During the third Ghana Session, Mr. Wronko’s students had his students present a project on the Transcontinental Railroad to the students in Ghana. The students explained during their presentations that three railroad companies were responsible for the development of a rail line which connected Oakland Long Wharf, located on San Francisco Bay, to Council Bluffs Iowa’s and Omaha Nebraska’s rail line. Therefore, a rail line that connected east to west was established. The three companies were Western Pacific Railroad Company, Central Pacific Railroad Company of California, and the Union Pacific. Mr. Wronko’s students explained that the railroads helped create jobs, made it easier to transport goods and services, and led the way in the creation of four standard time zones in the country. The reason why four standard time zones were created was because the rail lines needed a uniform schedule for departures and arrivals for the trains.
However, Mr. Wronko and the students addressed that even though the railroads were good for the economy, the rail lines interfered with Native American life. For instance, huge numbers of buffalo were hunted because these animals would interfere with train travel. As a result, this forced Native Americans off their land because they needed the buffalo for survival. Native Americans used every part of the buffalo. They would use the buffalo’s skin for their teepees, bones for tools, fur for clothing, and meat for food. Furthermore, the students in Ghana were informed that some who worked on the railroads were not treated properly. For example, Chinese immigrants who worked on the railroad were given the hardest jobs and poor pay.
After the students were finished with their presentation, Mr. Wronko showed a video regarding the railroad development from 1863 to 1869 and the problems these railroads caused for Native Americans. Once the video was finished the students in Ghana asked incredible questions regarding this subject and tied it to other topics such as immigration, division, eminent domain, and slavery.
Mr. Wronko’s students
Juna Weedon (lead student)
Alejandra Garcia Chavez
Principal Supervisor of this event: Mr. Gerbino