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Study America Saturday ~ Slavery

Dawson is studying the period just prior to the Civil War, when Slavery was at it's height.

We have been reading Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Dawson has done some activities about Harriet Tubman and The Underground Railroad at the Scholastic site. And he wrote a Character Sketch about Harriet Tubman.

He watched the History Channel video "Underground Railroad" hosted by Alfre Woodard. I thought this was an excellent video because it covered all aspects of slavery that we were studying in more detail, even the true story of Eliza as told in Uncle Tom's Cabin.

We read Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, his personal account of slavery, and did some literary studies on it. You can read the entire book by clicking on the link.

We finished our study this week by watching the entire mini-series Roots. I can remember watching that with my dad when I was a kid. It was a good end to our study. Dawson said, "Watching this makes me ashamed to be a white American."

Obviously, this is a study for the older student. We have not held back in the graphic details of the plight of American Slaves. It is such an important part of our history that needs to be understood. I would suspect that in the public schools this topic is merely mentioned in the study of American History because of the African Americans that attend the schools. It's a sensitive subject. Probably the key people are taught but the specifics glossed over. That, to me, is a travesty to both the white and black students. Don't you think? I think, as Americans, we like to pretend that it wasn't a big deal. But, oh my, it was a big deal. It's still a big deal.

It has set the stage for the Civil War that we will study after Christmas break.


  1. I am bookmarking this post for when we get to this period. You have outlined some wonderful resources.

  2. Hmmmmmm........... I'm thinking over your theory. I don't know if it's 'cause I'm in a Southern state or what, but it didn't feel like the plight of the slaves was glossed over really here. That or I had good teachers. I actually have a weird viewpoint in that I HATE black history month. It drives me nuts to take random instances out of context of history and teach them. I'd much rather teach it IN CONTEXT so they can see why that person was so heroic or what made it amazing they did those things.

    Okay, off my soap box. That being said, I need to find a copy of Roots to see. I've heard so many great things about it. During our state studies I've found so many awesome books about Underground Railroad. Those have been really interesting.

  3. I truly agree with your angle on this. I will share that I believe that it is glossed over because of the sensitivity and the lies that will be discovered in regards to the how slavery was established here in America. Black History Month has been made more of an advertisement then what it was fought for by generations of African Americans. In the history books that were at least 200 pages in the classroom, the history of African Americans maybe were covered in two pages. It was intended to "make" schools teach history about all of the children in the classroom.African American children diversities weren't being celebrated,or discussed. African American history is bigger than Martin Luther King Jr. Unfortunately the educational system has laughed at this month and still only teaches about him and maybe Frederick Douglass if you are in a "good" school. Sorry about my rambling. But the truth be told we wouldn't need any months dedicated to any one culture if everyone taught their students the way that you do! Thank you for sharing.


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