Finding Histories: Documents & Activities

Resources for Doing Local History


  1. Digging Deeper: To learn more about one high school student’s investigation into the history of African Americans in her community, read Calista Cleary’s essay “Little Egypt: Black History in Three New England Towns” linked above.
  2. Thinking Like an Historian: Listen to the video segment in the introduction to this module, “Finding Your Local Town History,” with Calista Cleary. What steps did Calista take in researching this little-known aspect of her town’s history? What resources did she uncover? Consider how you might go about conducting similar research in your town.
  3. Using Primary Documents: Using the information suggested in this unit, create a check list to identify key sources for the study of the history of African Americans in your community. What has already been discovered about the history of your community? Who are your local history experts? Are there historians specializing in state and local history at your local college or university? What resources are available at your local library or historical society? Have you sought out old cemeteries, church records, or city hall records? Where can you find census information for your community? What resources are available at the state and national level? Finally, how can you share the results of your research with other members of your community?