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Slavery and the Making of AmericaPicture of slave women cultivating a village garden in Central Africa, Courtesy of the University of Virginia Library
Time and Place Slave Memories Resources The Slave Experience

K-12 Learning
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Lesson Plans
Elementary Middle School High School
These middle school lesson plans help students understand the legacy of personal histories, how to create a Virtual Museum of their own, and learn about the struggle to maintain family relationships under the system of slavery.
Middle School
What We Leave Behind

Grade Level: 7-8

Subject Area: History, Social Studies
Topic: Runaway slaves during the American Revolution.


In this lesson, students will examine how individuals can leave behind records, memoirs, or artifacts that reflect or capture the time period in which they lived. Students will view excerpts from SLAVERY AND THE MAKING OF AMERICA Episode 3, "Seeds of Destruction," and examine an excerpt from Harriet Jacobs' autobiography, "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl." After exploring the legacy Harriet Jacobs left behind, students will examine other artifacts relevant to slavery in the SLAVERY AND THE MAKING OF AMERICA Virtual Museum. As a culminating activity, students will be asked to develop a plan for a time capsule of objects and artifacts that accurately reflects contemporary life for middle school students at the beginning of the 21st century or an exhibit displaying slavery's legacy within the local community.

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Torn From Each Other's Arms: Slavery and the African-American Family

Grade level: 7-8

Subject Area: History, Social Studies
Topic: Emmanuel Driggus and his families experience during slavery in the 1600s.


Family relations were often used by slaveholders to enforce obedience and submission. However, when the family unit was threatened, this could also result in acts of defiance and resistance. Using episodes from the documentary series and short selections from contemporary accounts, this teaching unit will consider the struggle to maintain family relations under the system of slavery and the terrible toll that the system placed upon African American families. Utilizing the PBS series SLAVERY AND THE MAKING OF AMERICA, students will examine the life of Emanuel Driggus and his family, and the way in which they attempted to navigate the changing nature of slavery in 17th century Eastern Virginia. The lesson unit's culminating activity will include a creative writing assignment in which students will take incidents from the documentary and readings to create accounts of families living in slavery (a common theme in abolitionist literature).

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