Notes to the Teacher
You are a team of newspaper reporters, living in the end of the World War 2 era while President Harry S. Truman was President. You have just arrived in New York City on a train from California and saw that German Prisoners of War were allowed to ride in your train car but Officers of the 332nd Fighter Group were told to leave the car and ride somewhere else.
Your team is assigned the task of researching, writing, and editing a single edition of your newspaper that focuses on the Tuskegee Airmen. Include in this edition: (1) a news article about the airmen; (2) a human interest story; (3) an editorial; (4) and a letter to the editor from someone about segrgation in the armed forces ( from the viewpoint of: military personel, relative, activist, politician or some other person).
- Establish the needed roles for each member of your group in order to get an edition of the paper published. For example: editor, news reporter, social or feature writer, a political cartoonist, a photographer, a obituary writer, or subscriber.
- Once you have decided on your assignments, research the Internet and other resources for information that will answer the who, what, where, when and why of the Tuskegee Airmen.
- Write the articles.
- Edit the articles.
- Publish the newspaper. The newspaper can be in paper, video, or multimedia format.
Tuskegee Airmen War Bond Poster (Courtesy of Mr. Bill Falls, Director, Market Research & Planning, Savings Bond Marketing Office, Department of the Treasury)
Books on theTuskegee Airmen
Here are some excellent books on the Tuskegee Airmen:
Davis, Benjamin O., Jr. Benjamin O. Davis, Jr.: An Autobiography. Smithsonian Institute Press©1991
Francis, Charles. The Tuskegee Airmen:The Story of the Negro in the U.S. Air Force Bruce Humphries, Inc. Boston©1955
Holway, John B. Red Tail, Black Wings: The Men of America's Black Air Force. Yucca Tree Press©1997
McKissack, Patricia and Frederick. Red Tail Angels: The Story of the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II. Walker and Company. New York©1995.
Pilgrim, Millie. Jason's Adventure with the Tuskegee Airmen. Pilgrim's Gallery. (This is a children's book about the Tuskegee Airmen.)
Rose, Robert A. Lonely Eagles: The Story of America's Black Air Force in World War II. Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. ©1976.
Sandler, Stanley. Segregated Skies: All-Black Combat Squadrons of WWII, Smithsonian Institution Press ©1992.
Warren, James C. The Freeman Mutiny. Donna Ewald, ©1995
Whetstone, Muriel. Tuskegee Airmen: Still Flying High. Ebony, November 1994.
Remember your journalistic position and the responsibility to report the news objectively. Human interest stories and editorials are the areas for you to interject your personal views. Keep in mind your audience at all times.
When writing your articles, be sure to reflect the conditions of the time. Here are samples of the kinds of questions you may want to ask as you are researching:
- What was life for a soldier like then? (ie. dress, food, medicine, home life)
- What were typical armaments? (personal and regimental)
- How did the events of the Airmen affect the war?
- What was the society like, and did society play any role or have any influence in the actions of the Airmen?
- What did the soldiers think of the war at this time? (use diaries, letters home, or journals)
- What was the media of the time saying about the Airmen vs. what actually was happening?
- What part if any did political cartoons play in the war? Analyze the cartoon, decide what the artist is trying to convey .
- Who were the military leaders in this War?
- What were the particulars of the Army Air Force and the Armed Forces in general? (ie. size of units, casualties, major turning points in the war, participants in the times)?
- What political events which took place near the time of the Airmen?
Even though the World War 2 took place in the 1940's, take advantage of the technology today. You can download maps or graphics and put them into your newspaper. Or, once you have gathered your resources and written your script, you might decide to use a multimedia program to create the presentation.
Most importantly, use your the talents of your team. Divide the tasks but share the ideas. Discuss your ideas with as many people on your team as possible. You might schedule regular team meetings throughout your project.
Your project will be evaluated on the following critiera:
- Are all four articles in the project?
- Are the articles clear and consise and well written?
- Are your articles supported by accurate research?
- Is your newspaper informative, persuasive, and appealing?
After researching and creating your own newspaper for the World War 2 era, discuss in class what influence you think the printed media had on the general population, the everyday soldier and the overall outcome of the war itself.
What effect did doing the research for this project have on you and your prior knowledge of the war? What do you think the public reaction to your articles would be?
- Debate the issue of the importance propaganda plays in the outcome of wars in general.
- Build a diorama to depict a scene from the Tuskegee Airmen.
- Write an article about something in todays events that can be related to the Tuskegee Airmen.
- Write an article about another group of Americans that can be related to the Tuskegee Airmen.
Notes to the Teacher
Lesson Title: Tuskegee Airmen
Curricular Area: Social Science/ Language Arts
- Develop a keen sense of historical empathy
- Undenstand the meaning of time and chronology
- Analyze cause and effect
- Recognize history as common memory, with polictical implications
- Basic knowledge of the Civil Rights
Grade Level: 7th up
Length of Lesson: Three to Six weeks one period per day
- Presentation Software (Hyperstudio, PowerPoint or Astound), (optional)
- Video Camera and VCR, (optional)
Interdisciplinary Connections: Language Arts, Computer Science, Ethics
- Knowledge of some of the major leaders during the World war 2 era
- Knowledge of some major battles.
- Knowlege of the use of a web browser.
- How to use search engines.
- After the students have gained a general knowledge of the era, divide the class into groups.
- Introduce the project, carefully going over each of the roles and the type of writing that will be necessary.
- Let the students decide which article they will do and get them started on researching the needed information.
- Try to have at least one student in each group with home Internet access. This will allow the group to do research outside of school hours.