Rochester Museum & Science Center
Thematic Topic: Slavery, Abolition & the Underground Railroad
Essential questions:
1. Wh...
Library of Congress African American Mosaic
(migration, ex-slave narratives, colonization, abolition)
Biography website (featuring Frederick Douglas)
Exploring a ...
*RMSC Libraries-Archives-Objects Online Catalog
Niagara Falls
Gilda Lehrman Institute for American History – Slavery module
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Thematic unit on african american history


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This is designed for teachers, elementary through high school, to guide them in developing lessons that address issues of immigration (and subtopics of women, children, reform and regulation, racism, and 19th century change). The unit provides "big picture" questions, information about online and published resources, links to sites and more. Suggested lesson activities are also included.

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Thematic unit on african american history

  1. 1. Rochester Museum & Science Center Thematic Topic: Slavery, Abolition & the Underground Railroad Essential questions: 1. What were strategies employed by abolitionists to try to end enslavement of African Americans? 2. In what ways was enslavement in the American South different from enslavement in the American North? 3. How did the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 test the American legal and social systems? 4. What was the essential difference between enslavement and indentured servitude? Lesson ideas: 1. Read Freedom Crossing in class and complete sheet with guided reading questions 2. Use template for 5th grade lesson on Underground Railroad from 3. Use RMSC Underground Railroad Exhibit to identify ways in which enslavement differed from indentured servitude – and ways they were similar 4. Have students explore possible reasons why the slave trade took hold in parts of North and Latin America (US and Mexico) and not in others (Canada). 5. Have students explore how slavery and resistance to it impacted people in New York State in different ways. African American Research Resources National Federal Resources American Anti-Slavery and Civil Rights Timeline (predates American history) *Library of Congress – listing of African American collections
  2. 2. Library of Congress African American Mosaic (migration, ex-slave narratives, colonization, abolition) LOC - Murray Collection (African American history, pamphlets) *Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture – African-American Migrations PBS (NY Slave Revolts of 1712, 1741) *PBS site: Slavery and the Making of America (lesson plans) *PBS African American Timeline **Documenting the American South: Loguen’s and Steward’s narratives The Rev. J. W. Loguen, as a Slave and as a Freeman. A Narrative of Real Life (1859) Twenty Two Years a Slave and Forty Years a Freeman…. *US Census Data Browser African American Odyssey (Library of Congress online exhibit) *African Americans, Women, and the Underground Railroad (National Park Service) railroad.htm *University of Detroit Mercy – Black Abolitionist Archives *Digital Archives on American Slavery War of 1812 sites documenting African Americans *National Archives – records relating to slavery
  3. 3. Biography website (featuring Frederick Douglas) Report (and Testimony) of the Joint Select Committee to Inquire into the Condition of Affairs in the Late Insurrectionary States (The “Klan” Hearings) 1972 ntDocuments%20AND%20subject%3A%22Ku-Klux%20Klan%20(1866-1869)%22 Freedmen’s Bureau Organizing Black America Black Americans in Congress, 1870-2007 *Mossell family biographies with links Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander – Truman’s Committee on Human Rights, 1946- 1947 (use “Search” box for STMA or the Committee) Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander – Kennedy’s Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, 1963 (Use “Search” box) Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights website - history African American Resources on Digital Librarian NY State **New York Heritage site – NY slave-related documents *“I Will Be Heard” online exhibit, Cornell University Collections on Slavery and Abolition *NYPL Digital Gallery – Abolition and slavery images and documents
  4. 4. otword=&f=2 Exploring a Common Past: Researching & Interpreting the Underground Railroad (NPS) **Slavery in New York – NY Historical Society Mapping the African American Past (MAAP) *Oswego County, NY Underground Railroad Page (Wellman’s Research Guide) Uncovering the Freedom Trail in Syracuse and Onondaga County *NY History – People of the Underground Railroad Origins of the Michigan Street Baptist Church in Buffalo, NY *Slavery in New York Researching Slavery and the Underground Railroad, New-York Historical Society Library ailable%20at%20the%20New-York%20Historical%20Society%20Library.pdf *Records relating to African Americans at the New York State Archives HBCU Digital Collection (John Henry and Roseta Hill) Fugitive Slaves and the URR in Pennsylvania: primary documents (John Henry Hill) Tioga County website (African American History in Tioga County) Local **RMSC Underground Railroad Educator’s Guide
  5. 5. *RMSC Libraries-Archives-Objects Online Catalog *University of Rochester, Frederick Douglass Project *University at Buffalo Archives: background on the URR *The Fugitive Slave Act and the Underground Railroad in WNY *Slavery within the Holland Land Purchase *Rochester Public Library – “Many Roads to Freedom” *African American Activists in Buffalo, NY (19th century) African Americans in Buffalo: An Overview (with images) Essays about Joseph “Black Joe” Hodge(s) Bibliography for African American history in WNY* *Buffalo History Index – History of African Americans in Buffalo, NY Rev. J.E. Nash, Sr. bio (including “Uncrowned Kings” site)* History of the Urban League of Buffalo Canadian Resources *Buxton Museum (Elgin Settlement) Under a Northern Star (African-American Experiences in Canada)
  6. 6. Niagara Falls Miscellaneous *Niagara Movement – Declaration of Principles m_principles1.html African American Registry (biographical data from various fields) Bibliography of books on race and gender (including titles on abolition) African (on colonization) Stories of the Underground Railroad by Ana Curtis The Anti-slavery Literature Project Howard University Benjamin Banneker and the Ellicott Brothers New York State Historical Association – library pathfinder titles Lesson Plans *Criminal or Hero? (from PBS “Slavery and the Making of America series) Best of History websites (composite)
  7. 7. Gilda Lehrman Institute for American History – Slavery module Lesson plans on African American history (great links to timelines) Library of Congress lesson plan using Slave Narratives collection (story pyramid format) Lesson plans on 20th c. African American migration from American South to North Teaching a City About Its Civil Rights History” article, and related lesson plans Lesson plan on Civil Rights – stories of individual’s struggles Underground Railroad Lesson plan for Colonization & Emigration (Schomburg)