ELA Middle School
Phillis Wheatley was the first black poet in the United States. Born in Senegal, Wheatley was taken to Boston, Massachusetts, as a slave. Since she was too weak for manual labor, Wheatley was taught to read and write instead. She published her first poem in 1767. A two-page letter by Wheatley, previously unpublished, was recently auctioned. Listen to learn more about Phillis Wheatley, the contents of this letter, and why it is so significant to scholars, historians, and collectors.
Current Event May 25, 2016
The hit musical “Hamilton,” which tells the story of our nation’s first treasury secretary, has captured the attention of audiences around the country. Now, a Hamilton-based curriculum uses the play and its catchy music to teach history. Students have the opportunity to go to the musical, read related historical documents, and create their own projects inspired by the play. These activities help students empathize with important figures from our past and view history from diverse perspectives. Listen to hear more about how “Hamilton” is educating and inspiring students.
Current Event April 9, 2016
The War of 1812 between the United States and Britain is typically framed as a second war for independence. Less commonly known is the story of American slaves who were able to use the war as an opportunity to negotiate their freedom. Slaves in Maryland immediately recognized the British invasion as a chance to escape slavery. Initially, the British offered land in Canada or the West Indies to escaped slaves who were willing to offer intelligence or help as guides. Listen to learn more about how enslaved African Americans were able to negotiate their freedom during the War of 1812, and how this impacted the institution of slavery in the United States.
Current Event January 21, 2016
The smash hit Broadway musical "Hamilton" mixes hip-hop with American history and features a multiracial cast. The songs celebrate the founding fathers of the United States, primarily how Alexander Hamilton created the foundations of America's modern economy. Listen to this story to hear about how the musical accurately portrays Hamilton’s accomplishments.
Current Event November 12, 2015
The battles of Lexington and Concord started the Revolutionary War in 1775. Archaeologists have recently found 240 year old musket balls that were shot in the first battles of the Revolution. The Colonial and British musket balls are from the second battle at Minute Man Park in Lexington, where Captain Parker fought the British and caused them to retreat. With this discovery, people are broadening the area where they thought this battle took place. Although it’s hard to determine exact details, new technology helps archaeologists find out what happened at this site so long ago. Listen to hear more about what can be learned about the start of the American Revolution.
Current Event July 7, 2014
The creator of America’s much-loved anthem, "The Star Spangled Banner" was not only a poet, but a celebrated lawyer, known for settling controversial disputes with oratorical skill. However, Francis Scott Key never mentioned the anthem after writing it again. He was also known for his adamant representation of African Americans and their rights. Listen to this public radio story to learn more about the man who is best known for writing “The Star Spangled Banner.”