Abolitionism: The Struggle For Freedom
Go Back
Theme: Examine the varying ideologies, sacrifices, and roles surrounding notable events that took place during the Abolitionist movement.
Title: Abolitionism: The Struggle For Freedom
Contributors: Eric Poto
Grade Level(s): [7] [8] [9]
Age Level(s):
Subject Areas: English Language Arts
History and Social Sciences
Unit Goals: Students will apply the basic principles of historical thinking by researching and weighing primary information sources and forming their own conclusions from those sources to:

1. Interpret the roles of Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison in their quest to end slavery.

2. Describe and analyze the effectiveness of the 54th Regiment and the impact of this on freed slaves and families.

3. Identify and describe the economies of Ancient Rome, the American South and the American North. Evaluate and analyze the effects of slavery on the American North, American South and Ancient Rome.

4. Understand what led abolitionists such as Harriet Tubman to risk their lives and freedom for others to taste freedom.

Links to District Curriculum: Content Outcomes:
SmartEDU, Inc. - TriTec, Inc. - CTI-RDB
  • Students understand the power of ideas behind important events. (History and Social Science)
  • Students recognize the importance of individual choices, action, and character. (History and Social Science)
  • Students understand how people in the past could believe themselves justified in excluding others from their community or privileges. (History and Social Science)
  • Students explain differences in the points of view in historical accounts of controversial events. (History and Social Science)
  • Students recognize relationships between primary and secondary sources, and the uses of each. (History and Social Science)
  • Students learn the nature of stereo- typing, commonly from racial, ethnic, religious identifications; they learn the reasons stereotypes are logically and factually mistaken, and the reasons stereotyping is morally wrong. They consider the capacity of determined individuals sometimes to achieve success even amidst adversity and in the face of unjust treatment. (History and Social Science)
  • Students understand the use of historical events as warnings to us, and the dangers of regarding them as lessons to copy as we confront our own problems. (History and Social Science)
  • Students name, define, and use correctly the common terms of economic life. (History and Social Science)
  • They identify the contributions of leaders and people who made a positive difference in the community, state, nation, or world. (History and Social Science)
  • Students recognize the importance of individual choices, action, and character. (History and Social Science)
  • Students understand how people in the past could believe themselves justified in excluding others from their community or privileges. (History and Social Science)
  • Students recognize relationships between primary and secondary sources, and the uses of each. (History and Social Science)
  • Drawing on studies in history, geography, and economics, students learn of religious, ethnic, gender, and class persecution, of individual and group achievements despite adversity, of unjust laws and their reform, and of patterns of emigration from other lands in search of liberty and equality. (History and Social Science)
  • Students trace the development of the idea of citizenship, with a focus on ancient Greece and Rome, and the American Revolutionary period, and the history of opposition to universal suffrage. (History and Social Science)
  • They identify the contributions of leaders and people who made a positive difference in the community, state, nation, or world. (History and Social Science)
  • Students understand past ideas as they were thought, and past events as they were lived, by people at different times and places. (History and Social Science)
  • Students name, define, and use correctly the common terms used to discuss a national economy, relating them to historical and contemporary events. (History and Social Science)
  • Students identify contributions of citizens and civic groups to public policy, legal reform, justice, and public safety. (History and Social Science)
  • 6.5 Interpret the meanings of artistic works based on evidence from artists’ biographies, autobiographies, or videotaped or written interviews. (Arts)
  • Use published sources, either traditional or electronic, to research a body of work or an artist, and present findings in written or oral form (Arts)
  • Compare examples of works from several arts domains within a period or culture and explain the extent to which each reflects function, customs, religious beliefs, social philosophies, aesthetic theories, economic conditions, and/or historical or political events (Arts)
  • Identify artists who have been involved in social and political movements, and describe the significance of selected works (Arts)
  • Identify the stylistic features of a given work and explain how they relate to aesthetic tradition and historical or cultural contexts (Arts)
  • Students will make connections between a text and a worked of art of another literary or historical work, and support their conclusions with evidence from the texts or from artistic works. (English Language Arts)
  • Students will write compositions, such as narratives, summaries, essays, letters, or directions, with a clear focus supported by logically related ideas and sufficient detail. (English Language Arts)
  • Students will use self-generated questions, notetaking, summarizing, precis writing, and outlining to organize information in preparation for writing. (English Language Arts)
  • Students will use agreed-upon rules for informal and formal discussions in small and large groups. (English Language Arts)
  • Students will pose questions, listen to the ideas of others, and contribute their own information or ideas in group discussions and interviews in order to acquire new knowledge. (English Language Arts)
  • Students will make oral presentations that demonstrate consideration of audience, purpose, and the information to be conveyed. (English Language Arts)
  • Students will understand and acquire new vocabulary and use it correctly in reading and writing. (English Language Arts)
  • Students will describe, analyze, and use appropriately formal and informal English. (English Language Arts)
  • Students will understand the nature of written English and the relationship of letters and spelling patterns to the sounds of speech. (English Language Arts)
  • Students will identify the basic facts and main ideas in a text and use them as the basis for interpretation. (English Language Arts)
  • Students will deepen their understanding of a literary or nonliterary work by relating to its contemporary context or historical background. (English Language Arts)
  • Students will identify, analyze, and apply knowledge of the characteristics of different genres. (English Language Arts)
  • Students will identify, analyze, and apply knowledge of theme in literature and provide evidence from the text to support their understanding. (English Language Arts)
  • Students will identify, analyze, and apply knowledge of the purpose, structure, and elements of nonfiction or informational materials and provide evidence from the text to support their understanding. (English Language Arts)
  • Students will identify, analyze, and apply knowledge of the themes, structure, and elements of poetry and provide evidence from the text to support their understanding. (English Language Arts)
  • Students will identify, analyze, and apply knowledge of the themes, structure, and elements of myths, traditional narratives, and classical literature and provide evidence from the text to support their understanding. (English Language Arts)
  • Students will identify, analyze, and apply knowledge of the themes, structure, and elements of drama and provide evidence from the text to support their understanding. (English Language Arts)
  • Students will plan and present dramatic readings, recitations, and performances that demonstrate appropriate consideration of audience and purpose. (English Language Arts)
  • Students will write with a clear focus, coherent organization, and sufficient detail. (English Language Arts)
  • Students will write for different audiences and purposes. (English Language Arts)
  • Students will use knowledge of standard English conventions in their writing, revising, and editing. (English Language Arts)
  • Students will organize ideas in writing in a way that makes sense for their purpose. (English Language Arts)
  • Students will gather information from a variety of sources, analyze and evaluate the quality of the information they obtain, and use it to answer their own questions. (English Language Arts)
  • Students will develop and use appropriate rhetorical, logical, stylistic criteria for assessing final versions of their compositions or research projects before presenting them to varied audiences. (English Language Arts)
  • Students will identify, analyze, and apply knowledge of the conventions, elements, and techniques of film, radio, video, television, multimedia productions, the Internet, and emerging technologies, and provide evidence from the works to support their understanding. (English Language Arts)
  • Students will design and create coherent media productions (audio, video, television, multimedia, Internet, and emerging technologies) with a clear controlling idea, adequate detail, and appropriate consideration of audience, purpose, and medium. (English Language Arts)

