Daily Lives of Slaves - What Really Happened?

The stories of enslaved people are preserved forever thanks to the Great Depression. Budding historians explore slave narratives gathered by a federal government initiative to discover what life was actually like for enslaved people. Using other corroborating sources, such as drawings and ads for runaway enslaved people, groups evaluate the accuracy of their details. Included worksheets guide them through the process.

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas
  • Use the lesson in a unit on the lives of enslaved people
  • Extend learning by gathering other oral histories
Classroom Considerations
  • Images and language may be traumatic for some pupils
  • Primary sources are curated and excerpted 
  • Background information is helpful for using the resource
  • Activity comparing being enslaved to being kidnapped by aliens is troubling and insensitive
  • Use of n-word is unnecessary for the lesson