4th Grade NYS and Slavery Inquiry: How did New Yorkers challenge slavery?

April Francis

Editor’s Note: This is the third day of a multi-day lesson in a three-lesson sequence designed for fourth grade on slavery and New York developed by April Francis for the Putnam | Northern Westchester BOCES Integrated Social Studies/ELA
Curriculum.

Aim: How did New Yorkers challenge slavery? NYS Social Studies Framework: 4.5a: There were slaves in New York State. People worked to fight against slavery and for change; Students will investigate people who took action to abolish slavery, including Samuel Cornish, Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, and Harriet Tubman.

Social Studies Practices: Gathering, Interpreting, and Using Evidence; Comparison and Contextualization; Geographic Reasoning; Economics and Economic Systems; Civic Participation

Next Gen. ELA Standards:
o 4R6: In informational texts, compare and contrast a primary and secondary source on the same event or topic. (RI);
o 4R8: Explain how claims in a text are supported by relevant reasons and evidence.
(RI&RL)
o 4W5: Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to respond and support
analysis, reflection, and research by applying grade 4 reading standards.
o 4SL4: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace and volume appropriate for audience.

Learning Objectives: Identify Harriet Tubman, William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, The Jerry Rescue, African Free School, and the AntiSlavery Society. Define resist and resistance.

Analyze the Underground Railroad system.
Decipher and understand various primary and secondary sources. Develop individual and group presentation skills. Evaluate which form of resistance was most successful in ending slavery in NYS.

Materials:
Video: Harriet Tubman (4:48 minutes) https://www.youtube.com/watchv=Dv7YhVKFqbQ&feature=youtu.be
o Source 1. Harriet Tubman biography
o Source 2. NYS Map of the Underground Railroad
o Source 3a & 3b. African Free School
o Source 4. Frederick Douglass & The North Star
o Source 5. Anti-Slavery Society
o Source 6. The “Jerry Rescue” Syracuse, NY

Additional Activities:
http://www.nygeo.org/ugrrlessons.html (NYS Underground RR Regional Geography Lesson)
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWVr57o_ElU
(animated video about Harriet Tubman’s life, 25 minutes)

Formative Task: Students will serve experts on one form of resistance used against slavery and present it as a group to the whole class.

Lesson Narrative & Procedure: In this lesson, students will be introduced to the term “resistance” and analyze various methods New Yorkers used to fight against the system of slavery. Students will be introduced to famous abolitionists such as Harriet
Tubman, Frederick Douglass, and William Lloyd Garrison. Through video analysis, students will understand how the secret Underground Railroad system was used to help enslaved people escape to freedom. To synthesize their learning, students will
be asked to summarize the methods some New Yorkers used to resist the slave system.

Preparation for Day 1: Make copies of “Source 1: Harriet Tubman biography” and the “Circle Map” worksheet. Queue video: Harriet Tubman (4:48 minutes)

Day 1 Engage (10 minutes): The teacher should introduce the supporting question “How did some New Yorkers resist the slavery system?” by having a student read it aloud to the class. The teacher should ask students if they know what the term “resist” means. After students respond, the teacher should give an example of “resisting” and then share a definition of the term. Once students have a
foundation of the term “resist” the teacher should ask students, “Based on what we have learned, why do you think some New Yorkers would want to resist the slave system?” Students should respond with examples from the previous lessons.

Explore (20 minutes): The teacher should distribute Source 1: Harriet Tubman Biography.
Ask students what they know about Harriet Tubman. Students will share various answers. After students respond, the teacher can share they will participate in the read aloud. During the read aloud, students can annotate the reading. Additionally, the teacher can choose to play the animated video Harriet Tubman as a support to the reading (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWVr57o_ElU ).

Once students have finished the reading (and/or video), students share main ideas on their circle map, that answer the questions:
a. How did Harriet Tubman resist the slave system?
b. How did she help others?

Ask, “What can this biography inform us about Harriet Tubman’s character? Do you know of anyone today that would be similar to Harriet Tubman in character?

Explain (10 minutes): After discussing Harriet Tubman, the teacher can ask students, “Based on your own knowledge and our reading today, what do you know about the Underground Railroad?”
Students can share various answers. The teacher can then state, “New York State played a vital role in the Underground Railroad. Let’s investigate how the Underground Railroad worked in helping people resist the slave system.”


Elaborate (15 minutes): The teacher will have students work in pairs on the “Underground Railroad” packet. The student worksheet is located on the last page of the packet.
Once students have completed the packet, the teacher can participate in a whole class review. The teacher should ensure to ask follow-up or clarifying questions when needed based on student responses.

Evaluate (10 minutes)

  1. After review, the teacher should distribute the Exit Ticket- Day 1 to each student, asking them to respond to the question prompt: Do you think you would have been able to escape using the Underground Railroad? Explain.
    a. An alternative activity to the “exit ticket” is
    creating a Padlet board online for student responses.

    Day 2 Preparation: Print Sources 2-6 and create “Stations” for student groups. Make copies of the “Resisting Slavery” Graphic Organizer Chart.

Engage (15 minutes): The teacher should reintroduce the supporting question “How did some New Yorkers resist the slavery system?” and have students complete a brainstorm of their understanding of yesterday’s lesson using the “3-2-1” method:
a) 3 things they learned from yesterday’s lesson.
b) 2 things they found interesting.
c) 1 question they still have?

After reviewing using the 3-2-1 method, the teacher can have students analyze Sources 2-6, in a group format.

The teacher can state:
a. “Today we are going to analyze other ways people in New York resisted the slave system in the 1800s. We will be working in cooperative teams, using your “Resistance of Slavery in New York” chart to record your findings. Each team will be assigned one document to analyze, and then they will report on this document to the class.

i. Station 1. Source 2. NYS Map of UGRR (printed in color or viewed on a smartboard)

ii. Station 2. Source 3a & 3b. African Free School

iii. Station 3. Source 4. Frederick Douglass & The North Star

iv. Station 4. Source 5a & 5b. Anti-Slavery Society

v. Station 5. Source 6. The “Jerry Rescue” Syracuse, NY

Note: Teachers should use their knowledge of their students and assign the documents based on student levels. Documents can also be modified to meet
specific needs of individual classrooms.

