Oh Freedom After While

Oh Freedom After While by Theodore D. R. Green and Lynn Rubright

Oh Freedom After While book cover

About the Book

Oh Freedom After While, The Missouri Sharecropper Protest of 1939 is a curriculum guide designed to supplement the Emmy-Award-winning documentary of the same name, which describes the protest, led by Rev. Owen H. Whitfield, Depression Era Civil Rights activist. Learn about Thad Snow, outspoken land owner, and Fannie Cook, St. Louis activist, supporters and friends of the Whitfield family. Analyze Arthur Witman's archival photos of the protest and Cropperville. Explore the Whitfield family oral histories of Cropperville experiences through creative drama and Sam Armstrong's St. Louis Post-Dispatch article through reader's theater. Investigate labor laws, impact of unionization, and resulting social changes through primary source documents. These classroom activities bring the film to life.


You will find primary source items including photographs, newspaper articles, oral histories, and other personal recollections of events that shaped the roadside protests in Bootheel Missouri. Watching the three documentary segments before each of the three lessons will enhance student understanding and comprehension skills and make for a rich and vibrant learning experience. Explore photographs, get to know the people involved in this event, and learn about life in Cropperville through oral histories and stories from those who lived to tell about their experiences. We have included an additional Historical Literacy Lesson Using Poetry, Creative Drama and Reader's Theater, and Living History to enrich your language arts and performing arts curriculum. Here you will find activities that involve song, story, and performance.


In order to support historical literacy skills, lessons have been designed with History's Habits of Mind from the National Council for History Education (NCHE) as well as meeting national and state standards in History and Language Arts. Each lesson contains a summary, outcomes, materials, and strategies to use with students so that they get a well-rounded experience and become immersed in the materials.


This guide, designed for upper elementary through adult, will provide students with a better understanding of civil rights issues in our country during The Great Depression. It supports developing a more peace-filled and compassionate world through historical literacy and the expressive arts.


Purchasing Information

Oh Freedom After While is available for purchase at the front desk of Webster University Library ($10, cash or check). To order using a credit card, visit our online site or amazon.com.


About the Authors

Theodore D. R. Green, PhD, is a professor in the Teacher Education Department, School of Education, at Webster University. Green teaches social studies, living history, and social science courses as well as a field study methods course in Colonial Williamsburg each summer. Green is on the board of directors of the National Council for History Education (NCHE) and the Missouri Council for the Social Studies (MCSS). He has served as a national consultant on more than thirty-three Teaching American History (TAH) grants as well as training park rangers with the National Park Service. Ted has conducted Oh Freedom After While workshops across the nation for more than fifteen years.


Green has received a variety of recognitions over the years: teacher of the year awards, Global Leadership Academy Faculty Fellow, and most recently a 2015–2016 Life Guard Fellow with the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon, developing national curriculum.


Lynn Rubright, Professor Emeritus, Webster University, is an award-winning educator, workshop leader, speaker, writer, and professional storyteller. She taught graduate courses for thirty-six years at Webster University. Project TELL, Teaching English through Living Language, was a three-year federally funded Title IV-C program designed and directed by Lynn for a suburban St. Louis school district. Project TELL explored ways to motivate learning and literacy through storytelling and related expressive arts across the curriculum. Her book Beyond the Beanstalk: Interdisciplinary Learning through Storytelling (Heinemann, 1996) is used by teachers internationally. The Emmy-award–winning documentary film she co-produced, Oh Freedom After While: The Missouri Sharecropper Protest of 1939, and her children's book based on the life of Rev. Owen Whitfield, Mama's Window, (Lee and Low Books, 2005), are widely used in social studies and language arts classrooms.


Lynn is co-founder of the Metro Theater Company, an award-winning St. Louis-based children's theater, and co-founder of the St. Louis Storytelling Festival. Lynn worked for many years as storyteller/educator for the Urban Arts Program at the Center for Creative Arts (COCA). Lynn is a recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award and a Circle of Excellence Award from the National Storytelling Network (NSN). She received a Grand Center Visionary Award in 2013 for Creative Teaching of the Arts in Education. She was an Outstanding Alumni Award recipient from Webster University.