After the American Revolution: Free African Americans in the North

Photograph of Sojourner Truth
Photo caption

Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs.

About one-third of Patriot soldiers at the Battle of Bunker Hill were African Americans (according to The Battle of Bunker Hill on the EDSITEment resource American Memory). Census data also reveal that there were slaves and free Blacks living in the North in 1790 and later years. What were the experiences of African-American individuals in the North in the years between the American Revolution and the Civil War?

In this lesson, students will meet some of those African Americans and practice the techniques authors use to transform information about individuals into readable biographies.

Note: This lesson may be taught either as a stand-alone lesson or as a sequel to the complementary EDSITEment lesson African-American Communities in the North Before the Civil War.

Guiding Questions

How do authors use primary and secondary sources in creating biographies? What are some literary techniques authors use in creating biographies?

What generalizations can be made about life in the North for African Americans? About the subjects themselves?

Learning Objectives

Give examples of literary techniques writers use in biographies.

Apply some literary techniques in writing an account of one event in the life of an African American living in the United States between the American Revolution and the Civil War.

Offer some generalizations about free African Americans living in the North between the American Revolution and the Civil War.