Oppression and Resistance: American Slavery in the 19 th Century

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1 Oppression and Resistance: American Slavery in the 19 th Century Unit Description: In this unit students learn about the conditions of American slavery and the struggles of slaves and abolitionists to end slavery in the antebellum U.S. Learning Goals: This unit is designed to teach students about the history of American slavery. Students who participate in this unit will develop knowledge of the many ways that slave owners and traders worked to dominate their slaves and the many ways that slaves and activists tried to resist the powerful and terrible institution of slavery. They will also be developing academic skills by analyzing different forms of text, working collaboratively, presenting for their peers, thinking metacognitively and having a historical debate. Essential Question(s): How did slave owners try to dominate their slaves? How did slaves resist? How did abolitionists work to end slavery? What challenges and dilemmas did they face? What kinds of challenges and dilemmas effect activists who are trying to make social change? Rationale: It is important to me that students have an in-depth understanding of the history of slavery and the slave trade in America. This historical topic represents the largest forced migration in human history and is a huge factor in the economic, social and political development of the United States. It is thus very important for understanding the dynamics of modern U.S. society. I wanted to have a slavery unit that does not focus solely on the brutality of slavery, but also on the many forms of agency and resistance that slaves and anti-slavery activists exercised. This approach shows slaves not as helpless victims but as real human beings placed in an extremely inhumane situation. It also allows students to discover the benefits and challenges associated with taking organized action to make social change. Assessments: Assessments in this unit will come in several forms, both informal and formal, including: Starter slips and exit slips to gauge thinking and understanding Class discussions of the material and essential questions Study guides for video and texts Open response essay making a counterargument against a slavery apologist using evidence Group presentation on a prominent abolitionist Found poem based on a seminal abolitionist text Historical narrative writing assignment autobiography of an abolitionist A formal class discussion in which students take on the role of abolitionists and debate what to do about certain historical dilemmas facing the movement.

2 For all assessments, clear written and verbal instruction is provided. The unit is planned in such a way that each formal assessment is scaffolded through guided reading of key texts, group work, a rich visual environment, and an assortment of graphic organizer tools. These measures help students produce the best work possible. Resources and Teaching Techniques: This unit utilizes a wide variety of teaching techniques, texts and media to ensure that students with different learning styles can have equal access to the unit s content. These techniques and resources include: Guided close readings of significant texts Videos to build students understanding of historical context A rich selection of images presented to students in a gallery walk activity. Images include runaway slave notices, slave auction notices, and artists renditions of significant events. This component is very useful to visual learners and ELLs. Discussion, debate and group work for intrapersonal learners Peer-review of student writing Curriculum Standards: USI.31 Describe the formation of the abolitionist movement, the roles of various abolitionists, and the response of southerners and northerners to abolitionism. (H) USI.35 USI.36 A. Frederick Douglass B. William Lloyd Garrison C. Sojourner Truth D. Harriet Tubman E. Theodore Weld Describe how the different economies and cultures of the North and South contributed to the growing importance of sectional politics in the early 19th century. (H) Summarize the critical developments leading to the Civil War. (H) Unit Calendar: Day Activities ELL/SPED Accommodations 1 Starter: Distribute KWL chart to each student. Have them spend 7-10 minutes filling it in with their prior knowledge and their questions KWL provides easy access point for all students Video provides strong visuals and narrative Discuss what we know. Teacher generates class list as we go. Discuss what questions we have. Teacher generates class list as we go.

3 Begin screening the documentary Prince Among Slaves for students. Students should answer viewing questions as we watch. Teacher should pause occasionally for discussion about what video shows 2 Starter: Was there anything in the Prince Among Slaves video that made you think differently or surprised you? Video provides strong visuals and narrative Hitchcock collection provides many images Finish video viewing and answer viewing questions If time, distribute images from University of Virginia s Hitchcock Collection (if computers are available the entire database can be accessed digitally). Students should look at the pictures and take notes of what they notice and what questions they have about the images 3 Gallery Walk: Before class, set up stations (at least one station per two students in the class) around the room with textual, visual and statistical information about the history of slavery in the United States (sources can include diagrams of the slaves trade, excerpts from slave trade, runaway slave ads, and visual representations of slavery). Each station should have a Big Paper where students can write comments and questions about the sources Each textual source is accompanied by a visual. Some stations are entirely visual or numerical (e.g. blueprint for a slave ship or statistical information about institution of slavery) Students are to get into pairs and circulate the

4 room. First groups at each station should write what they notice about the resources and give a title to the station. Second group should respond to the first group and add their own questions and comments. Continue process until time runs out. Keep stations with resources and student comments up around the room. They will serve as students evidence for the coming open response. 4 Starter: Why is the way that we tell history important? Why might someone be interested in telling history in a certain way? Put up quote from historian W.E. Woodward on the board. This quote, from 1936, defends slavery as a system of education and civilization that was beneficial for slaves. Stations provide powerful visuals Translations of Woodward quote and open response prompt into Spanish are available Open Response graphic organizer is available Supplemental texts in Spanish also available Distribute sheets with text of quote on them as well as space for students to paraphrase the quote in their own words. Ask students what questions they have about the passage. What words or parts would they like defined? After giving them a minute to think, make a class key to the text Have all students paraphrase the excerpt into their own words. Direct students attention to

