Free Resources Archive

  • Brown v. Board of Education decision announced—May 17, 1954

    On May 17, 1954 the U.S. Supreme Court announced its landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education, outlawing segregation in public schools. In the first half of the twentieth century, the forced segregation of people by race had effectively become the law of the land in the United States. The Supreme Court’s ruling that “separate but equal” facilities and accommodations were constitutional had resulted in blacks and whites being segregated in virtually all areas of daily life. Some of the most egregious examples of racial bigotry and discrimination occurred in the nation’s public schools. In Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court concluded that the segregation of public school children violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Finding that, “In the field of public education the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place,” the court’s decision forever changed education in the United States and was a watershed moment in the struggle for racial equality.

    free resource button small  Brown v. Board of Education decision announced—May 17, 1954Drafting a straightforward opinion that eschewed sentiment or blame, Chief Justice Earl Warren was able to gain unanimous approval for the decision from his eight colleagues. Excerpts from the Supreme Court’s majority opinion are provided in this selection from Defining Moments: Brown v. Board of Education.

    Additional information about the events leading up to and following the decision, plus more biographies of the key players and related primary source documents, can be found in Defining Moments: Brown v. Board of Education.

    Posted: May 7, 2017

  • May Is Mental Health Month

    Mental Health Month began in 1949 with a week-long observance and is now recognized each year in May. Mental health issues affect a large segment of society in the United States — adults, young adults, and children. In a given year, approximately one in five adults (43.7 million, or 18.6%) and the same proportion of young adults aged 13 to 18 (one in five, or 21.4%) experience mental illness. And younger children are not immune — for those aged 8 to 15, the estimate is 13%.

    free resource button small  May Is Mental Health MonthThis section from Mental Health Information for Teens, 4th Edition, provides some basic facts on three topics: understanding mental health, defining mental illness, and the causes and warning signs of mental illness.

    Comprehensive information about mental wellness and mental illness, along with facts about recognizing and treating mood, anxiety, personality, psychotic, behavioral, impulse control, and addiction disorders, is available in Mental Health Information for Teens, 4th Edition. Complete information about mental health disorders in adults and children is available in the recently published Health Reference Series volume, Mental Health Disorders Sourcebook, 6th Edition.

    Posted: May 7, 2017

  • April Is Alcohol Awareness Month

    Each April, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) sponsors Alcohol Awareness Month to increase public awareness, reduce stigma, and encourage communities to focus on alcohol-related issues. Alcoholism is a chronic disease that affects millions of Americans, both directly and indirectly. It can be progressive, and it can be fatal——but it can also be overcome with proper treatment. Some of the statistics related to alcoholism in the United States are staggering:

    22.6 million people (9.2% of the U.S. population ages 12 and older) have an alcohol or drug problem
    2.4 million adolescents have an alcohol or drug problem
    50% of adults have a family member with alcoholism
    Approximately 1 in 4 children under 18 live in a family with alcoholism, and many more live in a family with drug addiction
    Alcoholism is the 3rd leading lifestyle-related cause of death in the nation
    Alcoholism and drug dependence cost the nation over $276 billion a year, resulting principally from lost productivity and increased health care spending.

    free resource button small  April Is Alcohol Awareness Month

    These sections from Alcoholism Sourcebook provide some basic facts: What Does Alcoholism Look Like; Questions and Answers about Alcoholism; and Researchers Identify Alcoholism Subtypes.

    Comprehensive, updated information about the causes, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of alcoholism is available in Alcoholism Sourcebook, 4th Edition.

    Posted: April 5, 2017

  • Jackie Robinson’s Major League Baseball Debut – April 15, 1947

    Jackie Robinson (January 31, 1919-October 24, 1972) was a professional baseball player at the center of a landmark event of the civil rights movement. This event was not a court ruling or a protest march, but rather a baseball game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Boston Braves on April 15, 1947. When the Dodgers trotted out of the dugout to start the game, the rookie first baseman wearing number 42, Jackie Robinson, became the first black player in Major League Baseball, breaking the “color barrier”—the policy of strict racial segregation that professional baseball had operated under for more than fifty years. Robinson overcame resistance from his teammates and hostility from opposing players and fans to have an outstanding season, not only claiming the National League Rookie of the Year Award and leading the Dodgers to the World Series, but also earning the admiration of millions of Americans with his quiet courage. Although Robinson continued to face racial hostility in some quarters during his successful ten year career, he also became a national celebrity whose fame and influence extended far beyond the baseball diamond. Upon his retirement from baseball, Robinson’s involvement in the civil rights movement expanded, and he emerged as a powerful advocate for racial equality.

    free resource button small  Jackie Robinson’s Major League Baseball Debut – April 15, 1947A biography of Jackie Robinson is provided in this selection from Defining Moments: Jackie Robinson and the Integration of Baseball.

    Additional information about the events leading up to and following the breaking of the color barrier in baseball, plus more biographies of key players and related primary source documents, can be found in Defining Moments: Jackie Robinson and the Integration of Baseball.

    Posted: April 5, 2017

  • St. Patrick’s Day

    St. Patrick’s Day is a religious and cultural holiday honoring the patron saint of Ireland that is celebrated on March 17th. Formerly enslaved in Ireland, Bishop Patrick returned there as a missionary from his home in Britain in 432 AD and is widely credited with introducing Christianity to the country. St Patrick’s Day is a feast day in the Roman Catholic and Episcopal churches and a national holiday in Ireland and Northern Ireland. It is also an opportunity to celebrate Irish heritage and culture, which is observed by people of all nationalities around the world.

    free resource button small  St. Patrick’s Day More information about the many customs and traditions associated with St Patrick’s Day is available in this entry from Holiday Symbols and Customs, 5th Edition.

