Constructing Public History in the Classroom: Baltimore '68 as a Case Study
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Type of Work9 pages
Citation of Original PublicationNix, E. M. (2009). Constructing public history in the classroom: The 1968 riots as a case study. The Public Historian, 31(4), 28-36.
riots of 1968
undergraduate history classroom
teaching controversial topics
When nontraditional undergraduates collected oral histories about the disturbances that followed Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination in April 1968, their deep Baltimore roots became an invaluable asset to the Baltimore ’68: Riots and Rebirth project. The racial diversity of the student body at the University of Baltimore allowed interviewers to capture a wide variety of viewpoints, and that breadth of perspectives became central to the researchers’ understanding of the controversial topic. The assignment forced students to actively construct an interpretation of an event that other historians had ignored, revealing subjective complexities central to historical thinking.