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In the Classroom

Lessons About African Americans

The Lessons by Deerfield Teachers' Center Staff are designed to serve as examples of different ways you can teach about the slavery of Africans and African Americans in New England in the 18th century. Students use both primary and secondary sources as they examine different aspects of New England slavery, with the goal of incorporating names, faces, and personal experiences into their study of this topic.

A note on primary and secondary sources: Primary sources were created during the time being studied. Secondary sources were done after the fact, but the author may have studied a primary source to produce the secondary source.

The Lessons from Summer Workshop were created by educators from a range of K-12 grade levels who participated in "African Americans in the Making of Early New England," a National Endowment for the Humanities Landmarks Workshop held in Deerfield, Massachusetts in the summer of 2017. Presented by the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, the workshop placed slavery in the north into context of the history of colonial New England.

Lessons by Deerfield Teachers' Center Staff

Three Great Women

Grade level: Kindergarten - Grade 2
Students will hear about the lives, struggles, and accomplishments of three African-American women who lived in colonial Massachusetts; Lucy Terry Prince, Phillis Wheatley, and Elizabeth Freeman (Mum Bett).

In Exchange for Rum

Grade level: 4 - 6
Students explore how specific commodities, including slaves, were part of the Triangular Trade. They will also consider the value of these commodities.

Petitioning Freedom

Grade level: 8 - High School
Students will understand that African slaves in Massachusetts petitioned unsuccessfully for freedom at the same time that the American colonies declared independence from Britain. They will understand that these Black petitioners were familiar with and inspired by the Declaration of Independence.

Jin and Cato's Lives as Northern Slaves

Grade level: 8 - High School
Jin and her son Cato were slaves living in Deerfield, Massachusetts, in the 18th and early 19th centuries. By examining primary and secondary sources about them, students will understand that slave life in the North in the 18th century was different from the lives of slaves in the South during the same period.

Ministers Owned Slaves

Grade level: High School
Students will argue the cases for and against slavery from the standpoints of those living in New England in the early 18th century. They will understand that many Northern ministers thought it their Christian duty to keep slaves.

The Cost of Success: Examining the Lives of Two Accomplished Slaves

Grade level: High School
Lucy Terry Prince and Phillis Wheatley were Massachusetts slaves who accomplished great things but at what cost? Students will understand that although enslaved people had no control over their own lives, sometimes opportunities or situations occurred which would have otherwise been denied them.


Lessons from Summer Workshop

"African Americans in the Making of Early New England" was a National Endowment for the Humanities Landmarks Workshop held in Deerfield, Massachusetts in the summers of 2017. Presented by the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, the workshop placed slavery in the north into context of the history of colonial New England. The educators from a range of K-12 grade levels who participated in the workshop produced the lessons presented here.

Lessons for Grades K-5

Are you a Historian?

Lesson created by: Cathy Johnson, grade level: 5
Students will analyze and compare the daily life in the colonies as experienced by different social classes noting important similarities and differences in the points of view they represent.

Colonial Slavery in New England

Lesson created by: Kristen Kitts, Aimee Harden-McPhee and Jackie Chase, grade level: 5
Students will find differences between slavery in the north and the south.

Historical and Biographical Timelines

Lesson created by: Kerry McGrath, grade level: 4
Students will analyze primary and secondary sources to create a person's timeline and compare it to the historical timeline.

Measuring Artifacts (aka Students might as well measure interesting objects)

Lesson created by: Marianne McGriff, grade level: 4
Students will examine, measure, and categorize (by size) items that could have been found in archaeological digs near the only known existing slave quarters in New England.

Mumbet's (Elizabeth Freemon's) Path to Freedom

Lesson created by: Elaine Duckworth, grade level: 5
Students will discover the life story of Mumbet an enslaved woman who lived in in the Massachusetts Bay Colony on the eve of the American Revolution.

