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Using Primary Sources in the Classroom:
Slavery Unit

Introduction to the Slavery Unit:

 

No subject in the American past has incited greater discussion and inflamed more controversy than slavery. From the arrival of the first Africans at Jamestown in 1619, through the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, to contemporary historical debates, the presence and enslavement of Africans has been defended, attacked and analyzed. It was primarily the issue of slavery that thrust the nation into an agonizing and costly Civil War more than a century ago and the impact of the experience of slavery is still reverberating through Black and White America today. For people living in the last half of the twentieth century, it is difficult to comprehend exactly what slavery must have meant to white and black people over a hundred years ago.

 

What was slavery like? The answer to that depends on your point of view. There were good masters and bad ones; there were compliant slaves and reluctant ones; there were some slaves who were cherished as friends and members of the family and others who were considered simply possessions. The lessons in this unit view slavery from the perspective of the former slave, the fomer slaveholder, and from the legal perspective. The documents in this unit, while generated in Alabama, are universal in providing some understanding of slavery.

 

Go to Lesson 1: Slave Code of 1833


Go to Lesson 2: Point of View: Accounts of Former Slaves


Go to Lesson 3: Point of View: Accounts of Former Slaveholders

 

Updated: March 3, 2010

http://www.archives.alabama.gov/teacher/slavery/slave1.html