MISSOURI STATE ARCHIVES
United States Colored Troops in Missouri:
Finding African American History at the Missouri State Archives
Optional Enrichment Exercises
Finding Primary Sources On-line
1) In a Computer Lab , ask students to pair up and assign each pair to a computer.
2) Students should do a web search for other original documents relating to slavery, civil rights, or USCT. The Missouri State Archives, the National Archives ( www.nara.gov ) or Our Documents ( www.ourdocuments.gov ) are good places to start. Consult the Sites of Interest page for additional guidance in finding original documents on-line.
3) Have each pair complete a document analysis worksheet on the source that they find.
4) Go around the room and have each pair explain their document to the class. For each document, discuss differences, in content and format, between it and the USCT records of George W. Reynolds.
Ask students to pretend that they are George W. Reynolds. How would he feel knowing that they are studying his enlistment papers? What are his thoughts on the world that modern students live in compared with the world that he lived in?
Instruct students to write a one-page reflection from the perspective of Reynolds, addressing these questions.
Historical Document Re-construction
1) As a class, brainstorm a list of questions that the USCT records of George W. Reynolds do not answer. For example, is George married?
2) Ask students how they would have changed the document in 1864 to provide all necessary information.
3) Ask students to construct an updated version of the document, still using the setting of 1864, this time including all information that future historians would be interested in and removing information that they feel is not beneficial now.
4) Display all documents on a bulletin board and ask students to vote on the one they feel would hold the most valid historical content had it been used in 1864.