Douglas literacy lesson
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Douglas literacy lesson

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  • 1. Take me on the journey
    From Bondage to Freedom
  • 2. Investigative Reporting
    You have been chosen as a student reporter to travel back to the time of slavery. Your job is to research and review authentic historical slave documents, interview former slave owners and slaves, and document your research. You will complete several tasks as you cover the following:
    You will watch the introductory video to familiarize yourself with Frederick Douglass
    You will read the autobiography of Frederick Douglass
    You will determine the importance of the slave narrative in the abolitionist movement
    You will gain experience in working with the slave narrative as a work of literature
    You will explore themes of self-actualization and literacy enlightenment within the slave narrative
    Enslaved Africans Being Loaded into Hold of Slave Ship
  • 3. An Introduction to the Slave Narrative
    This quilt square represented the North Star
    This was the symbol for Wagon Wheel
    Familiarize yourself with the slave narrative by reading William L. Andrew’s introduction to the narrative of Frederick Douglass. This essay explains the purpose of the slave narrative and enlightens the reader about the realities of slavery as an institution. Write two to three paragraphs stating the characteristics of the slave narrative, the audience for which the narrative was intended, and the influence of the narratives.
  • 4. You will begin your investigative research by logging on to the following website and listening to a short video titled “An evening with Frederick Douglass.”
    Frederick Douglass
  • 5. Read the preface of the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
    Preface by William Lloyd Garrison
    Preface by Wendell Phillips
    Demonstrate your understanding of the readings by responding to the question: What function do Garrison’s preface and Phillips’s letter serve?
  • 6. Your job is to read about the life of Frederick Douglass by reading his autobiography -Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, Written by Himself
    When you have completed reading the narrative, write a thorough response to each of the following questions:
    • How is education related to human freedom?
    • 7. What is a Human Right?
    • 8. Why is literacy a statement about freedom?
    • 9. How does literature affect social justice and social transformation?
    Africans Liberated from a Captured Slave Ship, 1846
  • 10. Your next task is to read Escape From Slavery, 1838which details Frederick Douglass’ escape to the north. As you read, use MapQuest to create a map plotting each stop along his escape route. Print the map.
    Next, read the letter Douglass wrote to Thomas Auld after he became a free man. Write two paragraphs analyzing the tone and voice in the letter.
  • 11. Identifying Different Perspectives
    Now that you have read the narrative of Frederick Douglass. Your task is to read “Southern Thought,” an article written before the Civil War by a Southern Plantation owner by the name of George Fitzhugh. Draw a Venn diagram and compare/contrast Fredrick Douglas’ “Narrative of a Slave” with “Southern Thought.”  Examine how each author’s position in life contributes to his opinions about slavery and how each writer’s perspective works to create a more complete and perhaps more accurate picture of history. 
  • 12. Create a character web of Frederick Douglass. Illustrate the characteristics with images, drawings, and words. Include at least two representations of his contributions. Be prepared to discuss the character web online with your classmates.
    Think critically about the people Douglass describes in his narrative - Aunt Hester, Sophia Auld, and Edward Covey and write a brief essay explaining why these people are important to him.
    Think Tank
    Slave Quarters on a Southern Plantation
  • 13. Research two spirituals for reflection and study. Decipher the songs and analyze what they reveal about the deeper thoughts and feelings of enslaved Americans. Consider the following: What is the meaning behind the song? What knowledge does the listener or reader need in order to understand the songs? What kind of language is used in these songs? Why do you think the composers chose to use this language? How are various groups of people portrayed in these songs?
    Remember to post your work on the Wiki.
    In his Narrative, Douglass describes the singing that slaves did while they worked in the fields. Their songs were called spirituals. While these spirituals may have conveyed to the white masters a sense of contentment amongst the slaves, these songs were sung to express the slaves’ innermost thoughts, fears, and hopes through hidden meanings, as they were not permitted to speak out. In this way, these spirituals can be thought of as “authentic” literature—that is, the truest words of the slaves.
  • 14. My Song is My Voice
    Write your own song -- of protest, mourning, etc. Use your song to express your feelings , desires, anger, resentment, or longing for something that has value to you. The song should serve as a vehicle of creative expression with a personal message about a serious subject. Include at least two verses and a chorus. It can be about anything you want (war, racism, religious freedom, morality etc.), You may use any musical style you'd like. You will also complete a thorough analysis of the translation of your song – at least two paragraphs in length. Be prepared to discuss and explain your song to your classmates.
    How did slaves express forbidden feelings and desires, such as anger, resentment, or a longing for freedom?
  • 15. Frederick Douglass gave many anti-slavery speeches during his lifetime. Your task is to write a speech about ending modern day human trafficking. Your speech should be no more than 300 words. Be prepared to share your speeches in small groups.
    Commemoration of Slave Emancipation in the British Empire, 1834
    Cross-Section of Slave Ship, 1828-1829
  • 16. Congratulations!!!
    Now that you have completed your research, you are expected to write a five paragraph essay addressing how Frederick Douglass achieved a measure of freedom within slavery and what impact the written word had on his life.
    In preparation for the culminating unit activity, a Socratic seminar, generate three (3) relevant discussion questions related to what you have read to promote lively classroom discussion about what you have learned.
    “Who would be free themselves must strike the blow. Better even to die free than to live slaves.”
    Frederick Douglass