Vermont Folklife Center

Classroom Applications - Daisy and the Doll

In addition to offering insight into the experience of African Americans in New England, Daisy and the Doll offers a springboard for exploring African American history in your community.

Here are some ways to get started:

  • Contact African American organizations and institutions in your community--churches, cultural and fraternal organizations, community centers. It may be that there are few print resources, but a number of human ones--people who know a great deal about the recent past or have researched more distant eras and would be willing to share their knowledge with your class.
  • Contact community institutions--the public library and local or regional historical society--to find out what kinds of resources their collections include.
  • Contact state-wide organizations--the state historical society, the state archive, manuscript/oral history collections at state universities--to explain your project and solicit guidance. Racial equity programs at your state department of education and multicultural education programs at local universities may be able to help as well.
  • Invite parents of children in your school to come to class and share stories about their families and their history. Members of the local community, whether or not they have children in the school, might be willing to visit your class as well.
  • Work within local networks. Generally one contact leads to several more and before you know it you've discovered a host of resources you never imagined were there.

Keep your focus as local as possible. It will require more work, especially if it hasn't been done before. But the rewards are great as you move toward presenting a more complete and inclusive history of your students' hometown.

For an overview of African American history in New England click here.