Slavery

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    • The Color Line (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • The Color Line

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. 6 pages.
      A lesson on the countless colonial laws enacted to create division and inequality based on race. This helps students understand the origins of racism in the United States and who benefits.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: Colonization: 1492 - 1764, 18th Century | Themes: African American, Laws & Citizen Rights, Native American, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery | Reading Levels: High School
    • The Draft Riot Mystery

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. 9 pages.
      Students are invited to solve a mystery, using historical clues, about the real story of the Draft Riots.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864, 19th Century | Themes: Democracy & Citizenship, Immigration, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery, Social Class, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements | Reading Levels: High School
    • The Election of 1860 Role Play (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • The Election of 1860 Role Play

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. 12 pages.
      Role play based on the election of 1860 allows students to explore the political debates of the time and the real reasons for the Civil War.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864, 19th Century | Themes: African American, Slavery, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements | Reading Levels: High School
    • Frederick Douglass Fights for Freedom
    • Frederick Douglass Fights for Freedom

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. 7 pages.
      A lesson to introduce students to the numerous and varied ways African Americans resisted their enslavement, using the autobiographical Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: Early 19th Century: 1800 - 1849, 19th Century | Themes: African American, Slavery | Reading Levels: High School
    • Freedom’s Unfinished Revolution: Teaching a People’s History of Reconstruction (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • Freedom's Unfinished Revolution: Teaching a People’s History of Reconstruction

    • Background Reading for Teachers. By Bill Bigelow. 4 pages.
      A review of Freedom’s Unfinished Revolution, a collection of primary documents for high school on the Civil War and Reconstruction.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: Reconstruction Period: 1865 - 1876, 19th Century | Themes: African American, Laws & Citizen Rights, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery | Reading Levels: High School
    • ‘If There Is No Struggle...’: Teaching a People’s History of the Abolition Movement

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. 16 pages.
      In this role play, students become members of the American Anti-Slavery Society, facing many of the real challenges to ending slavery.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: Early 19th Century: 1800 - 1849, Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864, 19th Century | Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Democracy & Citizenship, Laws & Citizen Rights, Organizing, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery | Reading Levels: Adult, Grades 6-8, High School
    • Presidents and Slaves: Helping Students Find the Truth (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • Presidents and Slaves: Helping Students Find the Truth

    • Teaching Activity. By Bob Peterson. 7 pages.
      How a 5th grade teacher and his students conducted research to answer the question: “Which presidents owned people?” Available in Spanish.

    • Resource Types: Spanish/Bilingual, Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: 18th Century, 19th Century | Themes: African American, Education, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery | Reading Levels: Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8
    • Promoting Social Imagination Through Interior Monologues (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • Promoting Social Imagination Through Interior Monologues

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Linda Christensen. 3 pages.
      Empathy, or “social imagination,” allows students to connect to “the other” with whom, on the surface, they may appear to have little in common.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: All US History | Themes: Language Arts, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements, Women's History | Reading Levels: Grades 6-8, High School
    • Reading Between the Lines: An Art Contest Helps Students Imagine the Lives of Runaway Slaves (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • Reading Between the Lines: An Art Contest Helps Students Imagine the Lives of Runaway Slaves

    • Teaching Activity. By Thom Thacker and Michael A. Lord. 4 pages.
      An art contest is used as the basis from which students can examine primary historical documents (advertisements for runaway slaves) to gain a deeper understanding of the institution of slavery in the North.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: Colonization: 1492 - 1764, Revolution & Constitution: 1765 - 1799, Early 19th Century: 1800 - 1849, Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864, 18th Century, 19th Century | Themes: African American, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery | Reading Levels: Grades 6-8, High School
    • Reclaiming Hidden History: Students Create a Slavery Walking Tour in Manhattan (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • Reclaiming Hidden History: Students Create a Slavery Walking Tour in Manhattan

    • Teaching Activity. By Alan J. Singer. 7 pages.
      How a teacher and his students organized a tour of the hidden history of slavery in New York.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: Colonization: 1492 - 1764, Revolution & Constitution: 1765 - 1799, Early 19th Century: 1800 - 1849, Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864, 18th Century, 19th Century | Themes: African American, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery | Reading Levels: High School
    • Reconstructing the South: A Role Play

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. 17 pages.
      This role play engages students in thinking about what freedpeople needed in order to achieve—and sustain—real freedom following the Civil War. It’s followed by a chapter from the book Freedom’s Unfinished Revolution on what would happen to the land in the South after slavery ended.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: Reconstruction Period: 1865 - 1876, 19th Century | Themes: African American, Democracy & Citizenship, Laws & Citizen Rights, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery | Reading Levels: High School
    • Rethinking the U.S. Constitutional Convention: A Role Play (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • Rethinking the U.S. Constitutional Convention: A Role Play

    • Teaching Activity. By Bob Peterson. 14 pages.
      A role play on the Constitutional Convention which brings to life the social forces active during and immediately following the American Revolution with focus on two key topics: suffrage and slavery. An elementary school adaptation of the Constitution Role Play by Bill Bigelow. Roles available in Spanish.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: Revolution & Constitution: 1765 - 1799, 18th Century | Themes: Democracy & Citizenship, Laws & Citizen Rights, Native American, Slavery, Women's History | Reading Levels: Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8
    • U.S. Mexico War: "We Take Nothing by Conquest, Thank God"

    • Teaching Activity. Lesson by Bill Bigelow and student reading by Howard Zinn. 21 pages.
      Interactive activity introduces students to the history and often untold story of the U.S.-Mexico War. Roles available in Spanish.