Explore & Explain (15 minutes). Students should analyze the document they were assigned for their group. As a group, they should fill out their portion of the Graphic Organizer – Resisting Slavery and then decide how they will present this information
to the rest of the class.

Elaborate (15 minutes). After student analysis, each team should share their “expert” knowledge of the source they were assigned in a presentation format. Students can use the Source Analysis Guide-Historical Thinking Chart adapted from the Stanford Historical Education Group (SHEG) to help develop their presentation. For each group presentation, the teacher should project the source onto the Smartboard so it is visible for all students. While one group is sharing, all members should be recording key points onto their individual “Resisting Slavery” graphic organizers.

Evaluate (10 minutes). After group presentations, the teacher can distribute the Exit Ticket- Day 2 and state, “Slavery was finally banned in New York State in 1827, ‘Which method of resistance do you think was most successful in ending slavery in New York State? Why?’”

Source 1. Harriet Tubman (1820-1913) [http://www.harriet-tubman.org/house/]

Harriet Tubman’s home in Auburn, NY
Portrait of Harriet Tubman

Background:
(A) Harriet Tubman was born a slave. Her parents named her Araminta “Minty” Ross. She changed her name in 1849 when she escaped. She adopted the name Harriet after her mother and the last name Tubman after her husband. Tubman
suffered a head injury as a teenager which gave her…sleeping spells. She was deeply religious and according to her it was her religious beliefs that gave her courage rescue friends and family over and over again. She remained illiterate [unable to read or write] for her entire life.

(B) Harriet Tubman was the most famous conductor of the Underground Railroad. In a decade she guided over 300 slaves to freedom; abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison thought she deserved the nickname “Moses”. She worked hard to save money to return and save more slaves. In time she built a reputation and many Underground Railroad supporters provided her with funds and shelter to support her trips.

(C) During the Civil War, Tubman served as a nurse, cook, laundress, spy and scout. After the Emancipation Proclamation she returned to Auburn where she lived the rest of her life. She opened her doors to those in need. With donations and the money from her vegetable garden she was able to support herself and those she helped. She raised money to open schools for African Americans and gave speeches on Women’s rights. Her dream was to build a home for the elderly and in 1908 the Harriet Tubman Home for the Elderly was created.

Source 2. Underground Railroad Routes in New York State
The Underground Railroad was a connection of people helping enslaved people escape from slavery in the early and mid19th century. It included free blacks, whites, church people, and abolitionists. Enslaved Africans traveled to freedom by any means available, using homes as stops, songs, and secret codes. This map shows escape routes used by runaways when traveling through New York State.

Map Key: Blue Line- Hudson/Mohawk Route
Green Line- Susquehanna/ Finger Lakes Route
Red Line- Lake Erie/Niagara Route
Purple Line- Hudson/ Champlain Route
Source: Timothy McDonnell www.nygeo.org

Source 3a. New York African Free School
Right after the American Revolution, the New York Manumission Society was created. It worked to end the slave trade around the world and to achieve the abolition of slavery in the new county. It established the African Free School in
New York City, the first education organization for Black Americans in North America. It served both free blacks and the children of enslaved
people.


Source 3b. African Free School Student Award for Edward T. Haines
Source: https://www.nyhistory.org/web/africanfreeschool
Edward T. Haines proudly displays his handwriting skill and his title as assistant
monitor general, a position that carried significant responsibilities. The 1820 U.S.
census lists an African American ‘Hains’ family with a boy Edward’s age living in
New York City’s Fifth Ward, a west-side neighborhood south of Canal Street that was
the home of many free people of color in New York City.

Edward Haines Handwriting Skill

Source 4. Frederick Douglass & The North Star Publication
Source: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/frederick-douglass

Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) was an American orator, editor, author, abolitionist and escaped slave.
The most famous black abolitionist was Frederick Douglass, an escaped slave. He used his skills to speak in the northern
states against slavery. He also helped slaves escape to the North while working with the Underground Railroad. He established the abolitionist paper The North Star on December 3, 1847, in Rochester, NY.

Source 5a – Anti-Slavery Society
William Lloyd Garrison was born December 10, 1805 in Newburyport, Massachusetts. In 1830 he started an abolitionist paper, The Liberator. In 1832 he helped form the New England Anti-Slavery Society When the Civil War broke out, he continued to speak against the Constitution as a pro-slavery document. When the
civil war ended, he at last saw the abolition of slavery. He died May 24, 1879 in New York City. Source: www.biography.com

Source 5b – Anti-Slavery Society
Gerrit Smith founded the New York State Anti-slavery Society in Peterboro, New York in 1835.

Source 6. “The Jerry Rescue” Central New York 1851
Source: https://freethought-trail.org/trail-map/location:jerry- rescue-monument/

This monument, added to Clinton Square, Syracuse, NY in 2001, celebrates the October 1, 1851, rescue of William “Jerry” Henry, an escaped slave from Missouri. Henry had been arrested in Syracuse and since he was an escaped slave; law officers were eager to follow the Fugitive Slave Act and wanted to return him to Missouri. The Fugitive Slave Act was a United States law that said runaways, even in free states, had to be returned to their masters. Henry was arrested the same day an abolitionist meeting was taking place in the city. A large group of fifty-two men stormed a police station, pounded on down its doors, and rescued “Jerry” Henry. Within a few days, “Jerry” escaped to freedom in Kingston, Ontario. The “Jerry Rescue” itself was organized by area abolitionist leaders.

How did some New Yorkers resist the slave system?
Directions: Use this chart to organize your information for each document.

The Underground Railroad was a network of secret routes and safe houses established in the United States during the early to mid-19th century and used by African American enslaved people to escape into free states, Canada and
Nova Scotia with the aid of abolitionists and allies who were sympathetic to their cause. It is believed that around 100,000 runaways between 1810 and 1860 escaped using the network. The majority of the runaways came from the upper south states that bordered free states such as Kentucky, Virginia, and Maryland.

