Jonathan Daniels Study Guide
These questions are intended to prompt study and discussion of the story of NH hero Jonathan Daniels. Questions can be screened and edited for age appropriateness for a variety of students in grades five and up.
1) Have you ever seen someone treated unfairly? What did you want to do? What do you think Jonathan Daniels would have wanted to do in that situation?
2) What do you think of the idea that there is "a little Jonathan Daniels in each of us"? Have you ever done anything that reminded you of something Jonathan Daniels might have done?
3) Do you think Jonathan Daniels was a hero? Comment on the difference between a hero and a martyr. Do you think Jonathan Daniels would be more or less famous if he were still alive? Explain.
4) What parallels and contrasts can be made between Jon Daniels’ quest for voting rights in the southern US in the 1960s and efforts for voting rights in present-day Iraq?
5) Write a fictional piece about a young person from NH in 2005 traveling to an unfamiliar place to help people there gain voting rights and other rights.
6) What do you think about Jon Daniels’ unusual background combining military school and seminary school?
7) In the film, "Here Am I, Send Me: The Journey of Jonathan Daniels," the questions are asked: "Why did Jonathan place his life in jeopardy? Why did he choose to play a fateful part in the most significant domestic drama of his times?" Provide an answer based on what you have learned about the story of Jonathan Daniels.
8) Do you believe Jon Daniels was motivated most by,
a) his religious convictions;
b) his personal principles; or
c) his social/political leanings? Explain.
9) What do you think Jon meant when he said "Possessions are an embarrassment?" Do you agree with him?
10) What role did Jonathan’s father, Dr. Philip Daniels, play in shaping Jon’s beliefs and behaviors?
11) Was Jonathan Daniels always a stand-out who excelled at everything he did? What things was he most interested in as a young person in the 1950s? What things do you think he would enjoy if he were a young person today?
12) What are some of the possible reasons Jon chose to pursue military training at the Virginia Military Institute?
13) What did segregation mean in the southern cities of the early 1960s? Give examples of segregation in practice.
14) Why did Jonathan’s classmates elect him valedictorian of his Virginia Military Institute class?
15) What were some of the ramifications for Jon and his family of Dr. Daniels' death at age 57?
16) Describe some of the ways people responded to desegregation in 1963.
17) Jon declared, "I am bitterly opposed to racial prejudice." How did a young man from Keene, NH, come to form this opinion?
18) Old Negro Spirituals were often used as motivational music for civil rights marches in the 1960s. Research examples of traditional spirtuals.
19) Was Jonathan Daniels a Republican or a Democrat? Comment.
20) The Civil Rights Act of 1965 guaranteed voting rights for all US citizens. Why didn’t that law immediately change everything?
21) Who is Julius Williams and what role has he played in spreading the word about Jonathan Daniels?
22) What was the significance of the "Magnificat" in motivating Jonathan?
23) Identify the following: Judith Upham, Richard Morrisroe, Ruby Sales, SNCC, Lowndes County, Stokely Carmichael
24) What did Jonathan Daniels think of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.? Do you agree?
25) What does the term "white supremacist" mean and what do you think motivates white supremacists?
26) Comment on Jonathan Daniels’ discovery of "freedom to love the enemy and in that freedom to will and to try to set him free."
27) Who shot Jonathan Daniels? Was the shooter punished?
28) How did Jonathan’s death and the trial of his attacker affect the jury system in the south?
29) Take a walking tour of Jon’s Keene neighborhood starting at Keene Public Library on Winter Street and include St. James Church on West Street and Jon’s home at 67 Summer Street. How much do you think the environment has changed in the 40 years since Jonathan has been gone?
30) Visit Jonathan Daniels School on Maple Avenue in Keene and record your impressions. What do you think Jon would think of having an elementary school share his name?