Holley students given trove of newspapers from historic moments since the late ’50s

Photos by Tom Rivers: Jake Peters holds the Nov. 23, 1963 issue of The Post-Standard of Syracuse, detailing the shooting death of President John F. Kennedy. The historic newspaper is one of many given to Holley students who are going through the papers and creating a database. Peters is also active in the Holley Hub, which does podcasts of current events.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 January 2019 at 8:10 pm

‘Holley Hub’ also does podcasts of current events

HOLLEY – Holley students in a current events class led by teacher Nick D’Amuro have spent this week poring over headlines from key moments in U.S. history since the 1960s.

One of D’Amuro’s colleagues, science teacher Kristen Pelkey, handed off five boxes of newspapers covering about 60 years since 1958. These are newspapers from Syracuse that show the news coverage from historic days, including the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy and  Martin Luther King Jr.; the resignation of Richard Nixon as U.S. president; many achievements by astronauts; and other key moments as well as ongoing coverage of the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement.

Students are looking through the stacks of papers with rubber gloves, and making an inventory of the big headlines. They are making other observations, including the prominence of cigarette advertising, the lack of women in the news, and how newspapers weren’t very critical of government leaders until the 1970s with Nixon, who resigned in disgrace.

Holley teacher Nick D’Amuro and his students in the current events class look through newspapers of famous events from the 1960s.

The newspapers in the 1960s are very much in favor of government leaders, and really touted U.S. advances by astronauts as the country raced against Russia to have the first man on the Moon.

“In the 1960s, the newspapers were very patriotic and supportive of the government,” D’Amuro said during the class on Friday. “In the 1970s, the newspapers were more critical.”

There are 15 students in the class in grades 10 through 12. They meet each day for eighth period in the school library.

The batch of historic newspapers was a pleasant surprise. They were given to the science teacher, who thought D’Amuro and his class would enjoy going through the newspapers, which are considered “the first rough draft of history.”

“Martin Luther King Slain” – This April 5, 1968 edition of The Post-Standard in Syracuse covers the assassination of Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. The photo to the left shows Rev. Andrew Young, an aide to King shows where King was hit by a bullet in Memphis, Tenn. The newspaper cost 10 cents at the time.

The students have been digging into news this year, and it had been current events. The class created a “Holley Hub” podcast and has had about a dozen episodes so far. D’Amuro, who also teaches social studies, wants students to be critical thinkers and educated citizens. The podcasts are available through the Holley Hub Twitter feed.

D’Amuro said the old newspapers, covering historic events, has inspired students, and took them right back to key moments they had read about in class. With the newspaper coverage, the events didn’t feel like an event from decades ago.

The Holley students will go through the newspapers and compile highlights that they hope to share with the school community after they are done with their research, D’Amuro said.

D’Amuro holds a copy of The Post-Standard from Aug. 9, 1974 that includes extensive coverage of the resignation of Richard Nixon as president. This edition includes the rare use of red letters in the headline. Back then, the newspapers were almost solely black and white.

“Condition of Sen. Kennedy Remains Extremely Critical” – The June 6, 1968 Post-Standard is headlined by the shooting of Sen. Robert Kennedy in Los Angeles at a hotel. RFK was running for president was he was fatally shot by an assassin.

“Germans Celebrate Unity” – The Oct. 3, 1990 Herald-Journal highlights the reunification of Germany. “Forty-five years after it was carved up in defeat and disgrace, Germany was reunited today in a celebration of pealing bells, national hymns and the jubilant blare of good old German oom-pah-pah,” the article states. By 1990, there were color photographs on the front page.

These students are in the library discussing a podcast for the Holley Hub. They include, from left: Jordan Grein, editor Jeremy Crandall, and Jake Peters.

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