13 Days Project – Work Day One

 The Progess of the Group

Today was the start of each of us started working on creating their 4-5 minute story about the day we selected or were assigned. The class spent the first part of the class trying to determine what standards were needed for consistency and how to organize the days, either chronologically, relative importance, or thematic group. The group seemed disinterested in some of these details, wanting to dig into their own project. I had other items to attend to so I did not find out what the final decision was. I know that I will find out when I need to know.

My segment – the process

Wanting to deliver a project worthy of the work that they students will create, I spent 35 minutes this afternoon and about an hour this evening working on my segment, the woman’s suffrage movement. Unlike the students, who are fresh off their examination of the subject area, it has been thirty years since I have found myself in a United States History classroom and when I was in school, our examination ended at the Civil War and Reconstruction. I think that we may have covered the World Wars in seven days at the end of the year, but I really don’t remember it at all.

My knowledge of the woman’s suffrage movement is limited. Yes, I remember from my constitution exam all those years ago that it wasn’t until the 19th Amendment that women got the right to vote and that the first election that they were granted these privileges was the 1920 election. I know that Susan B. Anthony was involved, since she was selected to be minted on the one dollar coin. I know that there were a few Chicagoans,  Jane Adams and Ida B. Wells who may have been involved in the movement.  So I needed to delve into the subject and research the subject.

Starting with Wikipedia, to get an overview, I began to gather a set of facts. I started finding out the many different women and men who were involved in the process. I read about the Seneca Falls Convention and the other progressive movements. I found out other prominent Chicagoans, including Francis Willard, who was involved in the Women’s Christian Temperance Union was involved in the process. I choose Wikipedia as the first pass because it was easy to find and begin to spread out and web through the subject. But being a good researcher, I need to find more primary source information. This led me to the American Treasures Collection at the Library of Congress. Not only did they have a number of primary sources, they were images which I could use to create my digital story. They Library of Congress also has other digital resources available in their collections which will be of use.

Further research also led me to the National Women’s History Museum web site. They have assembled a vast number of resources, including a cyber-exhibit on Rights for Women: The Suffrage Movement and Its Leaders. They also have an extensive collection of biographies of the key players complete with links to other resources available online.

So I think that I am set in terms of having the details of the events and artifacts, portraits, pictures, cartoons that will be necessary to create the digital story.

My current dilemma –  How to make my segment sticky?

It is one thing to collect a number of facts, pictures, and background music to create a digital story. It is an entirely different process to assemble the various pieces in such a way as to make it sticky, to make it so that others will remember it. How does one create a story which will be memorable?

A variety of storytellers do it in different ways. Ken Burns and others who have followed, choose to tell the story via personal narrative. This is an extremely powerful way to tell the story, through the eyes and words of someone involved. This is a tact I am going to try to take, using the biographies and resources I found at the National Women’s History Museum and at the Library of Congress. I am hopeful that I will be able to find the words from various primary sources, notes, letters, annotations on bibles, to construct this piece. I do know that I am going to open with Hillary Clinton and Geraldine Ferraro. The ability for these women to run for the Presidency and Vice Presidency is a direct outcome of women gaining political power. I know that I want to somehow wrap Title IX, which opened educational opportunities without regard to gender into the story near the end.

But, I know that several of you have some great ideas and feedback that you may want to share. Please do so, I would appreciate it.

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