Little Rock Central High School became the site of a pivotal moment in the Civil Rights Movement when it welcomed nine African American students to its all-white campus (under the protection of the National Guard). This made it the first school to desegregate public education. Today, Little Rock is visited by many who come to pay tribute to the struggle that played out on its campus over 60 years ago. Through buildings, monuments, and landmarks, history takes a more tangible form.
Use the Resource links at the left to help students find context for some of the nation's most important historical events, and learn about the places that became touchstones of our culture.
Knight, Gladys. Pop Culture Places: An Encyclopedia of Places in American Popular Culture [3 volumes]. Greenwood, 2014. http://publisher.abc-clio.com/9780313398834
Cotton Club: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images