A History of US
"Joy Hakim is, "breathing new life into the study of our nation's past, inspiring teachers and schoolchildren from Maryland to Michigan and beyond to become passionate about the civil war and civil rights."
-Sue De Pasquale for Johns Hopkins magazine
Each of the ten volumes of A History of US has superb coordinated teaching materials developed in classrooms by Johns Hopkins educators. See the Teaching Resources page for details.
Book One: The First Americans (Prehistory-1600)
A History of Us was written to TEACH READING as well as history. Breaking the textbook mold, A History of Us doesn't intimidate as do behemoth texts. It tells the tale of America in 10 user-friendly small, illustrated books. (An 11th source book, with original documents, is also available.)
While fiction is wonderful and we all love good novels, the reading form of the Information Age is nonfiction. Narrative nonfiction uses the tools of the novelist to tell true stories. A Texas teacher, using the books to teach reading to low achieving students, saw reading scores soar and was named Texas Teacher of the Year. So consider treating these books as reading texts, you may be surprised by student response.
Book Two: Making Thirteen Colonies (1600-1740)
The American continent, long isolated from the rest of the world, has been rediscovered. This time by Europeans. Some come in search of freedom, some come with the hope of riches. They sometimes bring Africans, in chains. As to the Native Americans, they face disease and competition from these newcomers. Read Making Thirteen Colonies to learn more. Meet Pocahontas and John Smith in Jamestown. Join William Penn and the Quakers of Pennsylvania. Sit with the judges at the Salem witch trials. Hike over the mountains with Daniel Boone. And read what Ben Franklin has to say in Poor Richard's Almanack. The dynamic interaction of all these diverse peoples will create a new kind of nation, one based on the idea that all people deserve equal treatment. Getting that fairness doctrine to work won't be easy.
Book Three: From Colonies to Country (1735-1791)
It really didn't make sense for a nation far across the ocean to control the fate of people living on the American continent. Many realized that, but Tom Paine put it into words. This book, perhaps the key book in the whole series, tells the story of the American Revolution. Lots of nations have had revolutions, but few have handled the rebuilding process as well. A group of "founders" realized that it wouldn't be easy for people to run their own government, so they designed a remarkable constitution. Nothing like it had ever been written before. Its ideas would change the whole world.
In From Colonies To Country you will find other stories that may surprise you. Read about two Spanish explorers who set out on July 4, 1776 on a journey that covered an enormous expanse of western land. Or read about a rich landowner and fur merchant whose wife was Native American. They fair, decent and heroic, and won some important battles.
Book Four: The New Nation (1789-1850)
Beginning with George Washington's inauguration and continuing into the nineteenth century, The New Nation tells of Thomas Jefferson's purchase of the Louisiana Territory (bought from France for four cents an acre!), Lewis and Clark's daring expedition through the wilderness, the War of 1812 sometimes called the "Revolutionary War, Part II," Tecumseh's effort to form an Indian confederacy, the growth of Southern plantations, the beginning of the abolitionist movement, and the Trail of Tears. These dramatic events and more are woven into a tale that just happens to be true. It's a History of Us.
Book Five: Liberty for All? (1820-1860)
Henry David Thoreau said, "Eastward I go only by force, but westward I go free." Lots of Americans agreed. The 19th century was an exuberant time in the United States and many were on the move. Liberty For All tells of mountain men, railroad builders, whalers, gold rush hopefuls, and farmers, as well as of poets and painters. Read of westward migration, the California Gold Rush, war with Mexico, the Oregon boundary conflict, and Texas and the Alamo. AND MEET TWO BLACK WOMEN WHO WHEN THROWN OFF A STREETCAR. GO TO COURT, WIN THEIR CASE, AND INTEGRATE STREETCARS--all this before the Civil War and 100 years before Rosa Parks.
Book Six: War, Terrible War (1855-1865)
War, Terrible War takes us into the Civil War, from the battle of Manassas to the battle of Gettysburg and on to the South's surrender at Appomattox Court House. Follow soldiers in blue and gray as they endure long marches, freezing winter camps, and awful battles fought on American soil. Abolitionists, slave owners, and ordinary Americans listen to the debates over slavery and states rights. Meet Abraham Lincoln, Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, John Brown, Harriet Tubman, Jefferson Davis, soldiers on both sides, slave owners, abolitionists, average citizens, and others. This is the story of a people affected by the horrors of a war where brother sometimes fought brother.
