We have been receiving lots of questions about this year’s theme (and figured you might be getting similar questions at the regional level), so we thought we would send a clarification (we will also publish this in the October teacher newsletter):
Question: Do projects need to address BOTH rights and responsibilities within a single topic? Based on the sample topics list for this year, it looks to me like some topics just address rights OR responsibilities, not both.
Answer: There is no single interpretation of any of the NHD themes – the goal is to create a lens through which students can analyze their topics. Realistically, many topics will touch on both rights and responsibilities, but that is NOT a requirement.
A student might choose to study the case of Curt Flood, the baseball player who sued for the right to become a free agent, and argue how the right of free agency became a key right for professional athletes. Another student might focus on the Pure Food and Drug Act, and how it created a government that became responsible for food safety.
Most students will find that while their topic may have a primary focus, the other half of the theme begins to creep in as they further their research. For example, a student studying Alice Paul and the fight for the Equal Rights Amendment might find sources arguing as to whether the government has a legal responsibility to accord certain considerations to women under the law.
When considering a topic, here are some questions to consider:
-What is the struggle between those who have power and those who don’t?
-What are we required to give to the community? What are we entitled to be given?
-How do we balance the rights of the individual with the rights of the group?
-What responsibilities do we have to protect those who cannot protect themselves?
-What are the limits to rights? Where should the lines be drawn?
Here are some Delaware related topics to consider for your project this year!
Women’s Suffrage in Delaware (Should a woman be able to vote and what responsibilities does she have to her community and country)
Helen Thomas, modern woman’s rights movement, National Organization of Women
New Sweden (Did the Swedish have the right to claim Delaware? An abandoned colony, what rights do colonies have and what is the responsibility of the home country?)
Separation Day (The rights and responsibility of being a free state (from Britain and the Penn family))
Wilmington Riots (Keeping the National Guard in Wilmington so long, did it infringe on citizens’ rights? What was the responsibility of the city government to protect its citizens?)
Abolition in Delaware (What rights did the freed slave have after abolition? What responsibility did Delaware have to the freed slave?)
Arden (What rights and responsibilities did the community members have? What rights did they fight for?)
Delaware Coastal Zone Act (What responsibility does the government have in this matter? What rights do the citizens have?)
African American Education & Pierre S. du Pont, 1920s (What responsibility did the state have to educate the African American population? Were they failing? What rights did African Americans have to education? What responsibility did P.S. Dupont feel?)
Louis Redding, Brown vs. The Board of Education
African American religious freedom, Peter Spencer (Rights to form their own church)
Prisons of War, Fort Delaware, Prisoners rights
Returns Day (The right and responsibility to vote and the responsibility to accept the outcome)
Works Progress Administration projects in Delaware during the Great Depression, Edward Loper (What responsibilities did the government have to its citizens?)
The DuPont Company, Workman’s Comp?
Participatory politics of the 1960s, rallies, marches and riots (What rights and responsibilities do citizens have to their government and protesting their government?)
Construction of I-95 (Taking away the rights of the homeowners of Wilmington)
LGBT Community Rights
Illegal Immigration into Delaware, Farm/Plant workers