The Underground Railroad was not located underground, and it was not a railroad. It was symbolically underground as the network’s activities were secret and illegal, so they had to remain “underground” to help fugitive slaves stay out of sight.
The term “railroad” was used because the railroad was a system of transportation and its supporters used railroad code to communicate in secret language. Runaways used songs called spirituals to communicate with each other. Homes where fugitives (runaways) would stay and eat were called “stations” or “depots” the owner of the house was the “station master” and the “conductor” was the person responsible to move slaves from station to station. Those financing the Underground Railroad by donating money, food, and clothing were called “stockholders”.

Stephen and Harriet Myers House, Albany, NY
Elias Hicks, UGRR Station Master in Jericho

Codes and Songs of the Underground Railroad
Supporters of the Underground Railroad used words railroad conductors employed every day to create their own code as secret language in order to help slaves escape. Below are a sample of some of the words used:

Songs were used in everyday life by enslaved African Americans. Singing was a tradition brought from Africa by the first enslaved people; sometimes their songs are called spirituals. Singing served many purposes such as providing a rhythm for manual work, inspiration and motivation. Singing was also used to express their values and solidarity with each other and during celebrations. Songs were used as tools to remember and communicate since the majority of enslaved African Americans could not read.
Harriet Tubman and others used songs as a strategy to communicate their struggle for freedom. Coded songs contained words giving directions on how to escape also known as signal songs or where to meet known as map songs.

Source: http://www.harriet-tubman.org/songs-of-the-underground-railroad/
“Follow the Drinking Gourd” Source: https://www.nps.gov/articles/drinkinggourd.htm
Listen here: http://pathways.thinkport.org/secrets/gourd2.cfm

When the Sun comes back And the first quail calls Follow the Drinking Gourd.
For the old man is a-waiting for to carry you to freedom if you follow the Drinking Gourd.
The riverbank makes a very good road. The dead trees will show you the way.
Left foot, peg foot, traveling on, Follow the Drinking Gourd.
The river ends between two hills Follow the Drinking Gourd.
For the old man is a-waiting for to carry you to freedom if you follow the Drinking Gourd.

This song suggests escaping in the spring as the days get longer. The drinking gourd is a water dipper which is a code name for the constellation Big Dipper which points to the Pole Star towards the north. Moss grows on the north side of dead trees, so if the Big Dipper is not visible, dead trees will guide them north.

Questions

  1. Why do you think it was known as the Underground Railroad??
  2. Why do you think runaways were called fugitives?
  3. What role did songs play in the Underground Railroad?
  4. What are some of the symbols in the song and what do they refer to?

Activism in New York

Megan Bernth

The Museum of the City of New York has an exhibit exploring social activist movements beginning in the 17th Century through the many movements of the present day. These movements and events are portrayed using artifacts, photographs, and audio and video presentations. This use of multiple sources brings the exhibit to life. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the exhibition is the interactive component, where users can select which different forms of activism they would like to learn more about using a tablet, such as immigration, labor conflicts, or gender inequality. This then takes them through the personal stories and accounts of various protests today. The important role social media plays in activism today is of particular interest as there is a screen displaying posts which use the #ActivistNewYork to show individual’s stories. This stresses the importance of people within these movements, which can be seen time and time again throughout the display where the many ways ordinary New Yorkers have affected and continue to shape their city. As you walk the room where the exhibit is located each movement is given a mural like space where its story and history is told. The sections go in chronological order and as you progress through the room you are moving from the past to the present. The fluidity and the connectedness of the exhibition make it easy to see and develop a greater understanding of the many ways these events and groups were connected.

The accompanying book, Activist New York, progresses in a similar manner. It is split into six sections: Colonial and Revolutionary New York, from 1624 to 1783, Seaport City from 1783 to 1865, Gilded Age to Progressive Era, from 1865 to 1918, Midcentury Metropolis, from 1918 to 1960, The Sixties in New York, from 1960 to 1973, and finally, Urban Crisis and Revival, from 1973 to 2011. These six sections are then further divided into chapters, each focusing on a different form of activism and with an additional segment or two on another influential topic from the corresponding time period. For example, the chapter focusing on Puerto Rican activism has an accompanying segment on Black Power and Asian American Activism. These mini-sections help to provide a more complete context for the time period as well as the main chapters events. Of additional importance with the book is its detailed endnotes, credits and further readings sections as all three provide the reader with a greater understanding of the information as well as the opportunity to dive deeper into the history.

One of the most important and significant aspects of both the exhibition and its companion book is its in depth coverage of history through the lenses of the minority perspective. Rather than simply telling the events with the accounts of those who history is traditionally written, namely the white male Europeans, this collection drives to incorporate less heard, but no less importance, voices. From Clara Lemlich, a young Jewish immigrant involved in the Labor Movement, to Emma Goldman, a young Russian Jewish immigrant who spoke to thousands in a protest in Union Square, to David Ruggles, a free black man who helped free hundreds of African Americans prior to the end of slavery. These perspectives are not ones we often get to hear and their inclusion in these works has a lasting impact on anyone who reads the book or sees the exhibit.

The supplemental activity sheets focus on ten forms of activism explored in the exhibition and the book. Beginning with abolition in the 1800s, students will examine the story of Elizabeth Jennings, who like Rosa Parks a century later, refused to give up her seat simply because she was black. The influence of anarchists within New York City is examined using a speech from Ms. Goldman, an anarchist propaganda poster, a photograph of the immigrant living conditions during this time and the New York State Criminal Anarchy Law. The Labor Movement is assessed using a speech by Ms. Lemlich, a political cartoon on the relationship between labor unions and employers. Women’s Suffrage offers the 19th Amendment, an article by Harriet Stanton Blatch explaining her reasons for being a suffragist, and an advertisement from Margaret Sanger for her first clinic. Other sections focus on Civil Rights, Gay pride activists, and student activism.

