Using the Primary Resources Associated with the Strong Men & Women in Virginia History Program
The Library of Virginia hopes that the Strong Men & Women in Virginia History program can be a part of your classroom curriculum. Each honoree’s page features a concise biography along with an image. These tools can help your students sharpen their analytical skills as they learn about and interpret the lives and contributions of each honoree.
This is a creative writing exercise for middle and high school students. It will allow them to generate questions and to conduct interviews of their classmates based on the lives of Strong Men & Women honorees.
- Virginia Standards of Learning: VS.8(b), VS.9(c), English 8.1(a-d)
- National History Standards: Era 9 4A Grades 7–12
Prompt: Choose one of the Strong Men & Women honorees that you would like to learn more about. Imagine that you are going to interview this person for the local newspaper. What questions would you ask? Consider the person’s background and achievements and decide what the most relevant questions to you and your community are. Think about what people in your community would want to know about this person. After you have written down your questions, imagine that you are the person. How would you answer the interview questions?
For an additional activity, team up with a partner to take turns being the honoree and answering each other’s interview questions.
Create a Display Using the Educational Poster
Are you looking for a Black History Month display for your classroom or library? Have your students print the poster featuring this year’s eight honorees, and then use that to create a display. Just click to download, print, and post the pages on the bulletin board in your class, library, or office.
Drawing from the biographies and supporting materials of three of the honorees, develop an investigative process that summarizes their accomplishments and provides students with information that they can use in a summary discussion.
- Which three African Americans faced the most challenges to their achievements? Why do you think their obstacles were greater? Consider factors such as an honoree’s race or socioeconomic class.
- How do you think these African Americans perceived their accomplishments? Is it within the sphere of what was expected of African Americans during the era in which they lived? What is your evidence? Would they agree with your perception of their accomplishments?
- Do modern honorees have as many obstacles to face as historic ones? Why or why not? Use specific examples from the biographies and outside historic knowledge.
Don’t Forget Next Year! Nominate an Honoree
We want to partner with your class and encourage your students to nominate an outstanding African American man or woman from Virginia for the 2025 Strong Men & Women in Virginia History program. We are offering an award to a school and teacher that submit a successful nomination for the 2025 programs. If your nominee is chosen, the nominating teacher will be eligible to win $250 toward school supplies. The teacher will also be recognized at the Strong Men & Women in Virginia History reception.
Strong Men & Women in Virginia History is a joint project of the Library of Virginia and Dominion Energy.