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Herb - social history for every classroom

menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

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Active Viewing: Abraham and Mary Lincoln: A House Divided

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 [...]

Comparing Slaves and Servants in Colonial New York

In this activity students read a list of laws regulating Africans and African Americans and a servant's indenture contract from colonial New York. Then students find evidence in the primary sources to support a series of statements about the [...]

Two Views of the Slave Ship Brookes

In this activity students compare an eighteenth-century print of a slave ship and a table of data about the voyages of the slave ship to draw facts and make inferences about the transatlantic slave trade. This activity was designed for the [...]

Lessons in Looking: Contraband in Paintings

In this activity students analyze Theodor Kaufmann's 1867 painting On to Liberty. Students practice finding information and making inferences based on the painting by completing a graphic organizer. Then students read a descriptive paragraph of the [...]

"In Defense of My Race and Country": African-American Soldiers on Why They Are Fighting

In this activity students read three letters written by African-American soldiers during the Civil War to determine why black soldiers felt compelled to join the Union Army.

Who Freed the Slaves During the Civil War?

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 [...]

Let's Make an Immigration Deal

In this game, students are assigned different immigrant identities and advance based on their access to economic opportunity and religious, political, and social liberties at different times in U.S. history.

Colonial New York Slave Codes: Law and Order

In this activity students read slave codes from colonial New York and respond to them from the perspective of one of four identities: Slave-owning white, Non-slave-owning white, Slave, or Free African American.

Colonial New York Slave Codes: Pedro's Walk

In this lesson students read a description of a slave's walk through colonial New York City and determine which laws he broke and which laws he followed. Students then write a journal entry from the perspective of either a slave or a slaveowner [...]

Create a Magic Lantern Show: Freedpeople in the Reconstruction South

In this activity students create a "magic lantern show," or presentation that illustrates how African American defined freedom for themselves after emancipation and the challenges and threats they faced. Students use primary sources from the [...]

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