Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Every Town Has a History

For their last essays, my students are writing essays about the history of the town they live in.  One problem I have noticed with this prompt is a widespread sense that "nothing important happened in my town."  This is always, of course, a lie.  In order to show my students the rich history that happened in the most ordinary-seeming of towns, I share my own local history project, which is a work-in-progress.

Yesterday in class, I did a fast skim through my history, which I have called The Town I Live In.  I listed off major topics and themes, while a student wrote them on the board.  My purpose was to show students that LOTS of interesting and important things happened here, in Fullerton.  If they're thinking, "Nothing important happened in my town," I come back with, "Here are 27 important things!"  Here are the topics we came up with.  Click on the topic for further reading:

-The Founders
-The political system
-Native Americans
-Pioneers/early settlers
-Early business/industry
-The Missions
-California's Emancipation Proclamation
-Railroad monopolies/tycoons
-Early politicians/businessmen
-The Labor Force
-The Environment
-Hate groups (like the KKK)
-Local colleges/schools
-Richard Nixon
-The Great Depression
-Water Issues
-Labor movements/strikes
-Japanese Internment
-Major protest movements
-Civil Rights Heroes
-LGBT history
-Public art
-and on and on...

Towns are like people.  Every one has a history worth sharing.

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