  • Technology Outcomes:
    SmartEDU, Inc. - TriTec, Inc. - CTI-RDB
  • Cite technology-based sources appropriately.
  • Adhere to the principles of copyright law when using technology. Demonstrate an understanding of the consequences of non-compliance with copyright law.
  • Use an electronic tool.
  • Use technology resources collaboratively.
  • Operate peripheral devices.
  • Use speech recognition for data input.
  • Use technology to assist in acquiring higher-order thinking skills.
  • Select appropriate software and hardware to collect, sort, analyze, and retrieve information over time for determining trends and patterns within data.
  • Utilize image processing, generation, and enhancement to manipulate and interpret visual data.
  • Organize thoughts with an outliner.
  • Use hyperlinks.
  • Use technology as a supplement to verbal and written presentations.
  • Connect sound devices.
  • Setup and position a microphone.
  • Use an electronic sound digitizer to record digitized sound.
  • Launch a web browser using an existing connection.
  • Perform a successful search using online search tools to find relevant Web sites for a given subject matter.
  • Upload, download, compress, and uncompress files.
  • Access telecommunications resources for immediate awareness of current events and perspectives from primary sources.
  • Use appropriate technologies to access, analyze, interpret, synthesize, apply, and communicate information related to an investigation.
  • Use electronic research tools to access information from electronic databases.
  • Seek information from diverse online resources.
  • Print from electronic encyclopedias and research.
  • Cite technology-based sources appropriately.
  • Navigate from one screen/page to another.
  • Read an Adobe Acrobat file.
  • Materials/Resources: 1. Primary source documents 2. Worksheets 3. Literature 4. Materials for picture book 5. Podcasting hardware/software 6. Props/costumes for play

    Timeframe: 30 (Hours)
    Student Foundational Skills: Experience working in cooperative groups. Researching skills. Writing skills. (persuasive, narrative) Understanding of debate format. Basic Internet skills.

