Free Resources Archive

  • 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

  • January Is National Birth Defects Prevention Month

    Birth defects affect about 1 in every 33 babies born in the United States and are a leading cause of infant mortality, illness, and disability. Though diagnosis and treatment of these conditions has improved dramatically, the focus of public health efforts is to reduce the number of birth defects that occur. National Birth Defects Prevention Month is intended to raise awareness about the prevention of birth defects and to educate the public about concrete steps a woman can take before and during pregnancy to increase her chances of having a healthy baby.
    free resource button small  January Is National Birth Defects Prevention Month
    This directory of resources, from Congenital Disorders Sourcebook, 3rd Edition, lists organizations that provide information, support, and advocacy for families affected by birth defects.

    Comprehensive information about the causes, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of birth defects is available in Congenital Disorders Sourcebook, 3rd Edition.

    Posted: December 21, 2016

  • The Flint Sit-Down Strike

    On December 29, 1936, organizers from the United Auto Workers (UAW) union launched a sit-down strike at the General Motors (GM) plant in Flint, Michigan, one of GM’s most important plants. By taking on one of the most powerful corporations in the world, the union tried to force GM to recognize the UAW as the representative of its work force for collective bargaining. The Flint Sit-Down Strike became one of the most important strikes in labor history.

    free resource button small  The Flint Sit Down StrikeThis chapter from Defining Moments: Workers Unite! The American Labor Movement discusses the state of the labor movement right before the strike, and how the strike influenced events in labor history.

    Additional information about the events leading up to and following the Flint Sit-Down Strike, plus biographies of the key players and related primary source documents, can be found in Defining Moments: Workers Unite! The American Labor Movement.

    Posted: December 21, 2016

  • Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day — December 7th

    Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day is observed each year on December 7th. On that fateful morning in 1941—as unsuspecting American soldiers, sailors, and civilians on the U.S. Navy base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, followed their regular routines—hundreds of Japanese planes suddenly appeared in the sky overhead. Before people on the ground could grasp what was happening, the planes began dropping bombs and torpedoes on the ships in Pearl Harbor and strafing nearby airfields with machine-gun fire. The surprise attack shocked, outraged, and united the American people like few other events in U.S. history. Immediately afterward, the United States declared war on Japan and officially entered World War II.

    free resource button small  Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day — December 7thThis primary source document from Defining Moments: The Attack on Pearl Harbor contains an excerpt from the oral history of a U.S. Navy crewman stationed at Pearl Harbor.

    Additional information about the events leading up to and following the attack on Pearl Harbor, plus biographies of the key players, and related primary source documents, can be found in Defining Moments: The Attack on Pearl Harbor.

    Posted: November 29, 2016

  • Veterans’ Day

    Do you know the origins of Veterans’ Day? November 11 originally marked the end of World War I. The armistice that ended the fighting in World War I was signed in Marshal Ferdinand Foch’s railroad car in France at 11:00 am on November 11, 1918. There were huge public celebrations in Paris, London, and in New York City, where more than a million Americans hurled ticker tape out their windows and danced in the street. In 1954, what had been known as Armistice Day became Veterans’ Day, a day to honor all veterans of foreign wars.

    free resource button small  Veterans’ DaySome of the events leading up to Armistice Day are covered in this chapter from Defining Moments: World War I and the Age of Modern Warfare.

    Additional information about World War I and Armistice Day can be found in Defining Moments: World War I and the Age of Modern Warfare.

    Posted: November 8, 2016