Lesson Plan

After the American Revolution: Free African Americans in the North

Photograph of Sojourner Truth
Photo caption

Photograph of Sojourner Truth.

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 when creating biographies? 

What was life like for freed slaves during the American Revolution?

To what extent were freed slaves citizens in the newly independent nation?

Learning Objectives

Examine biographies to identify evidence drawn from primary and secondary sources. 

Construct a biography of an escaped slave living during the American Revolution based on research using primary and secondary sources. 

Evaluate the contributions and treatment of freed slaves during and after the American Revolution.