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Toolbox Library, primary resources thematically organized with notes and discussion questionsOnline Seminars, professional development seminars for history and literature teachersThe Making of African American Identity: Volume I, 1500-1865
The Making of African American Identity: Volume I, 1500-1865
Theme: FreedomTheme: EnslavementTheme: CommunityTheme: IdentityTheme: Emancipation
Emancipation Menu

EMANCIPATION




Two unidentified African American soldiers, between 1860-1870

Framing Questions
  •  How did enslaved African Americans envision and pursue freedom?
  •  How did free African Americans participate in anti-slavery campaigns and in individual slaves' efforts to be free?
  •  How did these efforts set the stage for African Americans as a free people after the Civil War?


1.  Buying Freedom» Text Links / Note / Discussion Questions

- Venture Smith buys his freedom, 1760
- Elizabeth Keckley buys her freedom, 1855
- "I paid an enormous sum for my freedom," selections from 18th-19th  c. slave narratives

2.  Death as Freedom» Text Links / Note / Discussion Questions

- "Grave . . . the only refuge for the slave," poem by George Moses Horton, 1828
- Suicide as freedom, narrative and newspaper selections, 19th-20th c.

3.  Abolition» Text Links / Note / Discussion Questions

- On the abolition circuit, selections from black activists' accounts, 1840s
- Facts for the People of the Free States, pamphlet of an anti-slavery society, 1847
- The Anti-Slavery Harp, songs for anti-slavery meetings compiled by William Wells Brown, 1848

4.  Liberia» Text Links / Note / Discussion Questions

- Letters from Peyton Skipwith, 1834-1846, selections
- Letters from Samson Ceasar and the former slaves of J. H. Terrell, 1834-1835, 1857-1866
- Daguerreotypes of Liberian leaders by Augustus Washington, ca. 1857

5.  Civil War I: Slaves» Text Links / Note / Discussion Questions

- "We knew it was our right to be free": narrative of Louis Hughes, 1897, excerpts
- "I 'member well when the war was on": selections from WPA narratives, 1930s
- Photographs of African Americans during the Civil War, Library of Congress

6.  Civil War II: Soldiers» Text Links / Note / Discussion Questions

- Slaves in blue and grey, selections from the WPA narratives, 1930s
- Union sergeant, letter of Lewis Douglass, 1863
- Wounded Union private, letters of Spotswood Rice, 1864
- Mother of a Union soldier letter to President Lincoln, 1863
- Teenaged Confederate aide, narrative of Jacob Stroyer, 1898, Ch. 3
- Portrait photographs 1861-1865

7.  Emancipation, 1864-1865» Text Links / Note / Discussion Questions

- "We was free. Just like that, we was free": selections from the WPA narratives, 1930s
- "It is my desire to be free," a slave's letter to Lincoln, 1864
- "The slave can now apply the lash," freedmen's retaliation, Virginia, 1864
- "American citizens of African descent," freemen's petition, Tennessee, 1865

8.  The Institution» Text Links / Note / Discussion Questions

- "What do I think of slavery?," selections from the WPA narratives, 1930



Image: Photograph (tintype) captioned "Two brothers in arms," between 1860 and 1870. LOC note: "Two unidentified African American soldiers, full-length portrait, wearing uniforms, seated with arms around each other's shoulders, facing front." Courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Gladstone Collection.




EMANCIPATION
1. Buying Freedom   2. Death as Freedom   3. Abolition
  4. Liberia   5. Civil War I: Slaves   6. Civil War II: Soldiers
  7. Emancipation, 1864-1865   8. The Institution








TOOLBOX: The Making of African American Identity: Volume I, 1500-1865
Freedom | Enslavement | Community | Identity | Emancipation


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