The activities of a literate slave named Gabriel in Richmond, Virginia, present a final critical view of Jeffersonian America. At the same time Gabriel also shows how fully African Americans embraced central currents of American politics and culture. Gabriel remains a difficult figure to fully reconstruct from surviving historical evidence. In fact, his last name is not definitively known, though he is usually referred to as Gabriel Prosser, after the name of the man who owned him.
Once the colonization effort was defeated, free African-Americans in the North became more active in the fight against slavery. They worked with white abolitionists like William Lloyd Garrison and Wendell Phillips to spread the word. They developed publications and contributed money. Many, such as Robert Purvis, dedicated their lives to freeing individual slaves from bondage. Although many pledged their lives to the cause, three African-American abolitionists surpassed others in impact. They were David Walker, Frederick Douglass, and Sojourner Truth.
The Watts urban uprising, part of what was often called "the long, hot summer," had actually begun in 1964. When a white policeman in Harlem shot a black youth in July 1964, a similar disturbance flared (though on a lesser scale than the Watt's riots.) Rochester, Jersey City, and Philadelphia exploded as well. From 1964 to 1966, outbreaks of violence rippled across many other northern urban areas, including Detroit, where 43 people were killed.
Even before the Mayflower touched ground off Cape Cod, African Americans were living in British North America. Although slavery itself was not foreign to West Africans, the brutal nature of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and the nature of colonial slavery was without parallel in African history. Millions of people deemed savages by their new "masters" were uprooted from their ways of life and forced to adopt new ones. Europeans and even some Africans would participate in the slave trade that brought millions of Africans to the New World. African slave traders would ruthlessly bring their captives from the interior of the continent where they would await the business transaction that would take them thousands of miles from their homeland.
Africans were the immigrants to the British New World that had no choice in their destinations or destinies. The first African Americans that arrived in Jamestown in 1619 on a Dutch trading ship were not slaves, nor were they free. They served time as indentured servants until their obligations were complete. Although these lucky individuals lived out the remainder of their lives as free men, the passing decades would make this a rarity. Despite the complete lack of a slave tradition in mother England, slavery gradually replaced indentured servitude as the chief means for plantation labor in the Old South.
When Crispus Attucks earned his unfortunate claim to fame as a victim in the Boston Massacre, he was not a slave. He was one of the relatively few African Americans to achieve freedom in colonial America. Although freedom is clearly desirable in comparison to a life in chains, free African Americans were unfortunately rarely treated with the same respect of their white counterparts.
Slaves did not accept their fate without protest. Many instances of rebellion were known to Americans, even in colonial times. These rebellions were not confined to the South. In fact, one of the earliest examples of a slave uprising was in 1712 in Manhattan. As African Americans in the colonies grew greater and greater in number, there was a justifiable paranoia on the part of the white settlers that a violent rebellion could occur in one's own neighborhood. It was this fear of rebellion that led each colony to pass a series of laws restricting slaves' behaviors. The laws were known as slave codes.
When immigrants reach a new land, their old ways die hard. This has been the case with most immigrant groups to the New World. The language, customs, values, religious beliefs, and artistic forms they bring across the Atlantic are reshaped by the new realities of America and, in turn, add to its fabric. The rich traditions of Africa combined with the British colonial experience created a new ethnicity the African American.
The documents included in this lesson come from The North Carolina Experience collection of Documenting the American South and specifically focus on African Americans and race relations in the early 20th century. The lesson juxtaposes accounts that relate to both the positive improvements of black society and arguments against advancement. Combined, these primary sources and the accompanying lesson plan could be used as a Document Based Question (DBQ) in an advanced US history or African American history course.
- U.S. History
- Ethnic Studies
- Material Type:
- Lesson Plan
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education
- Provider Set:
- LEARN NC Lesson Plans
- Meghan Mcglinn
- Date Added:
The purpose of this course is to examine the African American experience in the United States from 1863 to the present. Prominent themes include the end of the Civil War and the beginning of Reconstruction; African Americans' urbanization experiences; the development of the modern civil rights movement and its aftermath; and the thought and leadership of Booker T. Washington, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, W.E.B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King Jr., and Malcolm X. WARNING: Some of the lectures in this course contain graphic content and/or adult language that some users may find disturbing.
