Mclean Contributionship Educational Outreach Initiative

1st Annual Teacher’s Workshop and Public Program

From Tragedy to Triumph:  Teaching about Black Girlhood in the Late 19th Century: A Case Study of the Sanders-Venning Family

Snapshot portrait from the Stevens-Cogdell/Sanders-Venning Collection showing sisters Lillie “Buzz” Venning, Martha “Mattie” Venning Bowie, and  Mary “Mose” Venning, ca. 1910. Gelatin silver print.

Presented by Dr. Nazera Sadiq Wright Associate Professor, University of Kentucky

Close reading of primary sources provides ways to study broad historical movements through the eyes and lives of people who usually are not in textbooks. This workshop features scrapbooks and friendship albums made by free black young women in the north post-Civil War and offers insight into black middle class life throughout the 1800s.  Information and resources shared will bolster social studies, language arts, and art curriculum as the sources shine light on 19th century political and social history, especially on topics of childhood, social and economic class, and art and literature.  Teachers will leave with books, reproductions of sources, and prepared unit plans. Act 48 credit will be given, and free dinner and admission is provided.

Related Lesson Plan available online (Source): 

Exploring African American Albums
By Liz Taylor
Tags: Middle School, High School, Women’s history, Social history, Historians
Exploring African American Albums COMPLETE.pdf
Exploring African American Albums zipped

Wednesday, January 16th, 2019

4:45 pm: Arrival and Registration

5:00 pm– 6:30 pm: Teacher Workshop and Collection Review

7:00 pm –800 pm: Black Girlhood in the Sanders-Venning Family*

Reception to follow

This program is supported in part by the Library Company’s McLean Contributionship Educational Outreach Initiative, National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation.  The McLean Contributionship Educational Outreach Initiative was funded through the Endowment Campaign for the Program in African History.

The Program in African American History brings together scholars and interested members of the public to explore and discuss every aspect of the experience of people of African descent in the Americas from the beginnings of European colonization through 1900.  For more than forty years, the African Americana collections of the Library Company have helped nurture and sustain rich scholarship that has added dramatically to our knowledge and understanding of that experience—and public exhibitions, lectures, and programs have sought to involve the broadest possible audience.

To learn more and register for this event, please contact the African American History Subject & Reference Librarian, Jasmine Smith at or 215-456-3181.