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Many Passages: The Voyage of the Slave Ship Brookes
In this activity, students use facts and make inferences to create narratives about the journey of the slave ship Brookes. Students work in groups to create narratives from one of three different perspectives: Captain, Sailor, or Captive.
Scaffolded Reading of "Drawing of an African Burial Ground Grave In Situ"
This brief activity leads students through analysis of an archaeologist's sketch of the grave of an African buried in colonial New York.
"In Defense of My Race and Country": African-American Soldiers on Why They Are Fighting
In this activity students read three letters written by African-American soldiers during the Civil War to determine why black soldiers felt compelled to join the Union Army.
Who Freed the Slaves During the Civil War?
In this activity students analyze visual and textual evidence about "contraband" African-American slaves during the Civil War era. They compare the roles of African Americans, the Union military, and the policies of the Republican party in [...]
Create a Magic Lantern Show: Freedpeople in the Reconstruction South
In this activity students create a "magic lantern show," or presentation that illustrates how African American defined freedom for themselves after emancipation and the challenges and threats they faced. Students use primary sources from the [...]
Slavery: Acts of Resistance
In this activity students compare an excerpt of a WPA interview with an ex-slave with a more famous statement by Frederick Douglass to arrive at their own interpretations of slave resistance. This lesson is designed to work with the film Doing As [...]
What This Cruel War Was Over: Slavery and the Civil War
In this activity students will examine how attitudes towards slavery and the Civil War changed between 1860 and 1865. What began in the minds of President Lincoln and most northerners as a war to preserve the union changed, over the course of the [...]
Forty Acres? The Question of Land at the War's End
In this activity students consider different viewpoints on whether former slaves should be given land at the end of the Civil War. Students read one of five primary sources and summarize the author's viewpoint. This activity makes a good [...]