Project explores 1890s newsboys strike

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History is showcasing 51 student National History Day projects, including a video exhibit created by two eighth grade students from Odessa Middle School. Their project titled: The Newsboy Strike: Fighting for a Diplomatic Compromise is online now through June 27 on the Smithsonian Learn Lab website.

An NHD project from each state is represented during the two-week online exhibition.

Students Kiley Thomas and Rebekah Thurston, with assistance from teacher Paula Hawk of Odessa Middle School, competed in National History Day in Missouri recently and advanced to the national contest, which is being judged this week. Their exhibit explores the debate over poor working conditions for newsboys in New York during the 1890s and the diplomatic actions taken to improve working environments.

“Creating this project was difficult and we had a lot of bumps along the way, which made it a great learning experience,” said Thurston. “In the end, it was so worth it.”

National History Day in Missouri is sponsored and organized by the State Historical Society of Missouri, in partnership with Missouri Humanities and additional sponsors.

“The opportunity for students to showcase their projects on a national scale at institutions like the National Museum of American History provides them not only with real-time experience in the public history field, but also with valuable experience for their academic and professional pursuits,” said Danielle Griego, educational program coordinator for the State Historical Society of Missouri.

Each year, NHD students compete in five project categories, including documentary, exhibit, performance, paper and website. Any public, private, or home school students who meet the grade criteria can enter the annual contest if sponsored by a teacher, guardian or mentor. The contest is open to students in grades 6-12.

Just under 500 students competed in the state level this year with many more students competing at the local and regional contests held earlier this year. Winners at the state level are listed on the National History Day in Missouri website:

Judging is underway this week for the virtual contest this year with the awards ceremony set for June 18.