    • Resource Types: Spanish/Bilingual, Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: Early 19th Century: 1800 - 1849, 19th Century | Themes: Imperialism, Latino, Slavery, US Foreign Policy, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements | Reading Levels: Grades 6-8, High School
    • A War to Free the Slaves? (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • A War to Free the Slaves?

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. 7 pages.
      Students examine excerpts from Lincoln’s first inaugural address, the rarely mentioned original Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution that Lincoln promised to support, and the Emancipation Proclamation to explore some of the myths about the Civil War.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864, 19th Century | Themes: African American, Democracy & Citizenship, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery | Reading Levels: High School
    • Who Freed the Slaves? (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • Who Freed the Slaves?

    • Student Handout. By Bill Bigelow. 3 pages.
      This timeline can be used as a resource for lessons on the Civil War, President Lincoln, the 54th Regiment, and the end of slavery.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864, 19th Century | Themes: African American, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements | Reading Levels: Grades 6-8, High School
    • The First Slaves

    • Teaching Activity. By Gayle Olson-Raymer. 15 pages.
      Questions and teaching ideas for Chapter 2 of Voices of a People’s History of the United States on early American slavery, resistance, and rebellion.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Guides | Time Periods: Colonization: 1492 - 1764, Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864, 19th Century | Themes: Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery | Reading Levels: High School
    • New York and Slavery: Time to Teach the Truth

    • Teaching Guide. By Alan J. Singer. 2008. 178 pages.
      Narrative description of slavery in the north and strategies for engaging young people as historians on the topic.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Guides | Time Periods: 18th Century, 19th Century | Themes: Slavery | Reading Levels: Adult
    • Slavery and Defiance

    • Teaching Activity. By Gayle Olson-Raymer. 17 pages.
      Questions and teaching ideas for Chapter 9 of Voices of a People’s History of the United States on black and white resistance to slavery before the Civil War.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Guides | Time Periods: Early 19th Century: 1800 - 1849, Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864, 19th Century | Themes: African American, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery | Reading Levels: High School
    • Francis Scott Key Opposed “Land of the Free” | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • Francis Scott Key Opposed "Land of the Free"

    • Article. By Jefferson Morley.
      “Star-Spangled Banner” songwriter Francis Scott Key opposed abolitionists and free speech in his role as district attorney of the city of Washington.

    • Resource Types: Articles | Time Periods: Early 19th Century: 1800 - 1849 | Themes: African American, Democracy & Citizenship, Slavery | Reading Levels: Adult, High School
    • It’s Constitution Day! Time to Teach Obedience or History? (Article) - Teaching about the Constitution requires a critical and nuanced exploration—one that is alert to the race and class issues at the heart of our governing document. | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • It’s Constitution Day! Time to Teach Obedience or History?

    • Article. By Bill Bigelow. 2012. If We Knew Our History Series.
      Teaching about the Constitution requires a critical and nuanced exploration—one that is alert to the race and class issues at the heart of our governing document.

    • Resource Types: Articles | Time Periods: Revolution & Constitution: 1765 - 1799, 18th Century | Themes: African American, Democracy & Citizenship, Laws & Citizen Rights, Slavery, Social Class, Women's History |
    • Presidents and Slaves: Helping Students Find the Truth (Lesson) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • Missing from Presidents’ Day: The People They Enslaved

    • Article. By Clarence Lusane. 2014. If We Knew Our History Series.
      Textbooks erase enslaved African Americans from the White House and the presidency and present a false portrait of our country’s history.

    • Resource Types: Articles | Themes: African American, Democracy & Citizenship, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery |
    • Collage of anti-slavery efforts | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • Rethinkin’ Lincoln on the 150th Birthday of the Emancipation Proclamation

    • Article. By Bill Bigelow. 2012. If We Knew Our History Series.
      Students need to rethink the Great Emancipator myth by examining Abraham Lincoln’s first inaugural address, the Emancipation Proclamation, his timid approach to ending slavery, and, by contrast, the heroism of the abolitionists and the enslaved people themselves.

    • Resource Types: Articles | Time Periods: Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864, 19th Century | Themes: African American, Democracy & Citizenship, Slavery |
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