Oh Freedom! Sought Under the Fugitive Slave Act

Using the harrowing story of the Crafts, a couple enslaved in the South who escaped to freedom, young historians trace the story of the Fugitive Slave Act. After examining documents, including affidavits and arrest warrants for the couple, they must decide: Should one always follow the law? What if the law is unjust?

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas
  • Use the activity as a capstone discussion of the Fugitive Slave Act
  • Develop a classroom discussion about whether one must follow unjust laws using the document analysis as a starting point
Classroom Considerations
  • Students must have access to a computer or device to complete the lesson
Pros
  • Chronology and scaffolding is clear and easy to follow
  • Documents include transcripts, making them easy to read
Cons
  • Activity asks learners to sympathize with enslavers and refers to enslaved people as "property"