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Historical Happenings in August 2022

Welcome back, Educators! We hope your summer was relaxing and that you’re well-rested and ready to start the new school year. Back-to-school season is here, and so is this month’s edition of “Historical Happenings” - just in time for an easy lesson plan! Below are tidbits of information from moments in history and lesson plan ideas to implement into your Social Studies instruction.

History at a Glance:

  • August 18, 1920 – The 19th Amendment was ratified

  • August 21, 1959 – Hawaii became the 50th state

  • August 28, 1963 – MLK delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech

August 18, 1920 – The 19th Amendment was ratified

After decades of speeches, protests, lobbying, and marches, women suffragists finally experienced victory with the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution. The 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote, stating, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”

The road to victory was a long one, though. The 19th Amendment was first introduced in Congress in 1878, but it wasn’t until May 21, 1919, that the House of Representatives passed the amendment. From there, the amendment was voted on in the Senate, where it received the necessary two-thirds vote. It passed both chambers of Congress, and a joint resolution was passed on June 4, 1919.

Before the amendment could be ratified, it needed one final vote: a three-fourths vote from the states. On August 18, 1920, Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment, thus giving the amendment the necessary votes to pass. The 19th Amendment was certified and signed into law on August 26, 1920.

You can teach your students about the ratification process of the 19th Amendment by using the National Archives’ interactive timeline. In this activity, students are challenged to analyze primary sources and place them in sequential order on the timeline.

August 21, 1959 – Hawaii became the 50th state

On this day in history, the U.S. said “Aloha!” to the 50th state to join the Union when President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a proclamation declaring Hawaii a state. Before this declaration of statehood, Hawaii had been a U.S. territory for over six decades. It was annexed on July 7, 1898, with the passing of the “Newlands Resolution” by Congress and President William McKinley.

Before its annexation and eventual statehood, Hawaii (also spelled Hawai’i) was an independent kingdom governed by monarchs. The last monarch to rule, Queen Lili’uokalani, only reigned from 1891 until the U.S. overthrew the Hawaiian Kingdom Government in 1893. In 1894, the Hawaiin Kingdom was renamed the Republic of Hawaii.

On June 16, 1897, President McKinley signed a proposed treaty of annexation and passed it along to the U.S. Senate to vote on. This treaty was met with opposition from Queen Lili’uokalani and her supporters of native Hawaiians. Over 21,000 native Hawaiians signed the “Petition Against Annexation” and gave it to Congress. Your students can view and analyze this petition to learn more about annexation.

Despite receiving the “Petition Against Annexation,” Congress passed the resolution to annex Hawaii in 1898. Hawaii was then called the Territory of Hawaii.

During the next few decades, Hawaiians again petitioned Congress, but this time it was for statehood so that they could have the same rights as U.S. citizens. Then, in March 1959, the House of Representatives and the Senate passed a statehood resolution. President Eisenhower signed it into law, and then a few months later, he signed the official proclamation of Hawaii’s statehood on August 21, 1959.

Learn more about Hawaii’s history using these free activity pages from our Big Hawai’i Activity Book. For more resources on Hawaii, be sure to check out these titles.

August 28, 1963 – MLK delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech

Standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech to a crowd of over 250,000 participants in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, a civil rights rally. His speech was also broadcasted live on news networks. It was viewed by millions of Americans on their TVs across the county, making it the first all-day event to be covered on national television.

Students can listen to the full recording of Dr. King’s speech on NPR’s website. While listening to the speech, they can follow along by reading the transcript and highlighting words and phrases that stand out to them. Afterward, ask your students to share what they highlighted and why they think these phrases and words are significant.

Explain to your students that Dr. King uses lots of imagery throughout his speech (like “...justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream”) and ask them to draw pictures of these images. They can also write a few sentences describing the image they drew and how they interpreted Dr. King’s meaning. For more historical tidbits, lesson plan ideas, and free activities, follow us on Facebook, X, and Instagram. Also, be sure to check out our other blogs for even more resources!


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