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In this activity students analyze visual and textual evidence about "contraband" African-American slaves during the Civil War era. They compare the roles of African Americans, the Union military, and the policies of the Republican party in emancipating slaves. They determine the extent to which African Americans freed themselves versus the extent…

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Item Type: Teaching Activity
Date: 2011

This Civil War photograph shows Private Hubbard Pryor, an escaped slave from Georgia, before and after his enlistment in the 44th U.S. Colored Troops, a Union Army regiment of African-American soldiers. Congress passed legislation allowing some African Americans to serve in the Union Army in August 1862, and when Lincoln announced the Emancipation…

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Item Type: Photograph
Date: 1864

This map identifies which states and territories of the United States allowed slavery and which did not in 1860, on the eve of the Civil War. The slaveholding border states included Missouri, Kentucky, Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware.

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Item Type: Map
Date: 1996

PBS American Experience’s Abraham and Mary Lincoln: A House Divided is a 6 episode mini-series available as a 3 DVD set. The following activity focuses on the causes and consequences of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation through an active viewing of Episode 4: The Dearest of All Things (Disc 2). There is a companion website to the…

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Item Type: Teaching Activity
Date: 2011

This activity compares a runaway slave ad and an abolitionist poster to explore the causes and effects of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law. The law changed how many northerners viewed slavery and intensified conflicts that brought the nation closer to Civil War.

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Item Type: Teaching Activity
Date: 2009

This worksheet helps students evaluate different pieces of evidence to determine who freed the slaves, Abraham Lincoln or slaves themselves. The worksheet is part of the activity "Emancipation and "Contraband": Who Freed the Slaves During the Civil War."

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Item Type: Worksheet
Date: 2011

This worksheet helps students analyze a letter in which Lydia Maria Child describes Harriet Tubman's vivid allegory about the necessity of destroying slavery during the Civil War.

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Item Type: Worksheet
Date: 2011

This worksheet helps students analyze a letter from John Boston, a runaway slave during the Civil War, to his wife.

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Item Type: Worksheet
Date: 2011

Early in the Civil War, on November 7, 1861, a fleet of Union gunboats bombarded the Sea Islands off the coast of South Carolina. Confederate planters left hastily, ordering their field hands and house servants to accompany them. Most ignored their former masters and remained. The Union government eventually appointed northern antislavery reformers…

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Item Type: Photograph
Date: 1862

In May, 1861, Union General Benjamin Butler offered military protection to runaway slaves in Virginia, declaring them wartime "contraband." In every region touched by the war, African-American men, women, and children flocked to the protection offered by Union encampments. In exchange they provided manual labor and information about local terrain…

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Item Type: Article/Essay
Date: 2008