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Exploring Primary Sources: Braden Exercise


The Braden case received both local and national attention, as individuals and organizations became aware of the events and invested in the outcome. Below is a pamphlet created and distributed by The Wade Defense Committee, an organization set up by friends and supporters of the Wades to publicize the case and advocate for justice for Wade and others involved. As you read through the pamphlet and work through the discussion questions with your group, think about the context in which these were created and consider what unique knowledge and perspective we can gain from them.  


Brainstorm. List 10-20 words or phrases about the documents/items. Start with the details of the document, like topic, names, publication, etc. What do you find interesting? Strange? Do you find anything appealing or disturbing? Things you don’t understand or are unfamiliar with?

Bias. Identify some biases in play. What do we know or what can we infer about the speakers? Whose perspective is represented? Who is the target audience? 

Context. Think about the when and why of this primary source. What gives their voice authority? What should we be wary of? What makes this a valuable resource to the topic? 

Power. What power relationships can you identify in the materials? Can you identify any gaps or silences? Try to think in terms of format in addition to content.

Reflections. What can we learn from these materials? How is our understanding of the topic enhanced through these first-hand recollections? What are some avenues for further research on this topic? Why does this matter? 


Pamphlet, dated 1954, reads
Pamphlet page 2, headings read,
Pamphlet page 3, headings read,
Pamphlet page 4, headings read,