Activity 1: Scapegoating in Disease-Fearing New York Texts
Step 1 (5 mins)
Hand out a worksheet with the newspaper excerpts and questions on them. Scapegoating is defined as the unfair blaming of a person or a specific group of people for something that they are not responsible for. This term will be used to frame the activity as students look at how the blame was placed on Eastern European Jewish immigrants for the spread of cholera in New York City, even before cholera entered the New York Port from Hamburg in August 1892.
Step 2 (12 mins)
Instruct students to read the quotes and discuss the following questions in pairs.
Discuss the following questions as a class.
Regulations: rule made by authority
Contagious: spread from person to person by contact
Infectious: likely to be spread from person to person
Prominent: important, noticeable
Ignorant: uneducated, unsophisticated
Refuge: safety, shelter
Offensive: causing hurt, repulsive
Menace: person or thing likely to cause harm
Originate: to come from
Riffraff: people regarded as worthless