Purpose Overview Living Newspaper

Required: cable modem or DSL connection, Windows 98 or higher, Flash Player 5 or higher (download)

1. Start with a contextualizing exercise by drawing conclusions about this man's role in history, based on primary and secondary sources (optional):


primary source: New York Times, August 26th, 1932


secondary source: Seeds of Revolt by Mauritz A. Hallgren

"you could no more stop this movement than you could stop the revolution of 1776. I couldn't stop it if I tried!" --Milo Reno



2. Students react to the following series of images (click for larger version)

Scene 5: Milk PricesScene 6: Sioux CityScene 7: Milk StrikeScene 8: Farm Auction

3. Now click to hear the audio of the play with the corresponding images in the form of a Flash movie.

HIGH QUALITY (64 bps) 15 second download time

MEDIUM QUALITY (32 bps) 7 second download time

to exit movie, close window

4. Examine the following primary sources that correspond to each scene:

Scene 5: New York Herald Tribune: July 5, 1934

Scene 6: New York Times articles spanning September 1st through 4th, 1932

Scene 7: New York Times: August 16, 1932

Scene 8: Literary Digest: January 21, 1933 and New York Times: February 2,1933


5. Break into groups and re-enact the scenes using this script.




1. In Scene 5, what are the roles of each character. Who is "the middle man" in this scene and how is he/she taking economic advantage of the other two characters?

2. What is the relationship between Scene 5 and Scene 6. Why are the farmers so frustrated with the "holiday movement?" How did Milo Reno let the farmers down?

3. How do the farmers fight back in Scene 8? How are they affecting the process of the auction? Why is one of the characters shuffled away from the auction?


1. Drawing on all that you have inferred, explain the crisis of the American farmer from 1932 to 1934.

2. In your opinion, does the Living Newspaper accurately portray the events found in primary sources? Is the Living Newspaper itself a primary or secondary source?

3. Hypothesize how Triple-A Plowed Under reflects what William Stott calls the "documentary impulse" of the 30s. Why do you think Americans were driven to dramatize current news events during the Great Depression?


1. Find one example of a labor or farmers' strike and bring it to class. Is your example as violent as the Milk Strike of September, 1932? Why or why not?

2. Take your example and write out a dialogue between two hypothetical characters that dramatizes the issues of the strike.

3. Act out your dialogues in pairs.


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