Mumbet's Declaration of Independence: Perspectives on Slavery and Freedom in Colonial New England

Lesson created by: Jocelyn Chu, Elaine Phipps, Barbara Simpson and Carol Thornton, grade level: 4-5
These lessons will examine the life and character traits of Mumbet, the family who enslaved her, and the lawyer who argued her case with an emphasis on the variety of perspectives found on the institution of slavery and the growing ideas of liberty in colonial New England.

Sale of African American Female Slave to Free African American Man

Lesson created by: Linda Ruehle, grade level: 5
Students will read a 1783 bill of sale, Samuel Stanton selling a slave, Binah, to Prince, a free man, and use the Observe-Think-Wonder graphic organizer to interpret this primary source.

Venture Smith

Lesson created by: Linda Ruehle, grade level: 3
Venture Smith was born in Africa, sold as a slave and was eventually able to purchase his freedom and eventually the freedom of his wife and children.

What I See? The Daily Life of Thee

Lesson created by: April Varaldi, grade level: 3-5
Students will research the lives of children during the colonial times using books, digital resources, and artifacts.

Life in Puritan New England — What Can We Learn from their Laws?

Lesson created by: Jennifer Putnam, grade level: 5
Students analyze 17th century laws by making observations and inferences about the text to begin to understand what life was like in Puritan New England.


Lessons for Grades 6-8

Analyzing Slavery in Northern Colonial America

Lesson created by: Chris Butler, grade level: 8
How can a group of predominantly white students understand how a black slave would feel?

Are you a Historian?

Lesson created by: Carleena Day, grade level: 8
Students will analyze and compare the daily life in the colonies as experienced by different social classes noting important similarities and differences in the points of view they represent.

African Americans in the Making of Early New England: Building Historical Perspective and Empathy Using Visuals as Primary Sources

Lesson created by: Sherri Krassin and David Klippert, grade level: 8
This lesson introduces the students to utilizing inquiry-based and reflective skills to gain understanding into embedded historical, emotional and psychological meaning that are depicted in images and photographs.

Comparing the existence of slavery from Ancient history through the present day

Lesson created by: Maureen Prendergast, grade level: 6
Students will compare the existence of slavery in Ancient times, early New England, and the present day.

Long Time Coming: Creating a Monument to Abijah Prince

Lesson created by: Michele Celini and Vickie Walsh, grade level: 5, 8
Students will analyze a monument to enslaved people in Barrington Rhode, Island and use primary and secondary sources to design a monument to Abijah Prince.

Mumbet

Lesson created by: Heidi Wojtas, grade level: 7
Students will learn about Mumbet's life, create a timeline of events and act out scenes from her life.

Myths & Facts: Slavery in the Colonial North

Lesson created by: Ann Cason-Snow, grade level: 5-6
Students will be introduced to the concept of Northern slavery, not as an anomaly, but as integral to our history and to our economy.

Slavery in Early New England

Lesson created by: Steve Mock, grade level: 8
Students will understand that Slavery existed in New England and it played a significant role in the region's economic and social development.

Uniqueness of Each Colony: The Regional Differences

Lesson created by: Bradley Olman, grade level: 6
Students can learn about each colony and area by examining history, civics, economics, sociology and geography through the lens of slavery.

Using a 1739 Household Inventory to learn about Colonial Life

Lesson created by: Eve Zeese, grade level: 7
Students will learn about how historical research works and about life in the Massachusetts colony.

Using Colonial Account Books as a Window into the Lives of African-Americans in Colonial New England

Lesson created by: Kyle O. von Kamp, grade level: 8
Students will learn how to use primary sources, write a first person narrative and keep account books.

Where I Am From: Experiencing Slavery with Primary Sources

Lesson created by: Jennifer Johnson-Corwin, grade level: 6-9
At the end of a unit on the trans-Atlantic slave trade, students examine the African slave trade and the impact of slavery on those sold in Colonial New England and later in the southern United States.

