Slavery and Free Negroes, 1800 to 1860

What was life like for enslaved and free black people before the American Civil War? Explore the building tension between states and the freedom of individuals with a thorough social studies instructional activity. Learners of all ages explore primary and secondary source documents that depict the lives and rights of various people from the 1800's before engaging in discussion about their observations.

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas

  • Use during a focus on the Civil War or when working on primary source analysis
  • Send the link home for learners to explore the historical background and materials on their own before engaging in the class lesson
Classroom Considerations

  • Lesson plans delineate tasks between elementary, middle school, and high school class levels
  • Though the lesson explores the history of Virginia, it is applicable to any state's study of slavery and the Civil War
  • The first lesson in a six-part unit

  • Navigation between lessons and auxiliary materials is simple and straightforward, making planning easy
  • Encourages open-ended questions and primary and secondary source analysis
  • Includes parallel curriculum suggestions

  • None