This collection uses primary sources to explore the experiences of African American Soldiers in World War I. Digital Public Library of America Primary Source Sets are designed to help students develop their critical thinking skills and draw diverse material from libraries, archives, and museums across the United States. Each set includes an overview, ten to fifteen primary sources, links to related resources, and a teaching guide. These sets were created and reviewed by the teachers on the DPLA's Education Advisory Committee.
In this lesson students learn about the Reconstruction Amendments (13th, 14th and 15th) that abolished slavery, guaranteed African American citizenship and secured men the right to vote.
This website is devoted to exploring American fascination with Egypt and its history. Primary Source documents can be found by browsing the Historical Sources page or by searching through the advanced search page. Secondary literature that addresses topics such as art & architecture, history, literature, religion, and science can be browsed through the scholarship page. The web resources page contains a list of helpful websites related to the topics of the site and the search page is an advanced search that allows users to search for specific items and articles.
This collection uses primary sources to explore the Black Power Movement. Digital Public Library of America Primary Source Sets are designed to help students develop their critical thinking skills and draw diverse material from libraries, archives, and museums across the United States. Each set includes an overview, ten to fifteen primary sources, links to related resources, and a teaching guide. These sets were created and reviewed by the teachers on the DPLA's Education Advisory Committee.
This collection uses primary sources to explore school desegregation in Boston. Digital Public Library of America Primary Source Sets are designed to help students develop their critical thinking skills and draw diverse material from libraries, archives, and museums across the United States. Each set includes an overview, ten to fifteen primary sources, links to related resources, and a teaching guide. These sets were created and reviewed by the teachers on the DPLA's Education Advisory Committee.
The collection of documents brought together in this project begins to tell the story of the growth of Protestant religion among African Americans during the nineteenth century, and of the birth of what came to be known as the "Black Church" in the United States. This development continues to have enormous political, spiritual, and economic consequences. But perhaps what is most apparent in these texts is the diversity of ways in which that religious tradition was envisioned, experienced, and implemented. From the white Baptist and Methodist missionaries sent to convert enslaved Africans, to the earliest pioneers of the independent black denominations, to black missionaries in Africa, to the eloquent rhetoric of W.E.B. DuBois, the story of the black church is a tale of variety and struggle in the midst of constant racism and oppression. It is also a story of constant change, and of the coincidence of cultural cohesion among enslaved Africans and the introduction of Protestant evangelicalism to their communities.
This curriculum consists of five modules in PowerPoint format designed to be used by instructors in class sessions or assigned to students as web-based independent learning. Instructors may use and revise the presentations for their needs. Each module contains slides with narrative information and links to additional readings and relevant websites and will take 1-2 hours for students to complete. Modules typically include factual or reflection questions. Module I informs students about the history and current status of the issue of overrepresentation of African Americans in child welfare. Module II centers on theories to explain overrepresentation and explains the background, methods, results, and recommendations from a recent CalSWEC-funded study on worker factors in overrepresentation. Module III focuses on African American family strengths, values, and norms. It includes an important reading on strengths-based practice with African American families, links to websites that are African American-centered, and ends with linking students to the Harvard University site to take the Implicit Associations Test. Module IV focuses on cultural competency and antiracism theory and reflective exercises. Module V contains abbreviated material from each of the four preceding modules. Smith, L. A., & Shon, H. (2010).
Students will analyze and compare census data on the education levels of African-Americans in 1850 and in 1880. Students will also discuss how historical events can affect data.
As part of their study of Richard WrightŐs "Black Boy", students research and reflect on the current black-white racial divide in America. By examining the work of literature in the context of contemporary events, students will deepen their understanding of the work and of what it means to be an American today.