Activist New York and the Abolitionist Movement

Directions: Read the background information on the Abolitionist Movement in New York City. Analyze and review the documents, then answer the questions that follow.

Background: Though slaves had been freed in New York State by 1827, the African Americans who remained in the City were often met with outright hostility and racism. They were forced out work by white immigrants, prevented from attending schools, and often were denied access to public transportation and places. The State Constitution of 1821, only allowed Black men who owned $250 worth of property to vote, effectively preventing the majority of Black men from doing so. While, slavery was still legal elsewhere in the country, and many New Yorkers still supported it, not all its residents believed in it. David Ruggles, a Black man born to free parents in Connecticut, actively worked to help African Americans escape slavery in New York City.

Document A: The American Anti-Slavery Almanac

Doc B: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass (1845)

After my arrival at New York, I said I felt like one who had escaped a den of hungry lions. This state of mind, however, very soon subsided; and I was again seized with a feeling of great insecurity and loneliness. I was yet liable to be taken back, and subjected to all the tortures of slavery… Thank Heaven, I remained but a short time in this distressed situation. I was relieved from it by the humane hand of Mr. David Ruggles, whose vigilance, kindness, and perseverance, I shall never forget… I had been in New York but a few day, when Mr. Ruggles sought me out, and very kindly took me to his boarding-house… Very soon after I went to Mr. Ruggles, he wished to know of men where I wanted to go; as he deemed it unsafe for me to remain in New York.

Doc C: New York Tribune article by Horace Greeley (February 1855)

She (Elizabeth Jennings) got upon one of the Company’s cars last summer, on the Sabbath, to ride to church. The conductor undertook to get her off, first alleging the car was full; when that was shown to be false, he pretended the other passengers were displeased at her presence; but [when] she insisted on her rights, he took hold of her by force to expel her. She resisted. The conductor got her down on the platform, jammed her bonnet, soiled her dress and injured her person. Quite a crowd gathered, but she effectually resisted. Finally, after the car had gone on further, with the aid of a policeman they succeed in removing her.

Doc D: Brooklyn Circuit Court Judge William Rockwell in response to Jennings’s incident, 1855

Colored persons if sober, well behaved and free from disease, had the same rights as others and could neither be excluded by any rules of the Company, nor by force or violence. –

Questions

  1. What message do you think the artist is conveying in Document A?
  2. In Doc. B, how did Mr. Ruggles help Frederick Douglass?
  3. Predict why you have not learned about Mr. Ruggles but have learned about Douglass.
  4. From Doc. C, what happened to Elizabeth Jennings? Why?
  5. Does her story remind you of anything? If so, what?
  6. Using Doc. D, what did the Judge decide in response to the Jenning’s incident?
  7. Is this significant? Why or why not?
  • What do these four documents and the background information tell you about life in New York City for African Americans?

Activist Harlem

Directions: Read the background information on Activist Harlem in New York City.  Analyze and review the documents, then answer the questions that follow.

Background: During World War I, black workers began migrating to urban cities for the factory jobs created by the war.  This was met by resistance from whites who feared unemployment and the loss of their homogenous society.  From 1910 to 1930, the number of African Americans living in New York City increased from 91,709 to 327,700, when it became the city with the most blacks worldwide.  The majority of the African Americans flocked to Harlem, which quickly became central for African American issues.  Many who lived there dedicated their lives to improving the conditions of blacks throughout the country.  This movement later became known as the Harlem Renaissance, where the image of the “New Negro” was formed.

Doc A: National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Annual Report (1917)

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People seeks to uplift the colored men and women of this country by securing to them the full enjoyment of their rights as citizens, justice in all courts, and equality of opportunity everywhere… It believes in the upholding of the Constitution of the United States and its amendments, in the spirit of Abraham Lincoln.  It upholds the doctrine of “all men up and no man down.”  It abhors Negro crimes but still more the conditions which breed crime, and most of all crimes committed by mobs in the mockery of the law, or by individuals in the name of the law.

Doc B: Marcus Garvey, Explanation of the Objects of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (1921)

Fellow citizens of Africa, I greet you in the name of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA).  You may ask, “what organizations is that?”  It is for me to inform you that the UNIA is an organization that seeks to unite, into one solid body, the four hundred million Negroes in the world.  To link up the fifty million Negros in the United States of America, with the twenty million Negroes of the West Indies, the forty million Negroes of South and Central American, with the two hundred and eight million Negros of Africa, for the purpose of bettering our industrial, commercial, educational, social, and political conditions… We of the UNIA are raising the cry of “Africa for the Africans,” those at home and those abroad.

Doc C: 125th Street in Harlem

Questions

  1. What initially caused African Americans to move to cities?
  2. What importance did Harlem hold for African Americans during the 1900’s?
  3. What was the main goal of the NAACP from Document A?
  4. Why is Abraham Lincoln mentioned in Document A?
  5. What is the main goal of the UNIA in Document B?
  6. What does “Africa for the Africans” mean?
  7. How are the messages of Document A and Document B similar?  How are they different?
  8. Based on the documents and your previous knowledge, which group was more successful, the NAACP or the UNIA?
  9. Describe the picture in Document C.  Use at least five details in your response.
  10. Predict why the people are gathered in the photo.

Activism in New York: Anarchists

Directions: Read the background information on anarchism in New York City.  Analyze and review the documents, then answer the questions that follow.

Background: In 19th Century Europe, in response to the social unrest caused by the Industrial Revolution, anarchism emerged.  Its core belief was that only when workers rose up against their government and abolished it completely, could they escape their lives of poverty.  In its place they wanted to create a free and classless society.  They were often in conflict with socialists, as they are argued a government run by the working class needed to come before a classless society, though both leftist groups shared the same enemy in capitalism.  Both anarchists and socialists within New York City were either immigrants from Europe or their children, many of whom left Europe because of their radical views.  The poor living and working conditions for immigrants convinced many of them that a revolution was needed in New York City as well.