5 the writing prompt: Imagine you are a historian debating Woodward. Write an open response that refutes his claims using evidence from our gallery walk. Students are to use the rest of the period to create their counterclaims and gather evidence from the stations 5 Students have the class to work on and finish drafts of their open responses Teacher should circulate the room and conference with students about their work Finishing draft of open response is homework 6 HW Check: Students should get out open response drafts Distribute peer-review sheets and have students pair off the give each other feedback on their papers Those who did not complete draft should make doing so top priority. Students have period to review peers papers and then revise their own. Final open responses due the following day. 7 Starter: What do Americans celebrate on the Fourth of July? Collect open responses. Pass out copies of Douglass speech (abridged), What to Stations provide powerful visuals Translations of Woodward quote and open response prompt into Spanish are available Open Response graphic organizer is available Supplemental texts in Spanish also available Stations provide powerful visuals Translations of Woodward quote and open response prompt into Spanish are available Open Response graphic organizer is available Supplemental texts in Spanish also available Reading supplements and instructions available in other languages Group work allows students with different abilities to work together

6 a Slave is the Fourth of July? Show first six minutes of David Blight s lecture on the speech (available through Yale Open Courses) Show Danny Glover s reading of Douglass speech. Help students to find the portions he is reading and read along. Group students into four groups. Assign each group a section of the speech. They should first read through their section together as a group. Students are to read the speech again, this time highlighting lines that they find powerful or that they do not understand. Popcorn reading activity: Each student should pick a line that they find especially powerful from the speech. We will go around the room and share our lines, each person standing as they say theirs. Give groups a moment to figure out who will read which line and then do the Popcorn reading as a class If time, introduce Found Poem assignment. 8 Starter: Have students do another rendition of the Popcorn reading from yesterday. They can use same lines or new ones. Review concept of Found Poem with students and Reading supplements and instructions available in other languages Group work allows students with different abilities to work together

7 give each written instructions and paper for Found Poem assignment. Each student should create a found poem of lines using Douglass speech as a text Bonus points for those who share their found poem once it is completed If time, show clip of PBS The Abolitionists where Douglass meets William Lloyd Garrison. Discuss with class: What did both men have in common? What did Douglass have to offer Garrison? What did Garrison have to offer Douglass? 9 Starter: If you were alive at the time, would you have been against slavery? What exactly would you have done to stop it? Group students into five groups and give each a prominent abolitionist to study (John Brown, William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, David Walker, Henry Highland Garnet). Reading supplements and instructions available in other languages Group work allows students with different abilities to work together Distribute biographies and primary sources pertaining to each figure to each different group. Students have a half hour to put together a short (about 3 minute) presentation about their figure. Content of the presentation should be including but not limited to: Brief description of the person s background, why they became and abolitionist, what strategy

8 for abolition did they support and why, how did they feel with regard to violence? Allow fifteen minutes for group presentations at the end of class. 10 Inform the class that we will be doing a role-play activity where each person will be a member of the historic American Anti- Slavery Society. Reading supplements and instructions available in other languages For the first part of the activity, each student should write a brief fictional biography from the perspective of an abolitionist. Distribute Autobiography of an Abolitionist sheet (activity created by Bill Bigelow) to class. Students must come up with a character and create a journal entry that explains 1) who they are 2) how and why they became and Abolitionist and 3) what strategies they support for ending slavery. Show class examples of student work for this assignment Students have the rest of the class to create their journal entries and do additional research if they need to. Journal entries due the following day. 11 HW Check: Make sure students have completed biographies entries Divide the class into small groups (3-5 students in each). Bring homework to class Share biography assignment entry with group Discuss dilemmas in small groups and

9 Each student should read their biography to the group Next, distribute sheets describing the historic dilemmas and debates of abolitionists (e.g. whether to support John Brown, whether to support Seneca Falls declaration, whether to support the colonization movement for African- Americans) that we will discuss in our seminar tomorrow. Explain to students that they should try and stay in their roles as we discuss these dilemma Student groups should talk through the five dilemmas and their debates. Teacher should structure class to give students 2-3 minutes to read over each dilemma, 5-7 minutes to discuss, and 3-5 minutes to journal about what they would choose and why. 12 Go over ground rules for Socratic Seminar. Explain that the requirements for this seminar are that each student take the discussion seriously remember that at the time of these dilemmas had no easy answers and the groups decisions had life-anddeath consequences and that they discuss each dilemma thoroughly before they bring it to a vote. Teacher role is limited to introducing each scenario and making sure students respectfully participate. Students themselves decide when they are ready to

10 bring each issue to a vote.

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