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  • Writer's pictureACTIVHISTorian

Juneteenth @ AZHS--and Kids' History


Sunday June 16th brought various commemorations of Juneteenth as well as Fathers' Day.


Had a great time meeting so many people checking out the displays, vendors, panel discussion, and performances at the Arizona Heritage Center. And then there was the lunch provided by Karim's Cobbler Shop!


What was especially wonderful was talking to so many people who already know how much "The History Matters." And so many individuals and organizations doing such interesting work in the Valley and beyond.


So I'll ask here what I asked there:

Anyone else grow up making the "fortune tellers" or "cootie catchers" or whatever else you called them as a kid?

Mine had family history questions--conversations starters--under the flaps.

Questions like:

  1. Can you name one of your great-grandparents?

  2. What is a parent's favorite memory from high school?

  3. What sport/s did a grandparent play when young?

  4. What was a grandparent's 1st job?

  5. What was a parent's favorite toy as a kid?

  6. What dances were 'cool' when a grandparent was a teenager?

  7. What was a parent's favorite song as they started dating?

  8. Who was a parent's best friend in middle school?


I have an interest in the knowledge/history/information that kids pass along to other kids. Not a generational info transfer, but from kid to kid. Things like hand clapping games, jump rope chants (Bubble gum, bubble gum OR Teddy Bear??)--and double-dutch skills!, string figures--and fortune tellers!


Of course, now there is YouTube and a LOT of grownups seem to have taken over that realm. . .

But at the Juneteenth event when I asked people if they ever used one of these folded paper games as a kid, EVERYONE said yes--and in addition to those who grew up in the States, people from Jamaica, India, Costa Rica, and Sudan or moved about a lot with military families all knew about them! How does this happen in a pre-internet world . . . or even in an internet world?


Kids carry a lot of history with them and pass some of it on. Kids need to understand that THEIR History Matters too! This isn't the same as a version of "history for kids." It's the kids' own history.


So in addition to conversations about some of the questions above, think about it: What how-to knowledge did YOU learn from another kid? What info that a kid passed along do you still remember? And sure, young people transfer a lot of info about "adult" topics that isn't correct. But guess what? Plenty of adults have that info wrong too!


So for a moment, think about why Kids' History Matters.

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