Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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3. Utopian Promise   

7. Slavery and

•  Unit Overview
•  Using the Video
•  Authors
•  Timeline
•  Activities
- Overview Questions
- Video
- Author
- Context
- Creative Response
- PBL Projects

Activities: Creative Response

  1. Poet's Corner: Listen to and read the lyrics of several slave spirituals. Using your knowledge of African American "call and response" lyric patterns and techniques of improvisation, compose a new verse or new lyrics to one of the songs. Your version need not be about the African American slave experience, though it can be. How does your improvisation change the meaning and effect of the song?

  2. Journal: Examine the advertisements for slave sales featured in the archive. Pay attention to the descriptions of the specific people offered for sale, especially their ages, occupations, relationships to one another, and prices. Compose a short journal entry or narrative about one of the people sold at these auctions, imagining their feelings about being separated from their families and purchased as property.

  3. Journal: Imagine that you are a participant in the riot Lorenzo Asisara describes at the Santa Cruz Mission in defiance of Padre Olbes. Compose an account of the riot, expanding on Asisara's narrative. What motivated you and your compatriots to revolt? What did you hope to achieve through insurrection?

  4. Doing History: Look at the watercolor painting The Old Plantation (c. 1800) featured in the archive. This painting was found in South Carolina without any records to clearly establish its artist, date of composition, or even its subject. Based on your knowledge of African American slave culture, what do you think is happening in this painting? What was the artist trying to depict? Who do you think the artist might have been? Why did he or she paint this picture?

  5. Multimedia: Imagine that you have been asked to speak at an abolitionist meeting in 1860 to raise public awareness about the devastating effects of slavery and to enlist others in the abolitionist movement. Even though it is 1860, you somehow have access to the American Passages archive and slide-show software, which is certain to dazzle your audience. Create a multimedia presentation that supports your argument for emancipation. Include captions that explain and interpret the images you choose within the context of your argument.

Slideshow Tool
This tool builds multimedia presentations for classrooms or assignments. Go

An online collection of 3000 artifacts for classroom use. Go

Download PDF
Download the Instructor Guide PDF for this Unit. Go


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