I have put off getting my students started on their projects this year. I did this for two reasons. One, I did not want to burn them out. Two, I did not want to burn myself out, either. Together, starting October 3, it begins. This year’s theme, “Taking a Stand in History,” is my favorite of all the rotating themes put on by National History Day. Whether it is Civil Rights, Communist Witch Hunts, or an airing of grievances, I enjoy reading about those topics and helping my students find and analyze the information.
Here are some topics found on this site that could possibly interest you, especially when it relates to Illinois history.
Diane Nash – She helped organize the Civil Rights Movement
The Corn Belt Liberty League – Farmers rebel against the New Deal
Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Freedom Movement – Trying to stop segregated housing in Chicago
Comic Books in World War II – They were ahead of their time when speaking out against Hiter
Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers – A war’s truth is exposed
The Blackhawk War – Sometimes taking a stand doesn’t always work out.
Curt Flood and Free Agency – Although he lost his case, future generations did not.
The Mormons in Illinois – This is another that did not pay off here, but it did in Utah.
The Underground Railroad in DeKalb County – Interesting tales of religion and politics.
The Haymarket Affair – One of my students wrote this one.
Jennie Hodgers – A local cult hero who gained the respect of her fellow soldiers
Herb Block – The master cartoonist was one of the first to speak out against McCarthyism
I am sure you can find more topics that you can make apply to the theme this year. But for me, I like these.
Going forward it should be interesting to see which topics my students pick this year. I have limited the topics to less than 20 in hopes that they pick a topic they can be successful in showing how an event changed history.