Thursday, November 5, 2015

Helping Students Learn about US Slavery in 1800s: Sixteen Websites

Slave Quarters Mount Vernon
Picture by Lance Mosier
With my students currently working on a self-paced lesson to learn about the institution of Slavery in the United States in the 1800's, I thought I would share some of the various resources I've collected over the years to help students further explore this topic. With recent news about textbooks and how they discuss slavery having other resources can be very helpful for teachers.

Do you have any favorite resources to help students gain a better understanding of this part of American History? I would love to hear about it in the comments section below.

Primary Sources

(1) The Atlantic Slave Trade and Slave Life in the Americas: A Visual Record  
(University of Virginia)
Good resource for images for students to use in projects or find images for students to analyze as a primary source. Use these suggestions from the Library of Congress.

(2) North Carolina Runaway Slave Advertisements, 1751 - 1840
List of advertisements of runaway slaves. Have students look at these advertisements to examine how slaves were described by their owners and what that says about their attitudes towards their slaves. 

(3) Faces and Voices from the Days of Slavery (The Library of Congress)
This is a great resource of interviews that were conducted in the 1930's of former slaves. Lots of first hand accounts of what slavery was like for those who lived it. I have taken segments from these lengthy narratives to help student's discuss various aspects of slavery.

(4) Unknown No Longer: A Database of Virginia Slave Names
This is a searchable database to look for names of slaves in Virginia. This is a great way for students to see the real names of those slaves who were impacted by Slavery and the documents of where these names are found.

Secondary Sources (Information) 

(5) Slavery and the Making of America (PBS)
This is a really great resource for students to learn many different aspects of slave life. There are already segments from the Faces & Voices of Slavery interviews for student to use. I also really like their Year In the Life interactive to look at how plantation life looked through the year. There are lots of topics to explore and the information is very user friendly.

(6) Landscape of Slavery: Mulberry Row at Monticello
This is a terrific online exhibit from Monticello. The 3-D modeling in the section View Places of the various buildings on the Plantation is a neat interactive exhibit. I personally like the 3-D rendering of a Slave Quarters r, s, t. There is also some great biography information at Meet the People where you can learn about the 88 people who lived and worked on the plantation of Thomas Jefferson.

(7) Many Rivers To Cross Documentary (PBS)
This was a great documentary that aired on PBS back in 2013.  The 100 Amazing Facts Archives have a lot of great captivating stories to share with students.

(8) The Domestic Slave Trade (New York Public Library);jsessionid=f8301464751414432809901?migration=3&bhcp=1
This is a very comprehensive list of maps, texts, and images to help students learn about the Second Middle Passage where slaves moved from the Upper South to the Lower South.

(9) Photos That Bear Witness to Modern Slavery (TED Talk Lisa Kristine)
Many students don't realize that slavery still exists today. This is a great TED Talk that looks at Modern Day Slavery.

Interactive Games/Simulations:

(10) The Atlantic Slave Trade in 2 Minutes (Animated Map)
This is a very powerful map to show how many Africans were forcibly removed to the New World.

(11) 1853 Richmond and its Slave Market (A 3-D Map)
This is a very cool 3-D Map of Richmond that shows many of the important buildings that played a role in the slave market there.

(12) Make Your Own Secret Quilt Message
Slaves found many ways to resist their captivity. This interactive lets students use hidden messages in quilt patterns.

(13) Following the Footsteps: A Maryland Runaway Slave
This is a very simple Choose Your Own Adventure time simulation that lets student's make choices on how difficult running away was.

(14) Underground Railroad: Journey to Freedom
This has grown into one of my favorite games for students to learn about the Underground Railroad. The video quality and game play is outstanding. Students will learn a lot about what it took to runway.

(15) Mission 2: Flight to Freedom (Mission US)
I love the Mission US Games. This is another great game where you are a young slave girl in Kentucky and you have to make choices to find your way to freedom.

(16) SlaveryFoot Print
If you are discussing modern slavery, this is an interesting simulation to see how the items we buy might be connected to slave labor. What is your slavery footprint?

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