Teachers use a number of tools in an effort to educate their students.
Social Studies teachers often sift through textbook after textbook, pinpointing dates in history or marking places in time while trying to help youngsters get a better grasp of the past. Rarely do they get a chance to see that history up close.
Thanks to Rose Throneberry’s luck, the fifth-grade students at Lynchburg Elementary School had an opportunity to do just that a few weeks ago. Throneberry, who teaches Social Studies to the nearly 70 fifth-graders at LES, was among a handful of teachers whose name was drawn via lottery, allowing her students to see the Emancipation Proclamation at the Tennessee State Museum on Feb. 14.
After filling out the proper paperwork and sending in her request in the fall, Throneberry’s luck turned out to be very good fortune for LES students.
“They wanted as many children as possible to come see it, but to make it fair they (decided to) do a lottery,” said Throneberry. “They called me and told me that I was one of the winners and we were very excited. The students were really excited about going.”
This year marks the Emancipation Proclamation’s 150th anniversary. The document rarely leaves the National Archives in Washington, D.C., but will travel around the country as part of the multimedia exhibit “Discovering the Civil War,” which opened Feb. 12 — President Lincoln’s birthday — and will continue through September 2013.
The document made its only stop in the Southeast when it visited Nashville earlier this month. The viewing lasted just 72 hours over a seven-day period from Feb. 12 to Feb. 18. After that, a facsimile of the Emancipation Proclamation was to be placed on display.
Due to the tight scheduling of the viewing, Throneberry said she and fellow fifth-grade teachers Melissa Eslick, Ivy Hankins and Marcy Thrower kept their fingers crossed for about a month, hoping they would be able to make the trip.
In the meantime, Throneberry had her students brush up on a little history.
“I’ve already taught a unit on the Civil War, and off course the Emancipation Proclamation was part of that,” she said. “The museum also did an essay contest in conjunction with the viewing of the Emancipation Proclamation and I sent in approximately 25 essays to the contest.
“I had my entire homeroom do it, as well as any student outside my home run who wanted to. Those not in my homeroom stayed after school to write their essays. Several students were interested in doing that, so I was impressed that they wanted to go beyond what they were required to do.”
While seeing a part of history that many will never get the chance to see again, the LES students were also able to see the original 13th Amendment document.
“The kids know that it was the 13th Amendment that actually abolished slavery, because we have studied that,” said Throneberry. “Unless these kids go on a trip to Washington, D.C., to the National Archives, they will not be able to see (the Emancipation Proclamation) again … unless it goes on tour again.”
Read the complete story in the Feb. 28 print edition of The Moore County News. (Click here to subscribe to the print or online edition of The Moore County News)
By ROBERT HOLMAN (Robert Holman is the editor of the Moore County News. He can be reached at email@example.com)