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menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

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Analysis Worksheet: Before-and-After Photographs of a Union Recruit

This worksheet helps students analyze Civil War photographs of a former slave who joined the Union military.

Analysis Worksheet: "Colored Troops Under General Wild, liberating slaves in North Carolina"

This worksheet helps students analyze an 1864 sketch of African-American troops, many of whom were former slaves, liberating slaves on a North Carolina plantation.

Analysis Worksheet: Harriet Tubman Warns "Kill the Snake Before It Kills You"

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.

Analysis Worksheet: A Runaway Slave Predicts "Freedom Will Reign"

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

Analysis Worksheet: A Union Army Captain Testifies Before the Freedman's Commission

This worksheet helps students analyze the 1863 testimony of Captain C.B. Wilder, who attested to the impact of contraband slaves during the early years of the Civil War.

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 [...]

"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 [...]

Running for Freedom: The Fugitive Slave Law and the Coming of the Civil War

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 [...]

What This Cruel War Was Over: Slavery and the Civil War

In this activity students will examine how attitudes towards slavery and the Civil War changed between 1860 and 1865. What began in the minds of President Lincoln and most northerners as a war to preserve the union changed, over the course of the [...]