Yellow Fever

Yellow fever is a virus transmitted by the bite of the female Aedes aegypti mosquito, and Memphis was devatated by it in the 1870s. Virulent feveres rocked the city, and thousands of fleeing citizens took the carrier mosquito with them to towns all over West Tennessee- staggering losses were experienced in Collierville, Paris, Brownsville, Milan, and Martin. During the epidemics of 1873 and 1878, more than 7,000 Memphians who stayed behind died horrifying deaths.

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
5.26
Describe the impact of yellow fever during the 1870s; why it was particularly deadly in West Tennessee and the election of African Americans to the General Assembly.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.1
Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.3
Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.5
Compare and contrast the overall structure (e.g., chronology, comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution) of events, ideas, concepts, or information...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.6
Analyze multiple accounts of the same event or topic, noting important similarities and differences in the point of view they represent.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.7
Draw on information from multiple print or digital sources, demonstrating the ability to locate an answer to a question quickly or to solve a problem...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.9
Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.5.1
Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.5.3
Compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, or events in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., how characters...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.5.9
Compare and contrast stories in the same genre (e.g., mysteries and adventure stories) on their approaches to similar themes and topics.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.5.2
Summarize a written text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.2
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.7
Conduct short research projects that use several sources to build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.8
Recall relevant information from experiences or gather relevant information from print and digital sources; summarize or paraphrase information in...
GLE 0501.4.1
Conduct research to access and present information.
GLE 0501.4.2
Collect, organize, determine reliability, and use information researched.
GLE 0501.4.3
Present the research results in a written report, citing the resources used.
GLE 0501.6.3
Explore the organizational structures of informational texts.
GLE 0501.8.2
Experience various literary genres, including fiction and nonfiction, poetry, drama, chapter books, biography/autobiography, short stories, folk tales, myths,...
SPI 0501.1.15
Recognize and use grade appropriate vocabulary within context.
SPI 0501.3.10
Select appropriate time-order or transitional words/phrases to enhance the flow of a writing sample.
SPI 0501.5.1
Locate information to support opinions, predictions, and conclusions.
SPI 0501.5.2
Identify stated or implied cause and effect relationships in text.
SPI 0501.5.6
Make inferences and draw appropriate conclusions from text.
SPI 0501.6.3
Locate information using available text features (e.g., maps, charts, graphics).
SPI 0501.7.2
Determine the main idea in a visual image.
TSS.ELA.5.RI.CS.6
Analyze the similarities and differences in points of view of multiple accounts of the same event or topic.
TSS.ELA.5.RI.IKI.7
Locate an answer to a question or solve a problem, drawing on information from multiple print or digital sources.
TSS.ELA.5.RI.IKI.9
Integrate information from two or more texts on the same topic in order to build content knowledge.
TSS.ELA.5.RI.KID.1
Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
TSS.ELA.5.RI.KID.3
Explain the relationships and interactions among two or more individuals, events, and/or ideas in a text.
TSS.ELA.5.RL.CS.6
Describe how a narrator's or speaker's point of view influences how events are described.
TSS.ELA.5.RL.IKI.7
Explain how visual and multimedia elements contribute to the meaning, tone, or mood of a text, such as in a graphic novel, multimedia presentation, or...
TSS.ELA.5.RL.IKI.9
Compare and contrast stories in the same genre on their approaches to similar themes and topics.
TSS.ELA.5.RL.KID.1
Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
TSS.ELA.5.RL.KID.3
Compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, or events in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in a text.
TSS.ELA.5.SL.CC.2
Summarize a text presented in diverse media such as visual, quantitative, and oral formats.
TSS.ELA.5.W.RBPK.7
Conduct short research projects that use multiple sources to build knowledge through investigations of different aspects of a topic.
TSS.ELA.5.W.RBPK.8
Recall relevant information from experiences or gather relevant information from print and digital sources; summarize or paraphrase information in notes...
TSS.ELA.5.W.TTP.2
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information.
 
Alignment of this item to academic standards is based on recommendations from content creators, resource curators, and visitors to this website. It is the responsibility of each educator to verify that the materials are appropriate for your content area, aligned to current academic standards, and will be beneficial to your specific students.
 
Learning objectives: 
  • Today we will... describe the impact of yellow fever during the 1870s.    
  • So that you can...Analyze how the disease started    and spread and comprehend its effect on a population.        
  • You will know if you got it if...You can use primary sources to cite evidence about the yellow fever epidemic and generate your own questions about the topic and create a yellow fever comic.
Essential and guiding questions: 
  • What is yellow fever and how was it caused?
  • What was it like to have yellow fever?
  • How would you keep track of the infected, dying and the dead?
  • Why was it important to report daily the number of people newly infected and the number who died?
  • What are some ways you might stop the disease from spreading?
  • How did people living in Humbodt, TN feel about yellow fever?
  • Why is it important to bury the people who died from yellow fever a certain way?

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Understanding

Helpful Hints

Materials Needed:

  • Primary sources related to yellow fever from the Tennessee State Library and Archives (linked below in activities)
  • Large construction paper of white poster board size paper
  • Dialogue bubbles (easily discoverable online through  google search)
  • Markers, crayons, or colored pencils