Over the last few years, I have taken part in a grant TAH (Teaching American History) and have had the pleasure to work with Marc Selevrstone, from the Miller Center. Marc is a major player in the website, White House Tapes.
This website has thousands of hours of secretly taped conservations between the President and a number of other important government offices. Each conservation is created with a flash video transcript of the conversation and formal written transcripts. However, the greatest feature is to hear the individuals talk: the tone, the stutter, the cuts offs, the pauses the small things that explain so much. It is powerful stuff and sheds light on the true workings of the Office of the Presidency.
The site has several pages to navigate through for specific recordings, from specific Presidents. I like to use the classroom/topic option. This link will take you to the general topics covered in the tapes. From here you can click the live links to hear the conservation.
A few to get you interested.
President Johnson on Haggar Pants. Some crude language.
President Kennedy discussion with White Birmingham leaders after the church bombing.
President Kennedy “You’re In a Pretty Bad Fix” Cuban Missile Crisis
President Kennedy: South Vietnamese Coup and Assassination of Diem…John John enters.
FDR and Philip Randolph on African Americans and the U.S. Military early 1940’s
LBJ and Mrs. Nathan Schwerner: Mississippi Burning Case.
They also have entire teaching units created that tell the stories in chorological order of the conservation with background information.
The images below give you an example of what you will find.
How could using this site change the teaching of History in your classroom? I encourage you to explore this resource and comment how you used this site and what your students had to say about what they learned. I think you will be happy with the results.