John Grabowski on Anti-Vietnam Protests at Case Western Reserve University

The following clip relates to the Ohio Department of Education curriculum for Social Studies education through:

  • American History Content Statement #26 The Cold War and conflicts in Korea and Vietnam influenced domestic and international politics.
  • American History Content Statement #2 – The use of primary and secondary sources of information includes an examination of the credibility of each source.

Abstract:

John Grabowski is currently the Krieger-Mueller Joint Professor in History at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). He shares his experiences as a CWRU student during the Vietnam War, including antiwar protests after the Kent State shooting of May 4, 1970. He also shares his personal experience with the draft and securing a medical deferment in order avoid military service and attend graduate school. At the end of the clip, Dr. Grabowski mentions that many of the banners and signs from the protest have been preserved in the Case Western Reserve University Archives.

Potential Classroom Applications:

The story told by Dr. Grabowski provides a local link to a tumultuous time in American history. His description of the CWRU campus as not being radical and yet staging an antiwar protest speaks volumes about the impact the conflict in Vietnam had on American society. His age at the time of the story also provides a point of reference and relatability for high school-aged students. This increases its potential impact and provides a good entry point into the convoluted subject of the Vietnam War and the social movements associated with it.

This clip could also be used to introduce students to the value of artifactual evidence. Copies of the signs or pictures of the banners would provide a visual link to the story. The added sensory input alongside the audio clip can make for a more impactful lesson.

See this clip used in a model lesson plan on socialstudies.clevelandhistory.org.

Follow this link to the full interview: John Grabowski Interview, 28 April 2008

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