About one-third of Patriot soldiers at the Battle of Bunker Hill were African Americans. 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 analyze Jacob Lawrence’s The Migration of the Negro Panel no. 57 (1940-41), Helene Johnson’s Harlem Renaissance poem “Sonnet to a Negro in Harlem” (1927), and Paul Laurence Dunbar’s late-nineteenth-century poem “We Wear the Mask” (1896), considering how each work represents the life and changing roles of African Americans from the late nineteenth century to the Harlem Renaissance and The Great Migration.
In this lesson, students analytically read “Learning to Read,” a poem by Francis Watkins Harper about an elderly former slave which conveys the value of literacy to Black people during and after slavery. The activities help students examine the experiences of enslaved people, the history of literacy, and 21st century values on the power of reading.
In this lesson, students examine the contrasting view of two free black men in nineteenth century America abolitionist David Walker and black nationalist John Day. After reviewing background information and primary sources about the two polices, students will argue for or against the most beneficial policy for nineteenth-century African Americans.
The realities of slavery and Reconstruction hit home in poignant oral histories from the Library of Congress. In these activities, students research narratives from the Federal Writers' Project and describe the lives of former African slaves in the U.S. -- both before and after emancipation. From varied stories, students sample the breadth of individual experiences, make generalizations about the effects of slavery and Reconstruction on African Americans, and evaluate primary source documents.
This lesson focuses on the shift toward mass production in northern factories and on southern plantations that occurred during the first half of the 19th century. Using an economics-focused approach to examining U.S. history prior to the civil war, students examine the role of slavery, industrialization, regionalism, and political responses that ultimately led to the start of a war.
Drawing on the resources of the Library of Congress's Printed Ephemera Collection, this lesson helps students experience the news as the colonists heard it: by means of broadsides, notices written on disposable, single sheets of paper that addressed virtually every aspect of the American Revolution.
This lesson provides students with tools to analyze primary source newspaper articles about the Great War (1914–1917) in order to understand public opinion regarding the U.S. entry into the war from multiple perspectives.