Doc A:  Emma Goldman, a young Russian Jewish immigrant, speaking to crowd at Union Square (August 21, 1893)

“Men and women, do you not realize that the State is the worst enemy you have?  It is a machine that crushes you in order to maintain the ruling class, your masters… Fifth Avenue is laid in gold, every mansion a citadel (fortress) of money and power.  Yet there you stand, a giant, starved and fettered (restrained), shorn of his strength… They will go on robbing you… unless you wake up, unless you become daring enough to demand your rights.  Well, then, demonstrate before the palaces of the rich; demand work.  If they do not give you work, demand bread.  If they deny you both, take bread.  It is your sacred right!”

Document B:

Doc C:  New York Criminal Anarchy Law of 1902

Sec. 160. Criminal Anarchy Defined. Criminal anarchy is the doctrine that organized government should be overthrown by force or violence, or by assassination of the executive head or of any of the executive officials of government, or by an unlawful means.  The advocacy of such doctrine either by word of mouth or writing is a felony.

Questions

  1. What is anarchism?
  2. Who were the anarchists in New York City?
  3. In Doc. A, who is Emma Goldman?  Is this significant?  Why or why not?
  4. In Doc. A, what rights does Emma Goldman say the people are being denied?  What does she say they should do?
  5. Describe the poster in Doc. B.  List at least five details.
  6. What message do you think the author is trying to convey in Doc. B?
  7. What is does the law in Doc. C do?
  8. Why is this significant?  What does it tell you about the government during this time?

Activism in New York: Gay Rights

Directions: Read the background information on gay rights in New York City.  Analyze and review the documents, then answer the questions that follow.

Background: On June 28, 1969, police officers raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in Greenwich Village.  The Inn’s selling of alcohol without a liquor license was the official reason behind the raid, but the patrons of the club believed the real motivation was their sexual orientation.  In response to the raid a riot broke out, and for the next four nights similar protests took place.  “Stonewall” electrified the gay and lesbian communities of New York and marked a turning point in the gay rights campaign.  Prior to this gay people lived in fear of their secret coming out, as they often faced harassment, violence and even job loss when they came out.  Various gay and lesbian organizations were established to further the gay rights cause; often using Martin Luther King Jr.’s civil rights movement as a guide, though some used more radical means.

Doc A: 3 Deviates Invite Exclusion by Bars – But They Visit Four Before Being Refused Service, in a Test of State Liquor Authority (S.L.A.) Rules – By Thomas A. Johnson, The New York Times (April 22, 1966)

  Three homosexuals, intent upon challenging State Liquor Authority regulations cited by some bartenders in refusing to sell liquor to sexual deviates, met with some difficulty yesterday finding a bar that would
deny them service.  The three, who were officials of the Mattachine Society, a group dedicated to the improvement of the status of
homosexuals, found their first testing establishment closed.  Then they
found willing service in two other places, even after advising the
managers that they were homosexuals.  But, in their fourth call, when
they told the bartender they were homosexuals, he refused to serve them… Informed of the incident, the S.L.A.’s chief executive officer said that regulations leave service to the discretion of the management and that
they do not discriminate against homosexuals.  He said, however, that
bartenders had the right to refuse service if a customer is not orderly…

Doc B: 4 Policemen Hurt in ‘Village’ Raid – Melee (Riot) Near Sheridan Square Follows Action at Bar – The New York Times (June 29, 1969)

Hundreds of young men went on a rampage in Greenwich Village
shortly after 3 AM yesterday after a force of plainclothes men raided a
bar that the police said was well-known for its homosexual clientele. 
Thirteen persons were arrested and four policemen injured.  The young men threw bricks, bottles, garbage, pennies and a parking meter at the
policemen, who had a search warrant authorizing them in investigate
reports that liquor was sold illegally at the bar, the Stonewall Inn, just off Sheridan Square.  Deputy Inspector Pine said that a large crowd formed
in the square after being evicted from the bar.  Police reinforcements
were sent to the area to hold off the crowd….  The police estimated that
200 young men had been expelled from the bar.  The crowd grew close to 400 during the melee, which lasted about 45 minutes. … The raid was one of the three held on Village bars in the last two weeks.  Charges against
the 13 who were arrested ranged from harassment and resisting arrest to disorderly conduct.

Doc C: Christopher Street Rally

Document D:

Questions

  1. What was Stonewall?  What impact did it have on New York City’s gay community?
  2. What is the Mattachine Society from Doc. A?
  3. Why were the men refused service in Doc. A?
  4. Why did the men go on a “rampage” in Doc. B?
  5. Do you think this is a biased account of the event in Doc. B?  Why or why not?
  6. How are gay men portrayed in the newspaper articles from Doc. A and Doc. B?
  7. How would you describe the people in the picture from Doc. C?
  8. The picture in Doc. C is from the first Gay Pride Parade in New York City, why do you think 1970 was the first year?
  9. Describe the poster from Doc. D. What do you think the artist is trying to convey?

Activism in New York: Labor Movement

Directions: Read the background information on the Labor Movement in New York City.  Analyze and review the documents, then answer the questions that follow.

Background: Garment production was the largest manufacturing business in New York City by the early 1900’s and it was fueled by the city’s immigrant population. The work was typically characterized by unsafe and unclean conditions, low pay, long hours and abusive bosses.  Workers wanted to create unions to combat these poor working conditions, but employers were resistant to them.  Despite this, unions were formed by the 19th Century.  With the relative success of the “Uprising of 20,000,” a garment worker’s strike in 1909, the city’s labor movement exploded.  Within the next four years, labor unions increased from 30,000 to 250,000.

