4 Texas Students Win State History Fair By Writing About SDS
by Thomas Good
Baytown, Texas - May 3, 2006.
Congratulations to Frankie and Karsyn Jackson,
Kaitlyn Martin, Marlee Burns, and Mary Grosjean
of Baytown, Texas! This research team from the
Houston area won first place in the Texas State
History Fair held this past weekend.
On February I first heard from 46 year old Frankie Jackson,
a technology director in her local school district, who told me
she was "working with a team of 4 7th graders outside of
Houston (who are) participating in the Texas State
History Fair competition". She explained that the team was
"comparing the Vietnam War protests to the Iraq Protests.
We have done a lot of research on Kent State, the early
SDSers, and the new SDSers", she said. "These girls are
very interested in making our country a better place to
live in as well as learning a lot about history and the
effects of war", she added.
Frankie related that the team needed: "to attend a protest
in the Texas area", conduct "interviews with people that would be
willing to talk to them for 10-15 minutes about their project",
locate "some old SDS posters or materials that they could put on
the right side of their board (along with) SDS pictures from the 60s
and 70s", and; "ideas about how they could link the 60/70s era
SDSers to today". Using the materials/data they assembled,
the team put together a display board depicting the
resistance to the American war in Viet Nam from the
sixties and resistance to the invasion and occupation
of Iraq going on today. SDS is a big part of their
research and their project featured both the first
iteration SDS and the new Students for a Democratic
Society. As part of the research the young historians
contacted Paul Buhle and myself and young Karsyn Jackson
interviewed me on April 19 asking about not only the
history of the organization but the fundamentals of
planning a protest: doing outreach to other activists,
defining an action, writing a press release and calling
the media and staging the action. It was a serious
interview conducted by a thoughtful, skilled researcher
and I was very pleased to have been selected to participate.
This morning, May 3, Frankie contacted Paul and I to pass along some great
news: "This History Fair Team from Texas won 1st place in the Texas State
History fair this weekend. We are headed to Washington DC in June. This is a
national competition sponsored by the History Channel. Between now and then
they will continue to research. The information that you provided was
invaluable - THANK YOU for your willingness to share and help these girls
grow. The new SDS was what put them over the top!"
On behalf of myself and my colleagues in SDS/MDS New York City I'd like to say:
Congratulations Frankie, Karsyn, Kaitlyn, Marlee and Mary!
Good luck in Washington DC!