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.