Doc A : Clara Lemlich, a 23-year-old immigrant garment worker speaking in Yiddish from stage in Manhattan (November 22, 1909)

“I am a working girl.  One of those who are on strike against intolerable conditions.  I am tired of listening to speakers who talk in general terms.  What we are here for is to decide whether we shall strike or shall not strike.  I offer a resolution that a general strike be declared now.  If I turn traitor to the cause I now pledge, may this hand wither from the arm I
now raise.” –  

Document B:

Doc C: Public Indifference Held Responsible – Voters Should Demand Better Fire Protection, Says Dr. Anna Shaw at Protest Meeting.  “DOLLARS AGAINST A LIFE” The New York Times (April 1, 1911)

A mass meeting of protest at the conditions which made possible the Washington Place fire disaster a week ago today was held at Cooper Union last night… Stretched where everyone could see was a flaring banner which bore the legend:

Nov. 26 – Twenty-five women killed in Newark factory fire.  March 25- One hundred and thirty women killed in Triangle fire.  Locked doors, overcrowding, inadequate fire escapes.  The women could not, the voters did not, alter these conditions.  We demand for all women the right to protect themselves – … “Well it all comes right down to dollars and cents against a life,” Fire Chief Croker was quoted as saying, “that is the bottom of the entire thing. Mr. Owner will come and say to the Fire Department: ‘If you compel us to do this or that we will have to close up the factory; we cannot afford to do it.’ It comes right down to dollars and cents against human lives no matter which way you look at it.”

Questions

  1. How is factory work described during the early 1900s?
  2. Why were unions created?  Why did employers not want unions?
  3. In Doc. A, to what cause does Clara Lemlich pledge?
  4. What do you notice about the description of Clara Lemlich?  Why is this significant?
  5. Describe the political cartoon in Doc. B.  Provide at least five details.
  6. What message do you think the artist is trying to convey in Doc. B?
  7. What happened in the Washington Place fire from Doc. C?
  8. Who is blamed for the fire?

Activism in New York: Women’s Suffrage

Directions: Read the background information on the Women’s Suffrage Campaign in New York City.  Analyze and review the documents, then answer the questions that follow.

Background: Beginning in the 1860s, New York City became the center for Women’s Suffrage.  Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, two of the movement’s most prominent leaders, took up residence in the city during this time.  Later in the 19th Century, it became the center for the “New Woman,” a popular phrase used to describe the young middle and upper-class women who began attending college and later obtained careers; something previously denied to their mothers.  This newfound education and career achievements led many women to believe they were entitled to vote and become more politically active.  In the early 1900s the National American Woman Suffrage Association moved its headquarters to New York City as well.

Doc A: Opinions of Prominent Women – Leaders in the Movement Tell Why They are in Favor of Equal Rights– The New York Times (February 21, 1909)

Mrs. Harriot Stanton Blatch. – Why am I a suffragist? Because women
are living under the conditions of the twentieth century.  When they
were spinning or weaving, teaching and nursing in their own homes,
with no examining boards, factory inspectors, or school officers to
interfere, a male aristocracy was not so unjust a political system as it is
today.  Women lived then in a sort of republic of their own making.  But with health boards after us, our children snatched from our proverbial
knee by compulsory school laws, and every means of creating wealth
stolen from the chimney corner, and placed in the business world,
women’s concerns have become the State’s concerns…Men cannot feel
the new needs of women, and therefore cannot safely assume to be their political sponsors. 

Document B:

Doc C: 19th Amendment: Women’s Right to Vote (1920)

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Document D:

Questions

  1. What was the “New Woman?”
  2. Why do you think New York City was the home of the Women’s Suffrage Movement?
  3. In Doc. A, why is Ms. Blatch a suffragist?
  4. Why are women’s concerns now the State’s concerns from Doc. A?
  5. Where are the women from Doc. B protesting?  Why there?
  6. Do you think the location of the picture had more of an impact than protests elsewhere?  Why or why not?
  7. What does the 19th Amendment from Doc. C guarantee?
  8. Are you surprised by the year?  Why or why not?
  9. What three languages is the poster from Doc. D written is?  Why?
  10. The poster from Doc. D was created by Margaret Sanger.  What is she discussing?  What does this have to do with Women’s Suffrage?

Activism in New York: Occupy Wall Street

Directions: Read the background information on Occupy Wall Street.  Analyze and review the documents, then answer the questions that follow.

Background: The Depression of 2008 was set off by many of the world’s richest banks selling billions of dollars in risky investments, including home mortgages which had been sold to Americans.  Borrowers were unable to pay back their loans and the impact from their defaults was felt throughout the economy.  This resulted in the near collapse, or collapse, of many of the U.S.’s financial institutions, the freezing of credit and economic problems throughout the world.  The economic conditions were eventually stabilized, but trillions of dollars were needed to “bail out” the banks.  Unemployment continued to rise, thousands lost their homes, but bank executives continued to profit.  Wall Street, New York, had been seen as the financial capital of America since the 1830’s, and as such it became the center of the protests in 2011.

Doc A: Declaration of the Occupation of New York City (September 29, 2011)

As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together.  We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know what we are your allies.  As one people, united, we acknowledge the
reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption
of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their rights and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power
from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth
from the people on the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable
when the process is determined by economic power.  We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest
over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments.  We
have peaceable assembled here, as is our right to let these facts be
known. They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosures
process, despite not having the original mortgage. They have taken
bailouts from taxpayers with impunity (freedom), continue to give
Executives exorbitant (excessive) bonuses. They have held students
hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right…  

Document B:

Doc C: A Day of Protests as Occupy Movement Marks Two-Month Milestone by Katharine Q. Seelye – The New York Times (November 17, 2011)   Protesters across the country demonstrated en masse Thursday, snarling rush-hour traffic in several major cities and taking aim at banks as part of the national “day of action” to mark the two-month milestone of the Occupy Wall Street movement.  While thousands of protestors clogged the streets in New York and more than 175 people were arrested in clashes with the police, demonstrators elsewhere in the country were largely peaceful… Union workers, students, unemployed people and local residents joined the crowds in many cities, adding to a core of Occupy protesters… Activists decried banking practices, called for more jobs and demanded a narrowing of the divide between the richest 1 percent of the population and the other 99 percent. 