Book Seven: Reconstructing America (1865-1890)
Reconstructing America looks at life after the Civil War in the newly re-United States. Railroad tycoons are roaring across the country. New cities are springing up, and a new and different American West comes into being: a land of farmers, ranchers, miners, and city dwellers. Immigration is changing the mix of Americans; mostly the newcomers work hard and achieve. Some rare individuals make their mark: P.T.Barnum entertains. Rascally Boss Tweed steals from his constituents. Thomas Edison lights the world. Carry Nation wields a hatchet in her battle against alcoholism. And Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois have different ideas on how the newly freed African Americans should behave.
Book Eight: An Age of Extremes, Chap 18, Rolling the Leaf in Florida
For the captains of industry (sometimes called Robber Barons)--men like Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan, and Henry Ford--the Gilded Age is a time of big money. Technology booms with the new trains, telephones, electric lights, harvesters, vacuum cleaners, and more. But for millions of immigrant workers, it is a time of hardship––workers , including children, often toil 12 to 14 hours a day sometimes under dangerous conditions. In An Age of Extremes, you'll meet Mother Jones, Ida Tarbell, Big Bill Haywood, Sam Gompers,Theodore Roosevelt and others. You'll watch the United States step onto the world stage as it enters the bloody battlefields of Europe in World War I.
Book Nine: War, Peace, and All That Jazz (1918-1945)
From woman's suffrage to Babe Ruth's home runs, from Louis Armstrong's jazz to Franklin Delano Roosevelt's four presidential terms, from the finale of one world war to the dramatic close of the second, War, Peace, And All That Jazz presents the story of some of the most exciting years in U.S. history. With the end of World War I, many Americans decide to live it up, go to silent flicks, drive cars, and cheer their favorite baseball teams. When Depression strikes the good times dampen--jobs are hard to find, farmers are in trouble, and racism won't seem to go away. Along comes President F.D.R., who promises a New Deal, gives Americans hope, and then sees the nation through the horrors and victories of World War II.
Book Ten: All the People: Updated Version (Since 1945)
All the People, the last volume in the series, has been brought up to date with coverage of the election of Barack Obama, along with some thoughts on its significance. The book, a new fourth edition, has been completely redesigned with a bold contemporary look; Readers will encounter both famous and little-known Americans (Joe McCarthy, Martin Luther King, Jr., Barack Obama's mother), historical events (the Vietnam War, the first man on the moon, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan), and major cultural movements (Civil Rights, 1960s counterculture, feminism). A chapter on the 21st century financial crisis explains the basics of investment banking. This is a book meant to provoke discussion and thought among readers of all ages.
A History of US: Sourcebook and Index
Designed to accompany Joy Hakim's ten volume A History of US or as a stand alone reference, this collection of great American documents is ideal for all students of American history. Filled with primary sources, the Sourcebook and Index traces the gradual unfolding of ideas of freedom in America through letters, declarations, proclamations, court decisions, speeches, laws, acts, the Constitution, and other writings.
Freedom: A History of Us
Freedom: A History of Us explores the birth and growth of freedom in America over the centuries, as well as, the tensions, conflicts, and triumphs that it has sparked. This one-volume history is a compelling, thematic narrative. Hakim calls “liberty and justice for all both our legacy and our destination.” Updated through President Obama’s 2012 reelection, this is also the companion book to the PBS series Freedom: A History of US based on master storyteller Joy Hakim's award winning 10 volume set A History of Us. A wonderful teacher/student website, pbs.org/wnet/historyofus is filled with teaching learning researching materials.
The PBS' sixteen-part TV series, Freedom: A History of US, produced as a television series for PBS and HBO Family Channel by Kunhardt Productions is available for school use.
In this series, "Freedom" is the overarching theme. It is also the story of the challenges to American freedom -- the "unfreedoms" that litter our national story, and in some cases have called its very integrity into question. But despite our mistakes and sometimes tragic setbacks, this is a history of the United States as the unfolding, inspiring story of human liberties aspired to and won. - PBS
PBS's Freedom: A History of US is narrated by a multigenerational cast comprised of many talented actors and actresses. Meryl Streep, Robert Redford, Susan Sarandon, Tom Hanks, and Kevin Spacey along with Brad Pitt and Matthew McConaughey are among an incredible group, all of whom volunteered their time because of their commitment to American history.
