Primary Sources Galore!

Hello noble Youth Historian fans and followers,

As always, thanks for your support with this project -- it means the world to us all -- and it is always rewarding to share our progress (even if I don't do so as frequently as I should!). We've had a nice couple of weeks since the last update, and we are winding down the project phase where students are continuing their research and then writing/producing a final project. Most exciting, however, have been our two trips to the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture -- a landmark library and an important place for students to become familiar with. During the first visit, we took a tour of the place, looked at the public exhibits, and most importantly, got library cards for those students who did not have them. It was fun to "get away" from our normal environments, and expose them to a valuable community institution that they have access to. The following week, we returned to the Schomburg Center and students checked out primary source materials related to their research. Previously, students had learned how to use the New York Public Library archive catalog to locate primary source collections -- these are boxes of "old" documents such as letters, newspaper clippings, old records, you name -- related to certain topics. Once students picked out a collection that might be useful (or just interesting) for their research, I sent a list of all these collections to the Schomburg archivists, who had prepared these collections when we arrived. It was just a beautiful site to see! Amongst adults and professional researchers, here come these high school students, doing the same -- they were carefully cracking open these boxes of documents, artfully examining these old papers, and just "being" a historian in the truest sense of the word. It was awesome, and when I talked to the archivist thanking him for his help, he said it was important for high school students to do this work. I couldn't agree more; showing the world that students can do "real" primary source research (and not arbitrary lessons with adapted documents) is one of the primary goals of Youth Historians. Of course, not just showing, but documenting it and creating a blueprint for it be replicated.

Moving forward, we have until the March/end of April for students to complete their projects -- I am interested to see what they can do. Obviously, some students are farther along then others, but, that's alright and to be expected. Pushing them all to do the best they can is important, and to allow the freedom to pursue something that interests them while also helping them academically is what this is all about -- even if working hard isn't always fun! Enjoy a few pictures from our eventful last few weeks -- and thank you again for all your support.

-Barry

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