Education News for May 2022

The Blue & the Gray

This primary source is a song cover sheet depicting General Ulysses S. Grant and General Robert E. Lee in uniform, shaking hands, with the slogan Let Us Have Peace printed above them. The remains of an American Civil War battlefield are shown on the ground around them, including a cannon, flags, and a drum.

Sheet music like Henry M. Butler’s, "The Blue & the Gray" was created to support the country’s healing process and appeal to the large number of veterans of the war. This piece was published in 1886, the year after General Ulysses S. Grant died, possibly as a tribute to him.

Although "The Blue & the Gray" was not published until 1886, initiatives were taking place during Reconstruction (1865-1877) that helped our nation to move forward. Reconstruction initiatives included restoration of the Union, progressive legislation favoring the rights of formerly enslaved people, and transformation of Southern society.

This source meets the 4.32 and 8.63 Tennessee social studies standards. 

Discussion Questions: 

  1. What does the term “The Blue & The Gray” refer to?
  2. Identify the two men shaking hands in this source. What role(s) did each play during the Civil War?
  3. Why do you think songs like “The Blue & the Gray” were created to help the country with the healing process? How was this process going?
  4. What was done to rebuild our country after the Civil War?
  5. How did Reconstruction help and hurt the economy?
  6. Do you think the Civil War still affects American society today? Why or why not?

For additional primary sources on the Civil War and Reconstruction, visit our website.

Stories from the 16th State: Creating Classroom Engagement with Local History

During the 225th anniversary of Tennessee statehood, the Library & Archives invites Tennessee teachers to attend workshops exploring our state's history. Through July 2022, we're offering this workshop series to educators across the state.

To register, click here and choose the location you’re interested in attending this workshop.

Workshop locations:
  • Cookeville - Tuesday, June 7, 2022, at the Falling Water Regional Library
  • Chattanooga - Wednesday, July 20, 2022, at The Teacher Place

Focusing on primary sources found in the Library & Archives collections, these workshops will examine Tennessee history topics from the 4th, 5th, 8th, and high school American history curriculum standards for social studies.

If your school district is interested in having the Library & Archives education team offer this workshop in your district, reach out to to discuss scheduling.

Discover Tennessee History Conference - "Perspectives on Tennessee History"

Save the date:  July 15 - 16, 2022, in Nashville, TN

Join Discover Tennessee History for a special two-day conference, Perspectives on Tennessee History, at the Tennessee State Museum and Tennessee State Library & Archives. The conference will feature a panel discussion on the state of social studies education in our state, breakout sessions from each of our collaborative partners, optional tours and a keynote address from H. Beecher Hicks III, President and CEO of the National Museum of African American Music. For the agenda and to register, visit the Discover Tennessee History webpage.

Registration for the conference is $30. Advanced registration and payment are required.

Message from Education Outreach

Teachers, you continue to impress us with all the fantastic work you’ve done this year! I hope we are able to see some of you at our summer teacher programming! When school returns next August, keep in mind that we’ll have our DocsBoxes available and we’ll start up another statewide workshop series in September. Look for an email in early August with all of our offerings for the 2022-2023 school year! 

Thank you for all the important work you do to serve our communities in Tennessee! Have a great summer!

Kelly Wilkerson

Tennessee Student Mock Election

The mock election is a non-partisan, educational experience coordinated by the Tennessee Secretary of State's office that gives Tennessee students a chance to learn firsthand how elected officials are selected. Any Tennessee student in a public, private, or home school in Pre-K through 12th grade is encouraged to participate in our Student Mock Election.

Click here for more information on the mock election. Be sure to check back in the fall to sign up for the 2022 Student Mock Election.

"Lunch and TEL (Tennessee Electronic Library)" Webinar Series

Join TEL and the Tennessee State Library & Archives for “Lunch and TEL!” a monthly webinar series for librarians and educators who help their patrons use TEL. Various databases will be covered, from those with recent updates, such as World Book Discover, to those not extensively covered in other trainings, such as the Digital Library of Tennessee. In addition to explaining the TEL resource and how to use it, each session will come with supplemental materials to help you train your patrons.

Each session will take place on the last Tuesday of the month at 12 p.m. CT/1 p.m. ET and last about half an hour with time for questions. 

The sessions are:

Using the Digital Library of Tennessee and Tennessee Virtual   Archive - Tuesday, May 31

Looking at the New World Book Discover - Tuesday, June 28

If you want to register for a session, have any questions about the webinar series, or have specific requests for supplemental materials, please email

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