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menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

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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 [...]

New Liberties, New Threats worksheet

This series of worksheets accompanies the activity "New Liberties and New Threats During Reconstruction." The worksheets feature primary sources and descriptions that have been edited for different reading levels, as well as scaffolded questions.

New Liberties and New Threats During Reconstruction

This activity features differentiation and scaffolding to help students understand the new social freedoms and new threats to the families of freedmen during Reconstruction. Students work in heterogeneous skill-level groups to analyze several [...]

A Committee of Freedmen on Edisto Island Reveal Their Expectations

This letter was written by a group of freedmen to the Commissioner of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Land (known as the Freedmen’s Bureau). The freedmen were from Edisto Island, South Carolina, an area that came under Union [...]

Forty Acres? The Question of Land at the War's End

In this activity students consider different viewpoints on whether former slaves should be given land at the end of the Civil War. Students read one of five primary sources and summarize the author's viewpoint. This activity makes a good [...]

The First Vote

This illustration from Harper's Weekly features three figures symbolizing black political leadership: a skilled craftsman, a sophisticated city dweller, and a Union Army veteran.