    Learning Activities and Organizational Notes:
      Weeks 1-2
    Activity
    ABOLITIONISM DIVIDED

    Activity One:

    Discuss goals, tasks, activities. Students complete vocabulary worksheet individually.

    Activity Two:

    Students research William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass.

    Activity Three:

    Break class into small groups to research Douglass/Garrison. Students read and highlight important concepts. Small group discussion. Each group writes a paragraph and presents to the class.

    Activity Four:

    Students work in groups to read excerpts of Constitution.

    Activity Five:

    Answer questions based on 'The Account Book of Francis Jackson'

    Activity Six:

    Whole class discussion of various topics for debate. Divide class into two sections.

    Activity Seven:

    Students engage in debate.

    Organizational Notes
    Activity 1: Access to dictionaries, either online or class

    Activity 2: Graphic organizers

    Activity 4: Constitution reading form, US Constitution worksheet

    Activity 6: Discuss rules for debate, appoint a student moderator to run the debate.

      Weeks 2-4
    Activity
    PICTURE BOOKS AND PRIMARY SOURCES

    Activity One:

    Students learn differences between primary/secondary sources. Analysis of primary/secondary sources. Complete worksheets.

    Activity Two:

    Students critique sculpture by August Saint-Gaudens. Open Response Question worksheet.

    Activity Three:

    Students analyze broadside and subscription paper.

    Activity Four:

    Research members of the Massachusetts 54th Regiment. Document and Photo Analysis worksheets. Complete creative writing activity.

    Activity Five:

    Read/analyze 'For the Union Dead".

    Activity Six:

    Students produce PowerPoint slideshow based on the painting 'The Story of the Battle at Fort Wagner'. Document and Photo Analysis worksheets.

    Activity Seven:

    Students create picture book.

    Organizational Notes

      Weeks 5-6
    Activity
    ISSUES AND ARGUMENTS SURROUNDING SLAVERY

    Activity One:

    Assign students to groups. Students complete Economic System worksheet.

    Activity Two:

    Students research slavery in Ancient Rome and the American South. Slavery Question and Answer worksheet.

    Activity Three:

    Analyze the 'Liberator' newspaper. Newspaper worksheet.

    Activity Four:

    Group assumes role of a particular group. Understanding the Lives worksheet.

    Activity Five:

    Students produce podcast.

    Organizational Notes
    Activity 1: Economy worksheets can be reviewed by the entire class to identify differences between the American North, American South and Rome.

    Activity 5: Ensure podcasting technology is connected and operating correctly.

      Week 7
    Activity
    A LIGHT SHINES THROUGH THE DARKNESS

    Activity One:

    Students read background information about Harriet Tubman, William Still, the American Anti-Slavery Society, Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.

    Activity Two:

    Students examine Boston's role in the Abolitionist Movement.

    Activity Three:

    Perform play: 'When the Rattlesnake Sounds' Discuss characters/issues.

    Activity Four:

    Students view and analyze primary source documents.

    Activity Five:

    Students craft dialogue and perform scene.

    Organizational Notes
    Activity 2: Print article about William and Ellen Craft

    Activity 3: Make 'When the Rattlesnake Sounds' available to students.

    Activity 4: Have translations available for documents.

    Activity 5: Have props/costumes available.

    Assessments: See Student Rubric

    Teacher's Notes: ABOLITIONISM DIVIDED: Lessons, sources, activities, worksheets and assessments should be refined based on individual student needs.

    PICTURE BOOKS AND PRIMARY SOURCES: Contact the art and media specialists for support/assistance. This can be done as a cross-curricular unit involving art, social Studies and technology.

    ISSUES AND ARGUMENTS SURROUNDING SLAVERY: Test podcasting hardware/software.

    A LIGHT SHINES THROUGH THE DARKNESS: Follow-up activity: Contact the Museum of African American History to schedule a class field trip.