Document D:

Questions

  1. Why was Wall Street chosen as the location for the protest?
  2. What economic conditions lead to the Occupy Wall Street Movement?
  3. In Doc. A, what does the Declaration cite as the facts for the Occupation?
  4. Does the document in Doc. A resemble any other document you have read?
  5. Describe the picture in Doc B.  Use at least five details in your response.
  6. Why does the sign say 99% in Doc. B?
  7. From Doc. C, who joined the protest?  Why do you think these groups of people joined?
  8. What does the New York Times say the activists want in Doc. C?
  9. Describe the political cartoon in Doc. D.  Use at least five details in your response.
  10. What message do you think the artist is trying to convey in Doc. D?

Activism in New York: New Housing Activists

Directions: Read the background information on new housing activists in New York City.  Analyze and review the documents, then answer the questions that follow.

Background: During the late 1960’s and 1970’s dozens of community organizations were created to combat the “urban crisis.”  Entire neighborhoods were near collapse in the face of crime, drug addiction, unemployment and housing abandonment which had been going on for years.  The thousands of African Americans and Puerto Ricans who had moved to New York after World War II, were caught between two government programs.  The first, “redlining,” kept them from borrowing money to upgrade or buy homes in either their area or middle-class areas as banks viewed them as a risk to residential security.  The second, was Urban Renewal, where powerful people used federal funds to construct new highways, art centers and apartment complexes without care of the existing neighborhoods.  The people who were crowded out by these new buildings were not given adequate housing and thus were forced into the slums.  When the city government ran out of money in 1975, the poorest areas were virtually abandoned.  In response, the residents of these areas banded together to save their areas.

Document A:

Document A: Bronx Housing Devastation Found Slowing Substantially by David W. Dunlap – The New York Times (March 22, 1982)   New York City officials and neighborhood activists say they are witnessing a marked slowing of the wholesale devastation that plagued the Bronx in the 1970’s.  The burning and abandonment that cut a wide swath from south to north through the borough have not stopped.  But the neighborhoods that are now on the northern edges of the devastated areas show new signs of stability, officials say.  Among the encouraging factors, they say, are that hundreds of buildings are being rehabilitated, that private money has been successfully enlist in the effort and that tenants and whole communities have organized to fight on behalf of their buildings and neighborhoods… If this stability – reflected by inhabitants clinging more tenaciously to their buildings and neighborhoods – continues, the officials said, it may be due to the simple economic fact that many residents have no choice but to stay put. 

Questions

  1. What was the “urban crisis?”
  2. What was the government response to the crisis?  What was the residents’ response?
  3. Describe the picture.  Use at least five details in your response.
  4. What reasons does the author provide for the slowing down of the “devastation” of the Bronx?
  5. Why does the author of Doc. D say, “the residents have no choice but to stay put?”
  6. What changes does the author see in the Bronx?

Activism in New York: Protests Today

Directions: Read the background information on protests today in New York City.  Analyze and review the documents, then answer the questions that follow.

Background: After the 2011 Occupy Wall Street protest, activism has continued to play an important role in New York City.  These protests have taken on new strategies, namely social media, in addition to the familiar ones used throughout New York’s history.  Many issues have centered around race, from the Black Lives Matter protest to “Stop and Frisk,” and the statue debate.  The successful push for same-sex marriage in 2015, advocating for AIDS, the protection of undocumented immigrants and the Women’s March are additional examples from recent years, all showing New York City’s lasting impact for activists and change throughout time.

Doc A: New Yorkers Rediscover Activism in the Trump Presidency Era by Gina Bellfante – The New York Times (January 20, 2017): The “movement,” of course is Trump resistance, which is essentially a movement against everything – the potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act, climate-change denial, the omnibus threats to the pursuit of equality (racial, economic, gender), a general erosion of civility, modesty, nuance, logic.  How to counter it all?  Even if the answer to that question is still taking shape, the intensity to fight back, made evident in part by the Women’s March on Washington taking place on Saturday, is producing what will probably turn out to be one of the most fertile periods of activism on the left in decades.  Right now, in New York City, it is possible to join in an act of opposition to the New World Order nearly every day… The new wave of activism taking hold in New York and perhaps around the country owes a debt to the Occupy Wall Street movement even as its success continues to be debated… It created a foundation upon which politicians and causes have flourished, and build, and demanded power.  And power, in the words of Frederick Douglass, concedes nothing without a demand.

Document B:

Document C:

Doc D: “Why Demonstrating is Good for Kids,” by Lisa Damour – The
New York Times (March 12, 2018) Participating in political activism may be good for our teenagers, according to a new research report.  The
study, published in January in the journal of Child Development, found
that late adolescents and young adults who voted, volunteered or
engaged in activism ultimately went further in school and had higher
incomes than those who did not mobilize for political or social change… Of course, correlation does not prove causation, but the study makes a
case for the benefits of civic engagement… The study’s lead author said
that “having meaningful opportunities to volunteer or be involved in
activism may change how young people think about themselves or their possibilities for the future.”  The research is especially timely as
American students consider whether to participate in the National
School Walkout.

Questions

  1. What are three recent protests in New York City?
  2. Would you participate in any forms of activism?  Why or why not?
  3. Why do you think New York City continues to be central for many protests?

Teaching about Slavery in the Fifth Grade

Alan Singer
Hofstra University

United States history is usually taught in fifth grade. One of the more difficult topics to teach with sensitivity and critically is about the enslavement of African Americans in British North America and the United States. Elementary school teachers that I work with often have only a superficial knowledge of history at best, particularly topics like slavery, which means that if they decide to teach about it they are drawn to packaged lessons. Many are afraid to even touch the topic because of news stories about teachers challenged by parents and administrators, and even removed, because of inappropriate lessons.

In response, I developed a series of full class and group based lessons. While I think it is important to help students understand the horror and injustice of enslavement, they also need to learn how people, both Black and white, risked their lives in the struggle to end it. A focus on abolitionists also addresses other key social studies goals including understanding what it means to be an active citizen in a democratic society and writing more women into the history curriculum.

