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Runaway Journeys
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Lesson Plans For Runaway Journeys
City Upon a Hill Lesson Plan: Urban Centers and African-American Migrants
Grade levels: High school, grades 9-12
Concentration area: History, Social Studies : Sociology
The narratives Runaway Journeys; The Great Migration; and The Western Migration discuss how urban areas have been a magnet for African-American migrants. ”City Upon a Hill” is a lesson plan that may be used in history or sociology classes. Students will examine the factors that spurred people of the nineteenth century to urbanize, and why many considered the city an attractive place to migrate. These factors include Victorian ideas of civility; economic factors like jobs; social factors such as aid societies and churches that provided support systems for fugitive slaves and other migrants; and the advantage of anonymity in large crowds.
Seeking Liberty Lesson Plan: Runaways' Emigration out of the United States
Grade levels: Target grade levels: High school, grades 9-12
Concentration area: History : U.S. Government
The narrative, Runaway Journeys, particularly the segments "Going South and West," "Up North," and "Canada, the Promised Land," reminds students that the reach of U.S. law stops at the nation's border. Canada, Mexico, England, Spain, and Caribbean nations (independent or colonial) had different laws about slavery than the United States. As a follow up to reading this narrative, the "Seeking Liberty" lesson plan is designed to allow students in social studies classes (history, government, international studies) to examine other nation's laws relative to slavery, immigration, citizenship, and racial discrimination for the period 1808-1865. "Escape to Cities and Towns," discusses how urban areas have been magnets for African-American migrants.
Trusting Statistics Lesson Plan
Grade levels: Middle and high school, grades 6-12
Concentration area: Social Studies : Economics
"The consequences of Migration" section of the Runaway Journeys narrative suggests that many of the official reports were not entirely on target. Students will conduct a survey of their choosing to gain a set of statistics. After they are done, they will proceed to question their statistics: What sorts of circumstances would make a person not answer truthfully? What would keep the statistics from being accurate? In "Consequences of the Migration," statistics that were reported were not necessarily true.
Forest Joe Lesson Plan: Outlaw or Hero?
Grade levels: Middle and high school, grades 8-12
Concentration area: History
In the narrative Runaway Journeys Forest Joe was one of many fugitive slaves who became leader of a band that chose to live in the wild forests of the South. This description sounds similar to the legend of Robin Hood. Yet, the legend of Robin Hood has gained much more fame and notoriety than the legend of Forest Joe. Students will research Forest Joe, and compare the spread of his legend to that of similar legends from different ethnic groups.
Geography and Runaway Journeys Lesson Plan: The Great Dismal Swamp
Grade levels: Middle school, grades 6-10
Concentration area: History, Geography
The Great Dismal Swamp, composed of 111,000 acres, lies in the South between North Carolina and Virginia. It is a place steeped in history, legend, and lore. How then, in the middle of the era of slavery, could it become the hidden home to several thousand fugitive slaves as explained in the narrative Runaway Journeys? Through research into the geography of swamps and the Great Dismal Swamp in particular, as well as primary accounts and period literature, students will learn how these communities flourished.
Living on the Fringe Lesson Plan: Maroon Communities
Grade levels: High school students, grades 9-12
Concentration area: History
The narrative Runaway Journeys includes a section, "Maroon Communities," that touches on the experiences of fugitives collected in remote areas. "Living on the Fringe: Maroon Communities" is a lesson that may be used as a follow up to reading the narrative.
Many Reasons To Leave Lesson Plan
Grade levels: High school students, grades 9-12
Concentration area: History
In the narrative Runaway Journeys, the section "Many Reasons to Leave" reveals that enslaved African Americans not only headed north in search of freedom, but they also left to local places for other reasons, such as visiting family and loved ones, and conducting business. Using the "Many Reasons to Leave" lesson, teachers will lead students to consider where this information fits into their preconceived notions of runaways by having students read a variety of personal slave narratives from the Library of Congress to supplement the content of the narrative.
Mapping the Many Underground Railroads Lesson Plan
Grade levels: Middle school, grades 6-8
Concentration area: Geography
The narrative Runaway Journeys, describes the experiences of many fugitive slaves and the extent of the Underground Railroad. "Mapping the Many Underground Railroads" is a lesson plan that helps visual learners comprehend the challenges faced by fugitives escaping to freedom on the Underground Railroad. It may be used with or as follow-up to reading the narrative. Students then plot the migration route of one of the individuals named in the narrative and add it to a map of the United States in 1850; the overlays of the entire class or grade level would create a mosaic representing the regions into which the migrations of fugitive slaves occurred and enable students to discern general trends.
Eyewitness to History Lesson Plan: Fugitive Slave Narratives
Grade levels: Middle school, grades 6-8
Concentration area: Language Arts, Geography
The narrative, Runaway Journeys, names two of the best known and readily available narratives written by fugitive slaves: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass and Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Linda Brent/Harriet Jacobs. "Eyewitness to History: Fugitive Slave Narratives" is a lesson plan that may be used in History or Language Arts classes in conjunction with or as a follow-up to reading the narrative. Students will read two slave narratives, taking notes on their migration to freedom on a Venn Diagram (so that similarities and differences emerge) and on a map (to compare and contrast the distances, geographical barriers, and population centers that each fugitive encountered).
Runaway Journeys Migration Lesson Plan
Grade levels: Middle and high school, grades 9-12
Concentration area: History : U.S. Government
This lesson is designed for students to use with the narrative Runaway Journeys. Students also will use the site's maps and image resources in rounding out their study of this migration. Appropriate for middle school and high school students, the lesson's goal is to facilitate students' understanding of this migration.
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