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  Welcome To The Education Resource!

Special Themes and Historical Events 
for the Month of February

There are currently many topics that could lead to provocative classroom discussions based on historical or present-day events. Anniversaries of historical events or occasions often bring renewed interest and publicity. This can provide opportunities to align current classroom activities and discussions with unique historical concepts and themes. Educators can familiarize themselves with local connections to national events by reviewing HistoryLink.org essays or the Education Resource. Here are a few suggestions for this month:

  • February is Black History Month. For educational resources that celebrate the rich cultural heritage of African Americans in the Pacific Northwest check out the Black History Month Education Update which is located in the  Archives window in the right navigational bar under The Education Resource. This update reviews curriculum, field trips, websites, primary sources, and other online resources to supplement activities or lessons that are already planned to study Black History in the classroom.
  • The recent death of singer Whitney Houston may prompt conversations about other musical superstars who died at a young age and under troubling circumstances. The deaths of the Pacific Northwest’s  Jimi Hendrix and  Kurt Cobain also created international media circuses as fans tried to learn more about what happened to these music legends -- and why. Students may be asked to compare and contrast how people learn about such tragedies and how they can share their opinions and feelings. What are the differences between 2012 and 1970 when Hendrix died? How have they been remembered? Did they have a significant impact on the history of music in Washington? The world?
  • Shortly after takeoff on February 18, 1943, a prototype Boeing B-29 crashed into Seattle’s Frye Packing Plant, killing 11 crewmen and 19 factory workers. A few photos of the fire can be found and several archived newspaper articles, but one of the most captivating descriptions of the day is found in the recollections of 80-year-old Carl Carulli. Carulli was on his first day as a Seattle firefighter when the plane crashed -- and he tells how he rode the engine and fought that fire in his street clothes. He was interviewed by high school students as part of a class project in 2006.  This interview (page 70) of Oral Histories in the Classroom demonstrates the honesty and power of first-hand stories. The curriculum provides a template for conducting an oral history project in your classroom.
  • On February 19, 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 authorizing the forced removal and incarceration of all Nikkei (Japanese American citizens and legal resident aliens of Japan) who were living on the West Coast of the United States. This year marks the 70th anniversary of that infamous event. Review the archived Education Updates Day of Remembrance and Japanese Incarceration Resources for detailed background information, links to relevant  essays, and education resources.
  • February 19 also marks the anniversary of the day that Nisqually Chief Leschi was hanged after being falsely accused of murder.  The archived Education Update featuring Chief Leschi identifies and summarizes several thought-provoking educational resources that have been developed to assist students in exploring events leading to his death and coming to their own conclusions about his trial and execution. A compelling curriculum, Leschi: Justice in our Time was completed by Washington State History Museum last year and is available online.   
  • Fat Tuesday -- or Mardi Gras -- refers to the tradition of eating rich fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season which begins on Ash Wednesday. This year Fat Tuesday will be celebrated on February 21.  Most people associate Mardi Gras with New Orleans but many cities hold their own Fat Tuesday celebrations. Seattle’s Fat Tuesday celebrations were initiated in 1977 by merchants in the Pioneer Square business district and were held annually for 24 years. What started out as a fun loving carnival-style celebration grew to be unruly and violent and in 2001, after the death of a 20-year-old man, Mayor Paul Schell called for an end to the annual event .
  • There is recent news that negotiations are underway to attempt to bring the NBA back to Seattle. After 41 years, in early 2008, the Seattle SuperSonics were sold to Oklahoma businessman Clay Bennett and the franchise moved to Oklahoma City.  Prior to the move on February 29, the women’s team, the Seattle Storm was sold to four women for $10 million so the popular team could remain in Seattle. This is only the second time in history that a NBA team was owned exclusively by women. Students will no doubt have a lively discussion or debate about the pros and cons of the return of men’s professional basketball to the region. They can find important facts to support their arguments or positions in HistoryLink.org essays.

Image: Ole Moen reading the newspaper, Seattle, April 1910

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