Civically-Engaged Content-Area Literacy

Supporting Place-Based Student Inquiry in Tulsa, Oklahoma

A Century of Questions | Building a More Perfect Union

Summary:

This project shed light on the tragic and often overlooked history of the Tulsa Race Massacre by engaging hundreds of students in studying this period and then creating artifacts and displays to showcase what they uncovered.

Group of youth at historic site gathered around antique chair in middle of room.

A Century of Questions: Student-Driven Inquiry into the Tulsa Race Massacre is a project of the Oklahoma State University Writing Project that aimed to shed light on this overlooked, tragic episode in US history—the 1921 massacre in the Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Through this project, hundreds of students and their teachers have visited Greenwood’s cultural centers, monuments, and museums, and then created artifacts and displays to showcase to their peers the history that they uncovered.

Resources below are designed to support teachers and students engagement in place-based inquiry, composition, and sharing. Resources can be used to study the Tulsa Race Massacre specifically or used to support place-based inquiry in any local community.

Listen to this interview with educators involved in this project to learn how they supported teachers and students to do this work together.

Project Resources

Writing the Past, Changing the Future: The project website featuring a student project repository of student work and artifacts.

Classroom Library Suggestions: In the video interview above, Shanedra shares the following suggestions for classroom libraries about the Tulsa Massacre with age-appropriate notes.

A Century of Questions Project Design Resources: In the video above, Shanedra shares the following slides (PDF) and describes different design aspects of this project; highlights include:

    1. Framework for building teacher knowledge:

 

    1. Building a classroom library:

 

    1. Using local place as “text” with students and teachers; map for visiting the Greenwood neighborhood:

 

  1. Supporting students to share their inquiries by creating with a range of tools and technologies:

Teaching People’s History: The Zinn Education Project promotes and supports the teaching of people’s history in classrooms across the country. In the video above, Asia shared this resource by Linda Christensen of the Oregon Writing Project that she used in her classroom—Burned Out of Homes and History: Unearthing the Silenced Voices of the Tulsa Massacre.

Knowing Your History: Place, Photography, and Poetry: A multimodal photography/writing activity developed by Shelley Martin of the Oklahoma State University Writing Project. Developed originally for Write Out 2021.

Notes:

This post is part of a series of posts tagged #BuildingaMorePerfectUnion which feature resources developed through the National Writing Project’s Building a More Perfect Union program which supported organizations to develop programming in anticipation of the upcoming 250th anniversary of the founding of the United States while assisting in recovering from interruptions to operations due to the coronavirus pandemic. Building a More Perfect Union was part of the American Rescue Plan at the National Endowment for the Humanities. Learn more about the Building a More Perfect Union program.