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In this book excerpt, historians John Hope Franklin and Loren Schweninger explain the difficulties faced by runaway slaves who attempted to escape to northern states or Canada. Franklin and Schweninger studied many primary source documents to reach [...]
Henry Bibb was born in Kentucky to a slave mother and her owner, Kentucky state senator James Bibb. His brothers and sisters were sold away when he was a child, and Bibb was also sold frequently—he lived in at least seven southern states. After [...]
This worksheet helps students to analyze a poster about the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850.
In this activity students compare an excerpt of a WPA interview with an ex-slave with a more famous statement by Frederick Douglass to arrive at their own interpretations of slave resistance. This lesson is designed to work with the film Doing As [...]
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 [...]
Militant black and white abolitionists organized opposition to the Fugitive Slave Act. In 1859 Harriet Tubman, an ex-slave and leader of the underground railroad, played a central role in rescuing a fugitive slave named Charles Nalle. Nalle, who had [...]
This short essay explains how historians came to focus not just on what slavery did to slaves, but what slaves did for themselves within the limits set by this brutal institution.
In this lesson, students will host an abolitionist meeting in the 1850s, after the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act. Three strategies for ending slavery will be presented, and students will evaluate and debate the strengths and weaknesses of each [...]
During the 1850s, hundreds of thousands of enslaved African Americans were sold by owners in the upper South (Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee) to owners in the lower South (Louisiana, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, [...]