    More than 300 holidays and festivals from the United States and around the world are covered in Holiday Symbols and Customs, 5th Edition, with information on more than 1,000 symbols and customs associated with these special events.

    Posted: March 1, 2017

  • March is Women’s History Month

    Women’s History Month, celebrated annually in March, is an opportunity to recognize women’s achievements and contributions to our nation’s history and culture. The origin of the observance can be traced to 1978, when the Sonoma County California Task Force on the Status of Women organized a celebration of Women’s History Week, designed to coincide with International Women’s Day (March 8th), observed worldwide since 1914. Within a few years, many schools and communities were celebrating National Women’s History Week, supported by resolutions from school boards, city councils, governors, and the U.S. Congress. In 1987, Congress passed a law designating the first Women’s History Month. Today, Women’s History Month is the occasion for events and observances across the country to honor the significant achievements of women throughout history.

    free resource button small  March is Women’s History MonthWomen in the United States struggled for more than a century to obtain the right to vote. In 1920, the suffrage movement finally achieved victory with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution. A biography of social activist, abolitionist, and women’s suffrage pioneer, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, is provided in this selection from Defining Moments: Women’s Suffrage.

    Additional information about the events leading up to the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, along with biographies of other key figures and related primary source documents, can be found in Defining Moments: Women’s Suffrage.

    Posted: March 1, 2017

  • The Birthday of John Lewis—February 21st

    John Lewis (born February 21, 1940) is a politician and civil rights leader. One of the original Freedom Riders, he was a founder and chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), which organized student activism in the 1960s. At the age of 23, Lewis was recognized as one of the Big Six leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, and served as the youngest keynote speaker at the March on Washington in August 1963. He organized the Mississippi Freedom Summer in 1964, and the pivotal Selma to Montgomery marches that were part of SNCC’s voter registration efforts. After Congress passed the Voting Rights Act in August 1965, President Johnson invited Lewis, along with Martin Luther King, Jr. and several other prominent activists to the White House signing ceremony, a day Lewis would later write was, “the nation’s finest hour in terms of civil rights.” Since 1986, John Lewis he has represented the 5th District of Georgia in the U.S. House of Representatives.

    free resource button small  The Birthday of John Lewis—February 21st A biography of John Lewis is provided in this selection from Defining Moments: The Voting Rights Act of 1965.

    Additional information about the events leading up to the passage of the Voting Rights Act, including the role of civil rights leaders including John Lewis and others, plus more biographies of the key players and related primary source documents, can be found in Defining Moments: The Voting Rights Act of 1965.

    Posted: February 16, 2017

  • February Is American Heart Month

    Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. The good news? Heart disease can often be prevented when people make healthy choices and manage their health conditions. Families, health professionals, and communities can work together to create opportunities for people to make healthier choices. February is American Heart Month, sponsored by the American Heart Association. They recommend healthy changes to lower your risk of developing heart disease, or to control and prevent risk factors if you already have heart disease. To lower your risk:

    Watch your weight.
    Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke.
    Control your cholesterol and blood pressure.
    If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
    Get active and eat healthy.

    free resource button small  February Is American Heart MonthThis selection from Cardiovascular Disorders Sourcebook provides information on two related topics: Preventing Heart Disease at Any Age and Heart Healthy Eating.

    Comprehensive information about the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of disorders of the heart and blood vessels is available in Cardiovascular Disorders Sourcebook, 6th Edition.

    Posted: January 27, 2017

  • Senator Joseph McCarthy Triggers a National Uproar

    America in the 1950s was attacked by an invisible enemy—The Red Scare. As the Cold War with the Soviet Union reached its apex, so did fear and paranoia of communist subversive activity in American society, culture, and, most significantly, politics. Senator Joseph McCarthy, the junior senator from Wisconsin, exploited these concerns.

    free resource button small  Senator Joseph McCarthy Triggers a National UproarOn February 9, 1950, Senator Joseph McCarthy delivered a speech that became one of the most famous political addresses in American history. In that speech, McCarthy asserted that Communists had infiltrated the U.S. State Department and many other government agencies and that he knew the identities of many of these agents. Excerpts from his speech are provided in this selection from Defining Moments: McCarthyism and the Communist Threat.

    Additional information about Joseph McCarthy and McCarthyism, plus biographies of the key players and other related primary source documents, can be found in Defining Moments: McCarthyism and the Communist Threat.

    Posted: January 27, 2017

  • Defining Moments: Prohibition Begins January 16, 1920

    On January 16, 1920, the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution went into effect, outlawing the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcohol. Lacking popular support, however, Prohibition proved difficult to enforce and caused widespread criminal activity and political corruption. In 1933, the 21st Amendment repealed the 18th, bringing the Prohibition era to a close. To date, the 18th Amendment stands as the only constitutional amendment to ever be repealed.

    free resource button small  Defining Moments: Prohibition Begins January 16, 1920This chapter from Defining Moments: Prohibition describes the rise of the temperance movement, the activities of the Anti-Saloon League, and the state-by-state battles between the “wets” and the “drys” that eventually culminated in the passage of the 18th Amendment.

    Additional information about the events leading up to and following Prohibition, biographies of the key players and related primary source documents, can be found in Defining Moments: Prohibition.

    Posted: January 9, 2017