Click here to learn interesting FAQ's about Joy and her books.
Ebook: "Reading Science Stories," uses Science and its stories as a way to Teach Critical Thinking
FREE TO BELIEVE (OR NOT) A book with original documents and stories of religious freedom in AmericaA Positive Take on an Often-Nasty Time:
Here's a story about TWO FEISTY WOMEN WHO LIVED WAY BEFORE ROSA PARKS AND STOOD UP FOR WHAT WAS RIGHT (SO OTHERS COULD SIT DOWN).. Are they American heroes? Of course they are. This is a true story to share with your students, otherwise not to be reproduced without permission from the author.
Thomas L. Jennings finds a way to wash clothes without putting them in water. He calls it dry-cleaning. This is something new and quite amazing. Everyone knows that some fabrics are ruined when soaked in water.
When Jennings gets his idea patented, he becomes the first known African-American to hold a U.S. patent. A free man who lives in 19th century New York City, he is part of a well-informed black elite. The same can be said of his daughter Elizabeth, who knows the Constitution well.
So, in 1854, when she climbs on one of New York City's new horse-drawn streetcars and sits down she expects to be treated like every other American citizen. Elizabeth Jennings is 24-years old and eager to be on time for Sunday services at the First Colored Congregational Church. Here's how the New York Daily Tribune (famously edited by Horace Greeley) describes what happened next:
"She got upon one of the company cars...on the Sabbath, to ride to church. The conductor undertook to get her off, first alleging the car was full; when that was shown to be false, he pretended the other passengers were displeased at her presence, but (when) she insisted on her rights, he took hold of her by force ... She resisted. The conductor got her down on the platform, jammed her bonnet, soiled her dress and injured her person. Quite a crowd gathered, but she effectually resisted. Finally... with the aid of a policeman they succeeded in removing her."
New York's black leaders are outraged, they decide: it is time to end racial discrimination on streetcars. The African Americans hire a law firm; they intend to sue the Third Avenue Railroad. Twenty-four-year-old Chester A. Arthur becomes their lawyer. (Later Arthur will be president of the United States.) Frederick Douglass, a black journalist and orator, tells their story in his newspaper.
They win the case. The judge, in his official opinion, says: "Colored persons...have the same rights as others..."
New York has three other railroad companies. A month later, the Rev. James W.C. Pennington isn't allowed on N.Y.'s Eighth Avenue Railroad because of his skin color. He, too, sues and wins. It takes still one more legal action but finally New York's public transit system gets fully integrated.
As for Elizabeth Jennings, she will found and run New York's first kindergarten for black children (that is after she marries and becomes Elizabeth Graham).
Meanwhile in San Francisco in 1863 (the Civil War is raging in the East), Charlotte Brown takes a seat on a horse-drawn streetcar. Her father, James E. Brown, runs a horse stable and is a partner in a black newspaper. He is also a member of the San Francisco Literary Society, a debate group composed of African American thinkers.
The California conductor tells Charlotte Brown she has no right to sit on the streetcar because of the color of her skin. Later, she will describe what happened:
"The conductor went around and collected tickets and when he came to me I handed him my ticket and he refused to take it. It was one of the Omnibus railroad tickets, one that I had purchased... He replied that colored persons were not allowed to ride. I told him I had been in the habit of riding ever since the cars had been running. ...I had a great ways to go and I was later than I ought to be."
The conductor, Thomas Dennison, asks her to leave. When she refuses he throws her off the bus. Brown sues the Omnibus Railroad Company. That company argues that the conductor's action is justified: they say racial segregation protects white women and children who might be fearful of riding in the same car as African Americans.
Charlotte Brown tells her story in court and a white jury believes her. The conductor is convicted of assault and battery. Judge Orville Pratt calls streetcar segregation "a relic of barbarism."
That barbarism will continue in the American South until, a century later, Rosa Parks takes a seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama (see Book 10 in this series, All The People for some details on what happens after that).