Teaching Guides

To create our Teaching Guides, the ALPLM Education Department works with our expert historians to provide background information using up-to-date and relevant scholarship within the field. Each guide includes key instructional context and suggested activities to further student understanding.

Jesse Ownes

Race and Sports: Exposing the Hypocrisy of the 1936 Berlin Olympics

The 1936 Olympic Games were fraught with controversy. Berlin was chosen as the site for the Olympics before the Nazi party had risen to power, and the Nazi’s persecution of Jews sparked a widespread movement in the U.S. to boycott the Olympics. This movement pressured high-profile American athletes to join the boycott. To many Black athletes, the plea to boycott for humanitarian reasons seemed hypocritical due to the racial oppression they experienced in the U.S. through Jim Crow laws, a segregated military, and all-white professional sports leagues.

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George Vashon

“A Direct Appeal”: Letters to Lincoln from African Americans

President Lincoln received thousands of letters from Americans during his presidency. Many of these letters were written by Black men and women who wanted a say in how they were governed. "A Direct Appeal": Letters to Lincoln from African Americans, provides historical context and letters from six African Americans (including George B. Vashon, pictured left) seeking to discuss important topics, such as colonization and equal pay, or to express well-wishes to the President.

Gettysburg Address

Teaching the Gettysburg Address

Although the Gettysburg Address took President Lincoln only two minutes to deliver, the speech lives in collective American memory. Because of the speech’s popularity, and its place in American memory, it is easy to fall into teaching myth or to single out parts of the speech without providing students adequate context to understand the significance of the speech at the time — and its legacy over time. The Teaching the Gettysburg Address guide, which includes a curated collection of records from our holdings, provides the necessary context to enrich your students’ understanding of the Gettysburg Address.

Draft of Emancipation Proclaimation

Examining Lincoln’s Views on African Americans and Slavery

Since his assassination, Abraham Lincoln has often been referred to as the “Great Emancipator.” While he played a critical role in ending American chattel slavery through the Emancipation Proclamation and 13th Amendment, he held complex political and personal views on the institution and African Americans that changed over time. The Examining Lincoln’s Views on African Americans and Slavery teaching guide provides context and records to help you lead your students in an examination of Lincoln's views on African Americans and slavery.

African-American at a desk working in early 1900's

African-American History in Illinois

In this section, we recognize the significant contributions of African Americans to the history of Illinois. We further share the (often untold) story of the 1908 Springfield Race Riot when racial division and inequality, coupled with fear and resentment, led to uncontrolled violence.

Lincoln's Farewell address

Goodbye to Springfield: Lincoln’s Farewell Address

Goodbye to Springfield highlights one of Abraham Lincoln's most moving speeches. This collection includes lesson plans and student activities based on life in Springfield, the president-elect's farewell address, and the Lincoln family’s move to our nation's capital in 1861.

Civil War Weapons

To Kill and to Heal: Weapons and Medicine of the Civil War

Using weapons and medicine as foci for understanding, To Kill and To Heal explores the technological differences between the North and South and the effect these differences would have on the outcome of the Civil War. In addition to providing significant background information, this guide includes lesson plans that can be modified to accommodate a variety of grade levels.

Sesquicentennial Salute poster

Want to Know More About President Lincoln or Illinois?

If you notice a sticking point in your Lincoln- or Illinois-related instruction, or just have a topic under those umbrellas that you would like to know more about, please email the Education Department and let us know! We keep a running list of projects and would love to add your idea.

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