Dissonant Voices

This Dissonant Voices III resource site highlights place-based and historic inquiry learning in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The site provides middle and high school educators with primary and secondary sources for implementing Social Studies curriculum. Included are topics framed by the essential question "How do dialectics of place influence our experience", rooted throughout the park, and emblematic of larger social and political issues of the 19th and 20th centuries. You and your students will have the opportunity to consider national events and issues within a local perspective.


Buffalo Soldiers - Honorable Duty
How did American foreign policy expand a landscape of fear abroad? The moral dilemma of the African American Buffalo Soldiers during the Spanish American War and the War for Independence in the Philippines explores the fear and dehmanization of Other during America's expansion into the Pacific. Closer to home, over 450 Buffalo Soldiers are buried at the Presidio National Cemetery.


Nuclear Reactions - Atomic Diplomacy at the Marin Headlands
How do we protect both our borders and our ideals? Nestled in the verdant Marin hillside, a Nike missile site sat next to a vibrant urban landscape. Here we can sense the delicate balance known as Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) up close and personal. Nike site SF88 offers students the opportunity to consider the national significance and impact of the Cold War from a local perspective: its definition of security, the technology it spawned, the role of diplomacy, and public perceptions of the era. Using these resources, students also can conduct research into primary and secondary sources that continue the story of nuclear technology in our political and economic world of today.


Alcatraz Island - Hopi Prisoners on the Rock
What is the military's relationship to 'domestic dependent nations'? Alcatraz Island played an auspicious role in the lives of 19 Hopi men who spent nearly a year imprisoned for refusing the "civilized ways of white men." The story centers on the Hopi refusal to send their children away to boarding schools and staunch resistance to land allotment programs.


Alcatraz in the Civil War - Military Fortress or Political Prison?
What is the true nature of loyalty in time of civil war? While more famous battles and events unfolded back east, Alcatraz was a powerful fortress guarding San Francisco Bay during the Civil War. The island became a symbol of determination to keep California in the Union at all cost, as the lines became blurred between punishment for taking action on behalf of the rebellion and repression of any expression of sympathy with the Southerncause, raising the issue: What are the limits of dissent during wartime?


Alcatraz - Prisoners and Politics on the Rock
What is the role of exile in controlling political debate? Alcatraz housed political prisoners such as Phillip Grosser, anarchist and anti-militarist opposed to World War I, and Morton Sobell,) sent in the 1950s on conspiracy charges stemming from the Rosenberg spy trial. Robert Lipscomb, a black prisoner of mixed ethnicity, was given 25 years in 1929 for passing a couple of hundred dollars worth of fake bills. In 1954, Lipscomb landed on Alcatraz for being an "agitator." Lipscomb taught art, music, and organized his fellow inmates. He was determined to challenge the penitentiary's continued segregation policy after the Supreme Court's decision in Brown vs. Board of Education, taking the cause all the way to the White House. Lipscomb's case unveils and examines the racism of the federal policies within Alcatraz, and the historic context in which African American inmates found themselves.


A Question of Color - John Harris vs. Sutro Baths
How can a policy of exclusion exist in a public place? Just as Plessey vs. Ferguson established separate but equal under the law, California passed the Dibble Civil Rights Act, allowing California citizens to file civil suits against businesses that discriminated on the basis of race. John Harris, an African American denied entry to Sutro Baths,sued Adolph Sutro, owner of the popular bathhouse and former mayor of San Francisco.

Last updated: February 28, 2015

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