Why Did People Keep Slaves?

Lesson created by: Meagan Matulewicz, grade level: 8
In order to understand why slavery existed and persisted in America, one must understand the perspectives and arguments of that time.


Lessons for High School

African Americans in New England Speed Dating

Lesson created by: Melissa Cohen, grade level: 11-12
How would different people from Colonial New England relate to and work with one another?

Analyzing Slave Petitions in the Revolutionary Period

Lesson created by: Wendy Bergeron, grade level: 10-12
Students will use their knowledge of the Declaration of Independence and the ideals of the American Revolution to analyze the petitions of enslaved people to determine if the enslaved used Revolutionary principles in seeking freedom.

Characteristics of Slavery in Colonial New England

Lesson created by: Peter Vamosy, grade level: 10
Students will analyze and evaluate the characteristics of slavery in colonial New England.

Colonial Slavery in the North

Lesson created by: Calvin McFarland, grade level: 9-12
Why is it important to learn about slavery in the north?

Examination of the Historical Narrative of Boston

Lesson created by: Sabra Brown, grade level: 10
What does the naming of Warren Street after Dr. Joseph Warren reveal about the historical narrative of Boston?

"As the Beasts that Perish" Examining Primary Sources on the Experience of Slavery in Colonial Massachusetts

Lesson created by: Kara Gleason, grade level: 9
What was the experience of slavery in colonial Massachusetts, and how did it shape the lives of enslaved, slave-holding and non-slave-holding whites, and the economy, culture, and society of early New England?

From Slavery to Racism in Northern States

Lesson created by: Jason Burns, grade level: 10-12
The goal of this lesson is to utilize some primary documents as part of an attempt to dispel the myth of the North's relationship with slavery.

Impact of Slavery on the Family Structure of African Americans

Lesson created by: Martin Felix and Al Hinton, grade level: 12
How did slavery impact the African American family structure and what are its current implications?

John Winthrop; Trade and Slavery

Lesson created by: Paul Major, grade level: 9-12
The story of John Winthrop includes the integration of the explorer driven concepts of Gospel, Gold, and Glory as a preoccupation in the colonial period of US history.

Race and "Unfreedom" in America

Lesson created by: Tom Ostheimer, grade level: 11-12
Utilizing the historical construct of "race", students will examine the extent of power and status of various groups of Americans, such as African-Americans, Native Americans, and immigrants throughout our history.

Slavery and Historiography

Lesson created by: Kim Bliss and Christine Pyle, grade level: 10-12
This lesson is intended to be the first in a series of three lessons that will address the "Filibuster of Race" by introducing the topic of historiography as it pertains to the slave trade.

The Labor Triangle: "Moors", Indians and White Indentured Servants in New England

Lesson created by: Jennifer Howland, grade level: 11
Students will contextualize a primary source letter, the geography of the Triangle Trade and understand the principle of dislocation as a form of control.

The Triangle Trade using Primary Documents

Lesson created by: Dorothy Morris-Ross, grade level: 11-12
Students will describe the interactions among Native Americans, Europeans and Africans in Colonial America.

Using Primary and Secondary Sources to Analyze "On Being Brought from Africa to America"

Lesson created by: Katie McGriff, grade level: 11ELA
Students will read and analyze Phillis Wheatley's poem "On Being Brought from Africa to America", first generating their own summary of the claim the poem makes, then analyzing 2-3 conflicting critical interpretations of the poem and finally writing their own.

Venture Smith

Lesson created by: Jeffrey Bourque and Jennifer Henley, grade level: 11
Students will read various articles about Smith as well as his own narrative. They will then have a discussion about the facts of his life and what can be inferred about it.

WebQuest African Americans in New England

Lesson created by: Linda Kleeman and Rose Ann Roberts, grade level: 9, 11
Students will read sections from an article and interact with primary source documents and then answer questions in WebQuest format.



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