Education: Publications: Consider the Source:

Rally Program "Support Our Boys in Vietnam! Bring Them Home!" -"Respaldemos Nuestros Soldados En Vietnam!! Devuelvanlos A Sus Hogares!!"

This program, circa 1964-68, written in both English and Spanish, expresses the frustrations of Latino and African-American community members in Williamsburg, Brooklyn about the Vietnam war. Although there is no indication of the year this rally was held, students can determine the approximate date by using other clues in the narrative, such as the mention of President Johnson and the number of servicemen who had died. The draft lottery of 1969 was a response to the disproportionate number of minority casualties, but did not completely solve the problem. This record is in the Jesus Colon Papers, Centro De Estudios Puertorriquenos, Hunter College, CUNY, Benigno Giboyeaux for the estate of Jesus Colon.

Key Terms and Words
Nationalists - advocates of a nation's unity and independence.

Suggested Lesson Activity

  • Disciplines: Social Studies, Foreign Language, Language Arts
  • Grade Levels: 7 - 12
  • Time Frame: two class periods
  • Materials Needed:
    • Rally Program
    • Reference material on the Vietnam War

Learning Objectives - Students will:

  1. Understand the position and point of view of some members of a minority group during the Vietnam War
  2. Interview Vietnam War veterans of various backgrounds
  3. Write and give a speech for or against American involvement in Vietnam.

Procedures

  1. Have students read a number of resources concerning the Vietnam War including their textbook chapter.
  2. Hand out the Spanish rally program. Students who speak Spanish or those taking Spanish in school could attempt translating the record to the class. Hand out the English translation. Have students try to determine the approximate year this could have been written. Discuss the content of the record.
  3. Instruct students, individually or in pairs, to locate and interview a Vietnam veteran. Those willing to share their experiences might be invited to speak to the class individually or as part of a panel. It would be best to invite veterans from different backgrounds to get as many perspectives as possible.
  4. Assign each student to select one of the following:
    1. Write a speech for the March 1st rally in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Have them each select a persona and write the speech from that person's viewpoint.
    2. Write an open letter from the opposite point of view about the reasons why the war in Vietnam should be supported.

Extended Activities

  1. Ask students to locate newspaper articles about the rally. (Without an actual year, this may be a challenge!) If they are successful, ask them to share the results with the class.
  2. Since many of those who lived through the Vietnam Era are still alive, see if students can contact any of the people named on the rally program. This might take some great detective work, but would be exceedingly rewarding if someone who sponsored or was at the rally could recount the event and the students could share their findings with the class.
  3. Collect interviews with Vietnam veterans in writing or on tape. Use them to create or add to an oral history center based in the school's media center.