THE VIETNAM WAR & ITS LEGACY IN FRESNO

The communities of the central San Joaquin Valley experienced the Vietnam War in many different ways. Some went to fight for their country, either drafted or as volunteers. Some were forced to fight for their homeland and then became refugees when the war ended. Some joined organizations like the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom to protest the war. These same experiences were felt across the country during this pivotal time in American history. Using primary sources from oral histories to song lyrics, this lesson is designed to help students connect the local experience of the war to this national narrative. Students will be able to understand the mass immigration of the Southeast Asian refugee community to the central San Joaquin Valley in the wake of the war. Students will also understand the perspective of those who were involved in the war through protest or service.

This is designed as a local supplement to a broader foundational lesson.

Vietnam War protest in downtown Fresno, circa 1970. Fresno County Historical Society. 

LESSON AND INTRODUCTORY MATERIAL

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LESSON PLAN - The Vietnam War & Its Legacy in Fresno

Fresno County Historical Society.

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“Vietnam: The End of the War and the Draft: The Draft.” PBS LearningMedia, December 12, 2019.

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“10thirtysix | Exclusive | The Secret War: Hmong Soldiers Who Served Alongside Americans in Vietnam.” Milwaukee PBS. YouTube, September 25, 2017.

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Lisa Lee Herrick. “Eating Thirty in Fresno: Finding Home at Hmong New Year.” Boom California, December 24, 2019.

PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SOURCES

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Vietnam War protest outside Armed Forces office in downtown Fresno, circa 1970.

Fresno County Historical Society. 

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Protesters holding signs that support the Vietnam War during march in downtown Fresno, circa 1970. Fresno County Historical Society. 

Excerpt From Address By Senator Fulbrigh

“Excerpt from Address by Senator Fulbright: The Two Americas.” Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom Records, Special Collections Research Center, California State University, Fresno, March 25, 1966.

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“Memorandum Re: Action on Vietnam, the Draft, and Civil Rights.” Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom Records, Special Collections Research Center, California State University, Fresno, July 7, 1966.

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“Resistance FSC.” Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom Records, Special Collections Research Center, California State University, Fresno, February 20, 1969.

“Strike” flyer. Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom Records, Special Collections Research Center, California State University, Fresno, May 12, 1970.

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“Who is Arrogant? A Fact Sheet on the Vietnamese Struggle for Independence.” Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom Records, Special Collections Research Center, State University, Fresno, 1972.

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“For Our Sisters in Vietnam” pamphlet. Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom Records, Special Collections Research Center, California State University, Fresno, November, 1975.

Leo Rennert and Joe Rosato. “FBI Files Reveal FSU Campus Ties.” The Fresno Bee, November 30, 1977.  Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom Records, Special Collections Research Center, California State University.

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“Why Abolish The Draft?” pamphlet. Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom Records, Special Collections Research Center, California State University, Fresno, circa 1970.

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“Stop It” protest flyer. Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom Records, Special Collections Research Center, California State University, Fresno, circa 1970.

Chong Erskine. “Vietnam War” in Stories of Service. Valley Veterans Remember World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the Cold War, Vol. II. Edited by Janice Stevens. Fresno, CA: Craven Street Books, 2011.

Richard Gonzalez. “Warrior of the Mountains” in Stories of Service. Valley Veterans Remember World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the Cold War, Vol. II. Edited by Janice Stevens. Fresno, CA: Craven Street Books, 2011.

Sing Houngviengkham, as told to Charlotte Hutchison. “Try Hard and Never Quit,” in Stories of Service. Valley Veterans Remember World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the Cold War, Vol. II. Edited by Janice Stevens. Fresno, CA: Craven Street Books, 2011.

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“Vietnam Stories: Leland House.” Stories of Service, April 27, 2018. VallyPBS.org.

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“Vietnam Stories: Craig Meadors.” Stories of Service, March 9, 2018. VallyPBS.org.

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“Vietnam Stories: Robert Wood.” Stories of Service, February 16, 2018. ValleyPBS.org.

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“Vietnam Stories: Hoang Chi Truong.” Stories of Service, April 27, 2018. ValleyPBS.org.

“Nearly 60,000 Pack SF Kezar Stadium in Viet War Protest.” The Fresno Bee, April 16, 1967. Newspapers.com.

“King Warns of Racial Violence in LA, Oakland, and Other Cities” The Fresno Bee, April 17, 1967. Newspapers.com.

L.G. “Letter to the Editor - Live-But Where?” The Fresno Bee, April 28, 1967. Newspapers.com.

Brad Taylor. “Letter to the Editor - Proud at 14.” The Fresno Bee, May 2, 1968. Newspapers.com.

“Fresno Soldier in Vietnam Gets Medal.” The Fresno Bee. June 2, 1968. Newspapers.com.

K.C. McClatchy, Executive Editor. “Time for Nixon to Unveil Plan.” The Fresno Bee, April 17, 1970. Newspapers.com.

Old Sarge. “Letter to the Editor - Opposes ‘Polite War’.” The Fresno Bee, April 24, 1970. Newspapers.com.

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David Harris. “I Picked Prison Over Fighting in Vietnam.” The New York Times, June 24, 2017.

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“Still in Saigon” by the Charlie Daniels Band. Song lyrics by Dan Daley. 1982.

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“The FISH Cheer/I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die” by Country Joe and the Fish. Song lyrics by Country Joe and the Fish. 1969.

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"Born in the U.S.A." by Bruce Springsteen. Song lyrics by Bruce Springsteen, 1984.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

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Stories of Service. ValleyPBS.org

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"Learning about the Secret War, in order to teach about it." Blog post, January 1, 2020. East Side Freedom Library.

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The Secret War in Laos: No Man Left Behind. National Geographic YouTube Channel, Jul 27, 2016. 

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Secret War Educator Toolkit. Minnesota Remembers Vietnam: America’s Secret War - A Minnesota PBS Initiative.

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Activity Guide for Secondary English Language Arts. Minnesota Remembers Vietnam: America's Secret War - A Minnesota PBS Initiative.

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Last Days in Vietnam: A Moral Dilemma. American Experience. PBS LearningMedia.

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Last Days in Vietnam: Refugees. American Experience. PBS LearningMedia.

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“Teaching the Vietnam War: A Webinar." The Vietnam War: A Film by Ken Burns & Lynn Novick. PBS LearningMedia.

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The Vietnam War Lesson Guide. National Endowment for the Humanities.

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Marlana Martinelli. "12 Amazing Vietnam War Teaching Resources From PBS LearningMedia." WeAreTeachers.com, November 10, 2017.

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Vietnam War Draft Lesson Plan. Common Sense Education. 

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"Teaching About Vietnam." Blog post, 2010. teachinghistory.org

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