In order to create a better future we must understand the past.

The following school curriculum provides an outline for educators to include many historical accounts from The Long Black Line in their American History unit. It will not only show students the sacrifices that generations before them made for their future, but it will also instill a sense of patriotic perseverance and unity.

For example the unit involving the Julius Rosenwald story portrays a business mogul of his time, Rosenwald, assisting an entire class of rural African-American’s up in socio-economic status. He merely felt it was his rightful duty as an American to help other Americans. He gave them the materials and instilled a drive in them to create a better future for their community.

There are many inspiring true historical accounts in the curriculum like this one that will not only captivate students and teachers alike, but also instill in them a  sense of pride and unity in their past.

The school curriulum is currently in production...if you have any questions or information to share please contact us:


For Educators

Much of America's history remains unrecorded, residing in the stories and memories of its people. Properly undertaken, a student-developed oral history project can be an important contribution to our knowledge of history. Through the practice of recording oral history, students learn to do research, to ask penetrating questions, and to listen, transcribe, edit, and design finished products. Through community-based oral history projects, students gain respect and recognition from their communities. By fostering local, intergenerational collaborations, oral history projects are a wonderful way to build bridges between the classroom and the community and to take advantage of community resources in educating your students. An oral history project is a way for students not only to learn history but also to do history.

That said, oral history projects demand time, planning, and administrative commitment. Students (and some teachers) may find it difficult adjusting to the unstructured nature of an oral history project. Given the time and level of commitment needed (many such classroom projects are the product of a semester-long period of preparation and development), teachers may want to consider developing an oral history project as part of an elective history course.

Using Oral Histories: The Long Black Line

Each of the films in The Long Black Line Trilogy contain interviews with family members or witnesses to events in the history of East Texas and beyond, although the The Bridge in particular relies extensively on oral history interviews. The video is an effective way to introduce students to oral histories as a learning resource, as well as providing examples of well-done oral histories.

Many students just beginning to conduct oral history interviews often see themselves in the role of a debater trying to make a point or a reporter attempting to catch their subject in a contradiction. An oral history interviewer should guide the interviewee into sharing his or her experiences and opinions. Few people, for example, would agree with the attitudes expressed by a Klansman who tells of his involvement as a child in a lynching. However, by allowing him to tell his story the viewer is provided a chilling glimpse into the violence that African Americans faced in that particular time in history.

Through the interviews with Trogie Shankle, Lonnie Runnels, and various other East Texas residents, we experience a vicarious, living connection to African Americans, born in the nineteenth century, whose leadership charted the course for African Americans in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century. For students beginning to embark on an oral history project, the documentary series is a powerful reminder that what is history to some is memory to others.

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