• Frances Ellen Watkins Harper’s “Learning to Read”

    Created August 21, 2014
    Learning to Read screencap

    In this lesson students do a close reading of “Learning to Read,” a poem by Francis Watkins Harper about an elderly former slave which conveys the value of literacy to blacks during and after slavery. The activities also prompt students to examine the nature of century in the 21st century and the value they put upon it.

    American Experience webpage for Freedom Summer

    American Experience: Freedom Summer

    In the summer of 1964, student volunteers joined local African Americans in a historic effort to shatter the foundations of white supremacy in Mississippi. The website features historical background essays, bonus video interviews with participants and original art work.

    American Experience webpage for Freedom Summer

    American Experience: Freedom Summer

    In the summer of 1964, student volunteers from around the country joined organizers and local African Americans in a historic effort to shatter the foundations of white supremacy in what was one of the nation’s most segregated states. The website features historical background essays, bonus video of interviews with participants and original art work.

    Visual Culture of the American Civil War

    Offered through the Social History Project at City University of New York, this special feature of the NEH-funded Picturing History website, contains targeted videos, lectures, and a wealth of visual and textual primary source material on Civil War subjects for the classroom.

    Visual Culture of the American Civil War

    Offered through the Social History Project at City University of New York, this special feature of the NEH-funded Picturing History website, contains targeted videos, lectures, and a wealth of visual and textual primary source material on Civil War subjects for the classroom.

  • David Walker's "Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World"

    Created April 1, 2014
  • “Twelve Years a Slave”: Was the Case of Solomon Northup Exceptional?

    Created March 27, 2014
    Solomon Northup
  • “Twelve Years a Slave”: Analyzing Slave Narratives

    Created February 21, 2014
    Solomon Northup

    The corrupting influence of slavery on marriage and the family is a predominant theme in Solomon Northup’s narrative Twelve Years a Slave.  In this lesson, students are asked to identify and analyze narrative passages that provide evidence for how slavery undermined and perverted these social institutions. Northup collaborated with a white ghostwriter, David Wilson. Students will read the preface and identify and analyze statements Wilson makes to prove the narrative is true.

    12 Years a Slave spotlight image

    Solomon Northup’s “Twelve Years a Slave” and the Slave Narrative Tradition

    This essay written by a distinguished historian of American literature, gives an overview of the American slave narrative tradition, discusses five representative slave narratives, and provides a framework for cultural analysis of these works showing their intention and their arguments.

    Robert Smalls

    "The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross"

    Explore the evolution of the African American people in this six-part documentary presented by Henry Louis Gates Jr. Discover the how they forged their own history, culture, and society against unimaginable odds.