Today's Objectives:

  • Define/discuss historical significance
  • Practice "figuring out" historical significance
  • Apply the concept of historical significance to Coming of Age in Mississippi

Historical Significance

As you (should) know, the whole point of Dr. Song's class is NOT to simply memorize and regurgitate information on exams- although it may seem that way. Yes, you'll need to be familiar with many names, dates, and events, but the goal of doing this is to help you gain an understanding of historical significance.

  • There are basically four elements of identifying a historical person, place, issue, or event:
    1. Identification (who/what?)
    2. Time period (when?)
    3. Location (where?)
    4. Significance (why? who cares?)
  • The most difficult part of this (in my opinion) is the why, or the significance. There are lots of different ways a person or event (or whatever) can be significant. Here are some questions to ask yourself when trying to figure out WHY something is significant:
    • Did it cause something to happen? What resulted BECAUSE of it?
    • Is it an example of an activity that was going on? Does it represent an idea or practice of the time period? (In other words, what does it tell us about this time/place in American history?)
    • Was it the first/last time for something to occur in American history?
    • Was it something that failed, thus leading to another approach being taken?