Historical Context

Africans and African Americans were enslaved by mostly white people for more than two hundred years in the American colonies and United States. By the early 18th century, enslaved status was tied directly to skin color, and it was a lifetime condition. Some states began to outlaw slavery at the end of the 18th century, but it wasn't until the end of the Civil War and the passage of the 13th amendment that slavery was illegal across the country. Throughout the centuries of slavery, enslaved Africans and African Americans resisted in small and big ways, and free blacks were active leaders in the abolitionist movement.

Culturally Relevant Pedagogy Considerations

Something CRP master teacher Andrea Bell-Myers points out in Culturally Relevant Pedagogy with Primary Sources Video: Tenet 1 is that African American history does not start with slavery. There is a history before enslavement, in Africa, and throughout, African Americans are active historical agents rather than passive victims of circumstance. Reflect on what you expect students to get out of their examination of this set. How do you expect them to feel? Among those feelings, which feelings are those you want them to feel and which are those that you are uncomfortable with? How can you prepare both yourself and your students to have powerful conversations about the trauma of slavery and its impact on the United States in a way that provides students efficacy?

Classroom Ready Resources

Resisting Slavery and the Status Quo (High School)

$200 Reward.

Date: 1847
Creator: William Russell
Type: Broadside

Eliza and Lizzie, children of Dred Scott

Date: 1857
Creator: John H. Fitzgibbon
Type: Illustration

Portrait of Phillis Wheatley and title page of Wheatley, Poems on Various Subjects

Date: 1773
Creator: Unknown
Type: Book

Union with freemen — no union with slaveholders

Date: 1850
Creator: Unknown
Type: Broadside

Harriet Tubman, full-length portrait

Date: 1871-1876
Creator: Harvey B. Lindsley
Type: Photograph

Underground railroad map of the United States, ca.1838-1860

Date: 1941
Creator: Federal Writers’ Project
Type: Map

George Washington Papers, List of Taxed Lands, Slaves, other Possessions

Date: 1774
Creator: George Washington
Type: Manuscript

Receipt for sale of Jane, age 18

Date: 1849
Creator: Judge S. Williams
Type: Manuscript

Escaped slave Gordon, also known as “whipped Peter”

Date: 1863
Creator: McPherson & Oliver
Type: Photograph

The parting — buy us, too

Date: 1863
Creator: Henry Louis Stephens
Type: Illustration