I use a close reading and textual analysis of three songs from slavery days, “All the Pretty Little Horses,” “Go Down Moses,” and “Follow the Drinking Gourd”, to introduce three major themes. “All the Pretty Little Horses”is the story of a mother separated from her child and is about the sorry and injustice of being enslaved. “Go Down Moses” is a religious allegory, nominally about the enslavement of Israelites in Egypt, but really about the desire of enslaved Africans for freedom. “Follow the Drinking Gourd” tells the story of the Underground Railroad as a pathway to freedom. Versions of the songs are available on Youtube. I recommend Odetta singing “All the Pretty Little Horses,” Paul Robeson singing “Go Down Moses,” and Richie Havens’ version of “Follow the Drinking Gourd.”

Virginia Hamilton’s story “The People Could Fly” lends itself to reenactment as a play. It introduces slavery as an oppressive work system, explores the horrors of enslavement, and shows the resistance to bondage. Based on a traditional folktale, it ends with enslaved Africans on a cotton plantation in the South rediscovering the magic of flight to escape enslavement and return to Africa. I have performed this play successfully with students in grades 5 to 8. Some classes have opened and closed with performances of African dance.

The package “Abolitionists who fought to end slavery” opens with a full class lesson on abolitionists. It includes an early photograph that records an anti-slavery meeting in August 1850 in Cazenovia, New York. The meeting was called to protest against a proposed new federal Fugitive Slave law. Participants in the meeting included Frederick Douglass. The lesson includes a map of Underground Railroad routes through the New Jersey and New York. It concludes with instructions for the “Abolitionist Project.” Each team studies about one of ten leading abolitionists who fought against slavery. They produce a PowerPoint with between five and ten slides about their abolitionist’s life and achievements; create a tee-shirt, poster, or three-dimensional display featuring the life of their abolitionist; and write a poem, letter, skit, rap, or song about their abolitionist. The team’s PowerPoint and creative activities are presented to the class.

Traditional African American Songs from the Era of Slavery

A) All the Pretty Little Horses – The key to understanding this lullaby is that there are two babies.

Hush-a-bye, don’t you cry, go to sleep my little baby,

When you wake, you shall have, all the pretty little horses,

Blacks and bays, dapples and grays, all the pretty little horses.

Way down yonder, in the meadow, lies my poor little lambie,

With bees and butterflies peckin’ out its eyes,

The poor little things crying Mammy.

Questions

  1. Who are the two babies in this lullaby? Which baby is the woman singing to?
  2. Why do you think the woman was assigned to care for this baby?
  3. What does this song tell us about the experience of enslaved Africans?

B) Go Down, Moses – This song is an African American version of Exodus from the Old Testament.

When Israel was in Egypt land, Let my people go.

Oppressed so hard they could not stand, Let my people go.

Chorus- Go down, Moses, Way down in Egypt land. Tell old Pharaoh to let my people go.

“Thus spoke the Lord,” bold Moses said, Let my people go.

“If not, I’ll smite your first-born dead.” Let my people go.

Chorus- Go down, Moses, Way down in Egypt land. Tell old Pharaoh to let my people go.

Old Pharaoh said he’d go across, Let my people go.

But Pharaoh and his host were lost, Let my people go.

Chorus- Go down, Moses, Way down in Egypt land. Tell old Pharaoh to let my people go.

No more shall they in bondage toil, Let my people go.

They shall go forth with Egypt’s spoil, Let my people go.

Chorus- Go down, Moses, Way down in Egypt land. Tell old Pharaoh to let my people go.

Questions

  1. What does Moses say to Pharaoh?
  2. Why do you think enslaved African Americans sang a song about ancient Israelites?
  3. What does this song tell us about the experience of enslaved Africans?

C) Follow the Drinking Gourd– This song is supposed to contain an oral map of the Underground Railroad. The “drinking gourd” is the star constellation known as the Big Dipper.

When the sun comes up and the first quail calls, follow the drinking gourd,

For the old man is awaiting for to carry you to freedom, if you follow the drinking gourd.

Chorus- Follow the drinking gourd, follow the drinking gourd,

For the old man is awaiting for to carry you to freedom, if you follow the drinking gourd.

The river bank will make a mighty good road, the dead trees will show you the way,

Left foot, peg foot, travelin’ on, follow the drinking gourd.

Chorus- Follow the drinking gourd, follow the drinking gourd,

For the old man is awaiting for to carry you to freedom, if you follow the drinking gourd.

The river ends between two hills, follow the drinking gourd,

There’s another river on the other side, follow the drinking gourd.

Chorus- Follow the drinking gourd, follow the drinking gourd,

For the old man is awaiting for to carry you to freedom, if you follow the drinking gourd.

Questions

  1. Why does the song tell passengers on the Underground Railroad to follow the “drinking gourd”?
  2. Why would runaway slaves prefer an oral map to a written map?
  3. What does this song tell us about the experience of enslaved Africans?

__________________________________________

The People Could Fly – A Play

Based on a story from the book, The People Could Fly, American Black Folktales byVirginia Hamilton (New York: Random House, 1993)

Background: Toby and Sarah stand in the middle bending over to pick cotton. The overseer and master loom in the background, either as giant puppets or as large images on a screen (scanned from the book). A leather belt imitates the sound of a whip. The play illustrates the oppression of slavery and the desire of enslaved Africans for freedom. The play follows the original story very closely.

Cast: 12 Narrators, Sarah, Toby, Overseer, Master

Materials: Belt for cracking like a whip, baby doll for Sarah, two giant puppets (water jugs attached to a broom stick, tape on a wire hanger and provide a long sleeve shirt)

Narrator 1: They say the people could fly. Say that along ago in Africa, some of the people knew magic. And they would walk up on the air like climbing up on a gate. And they flew like blackbirds over the fields. Black, shiny wings flapping against the blue up there. Then, many of the people were captured for Slavery. The ones that could fly shed their wings. They couldn’t take their wings across the water on the slave ships. Too crowded, don’t you know. The folks were full of misery, then. Got sick with the up and down of the sea. So they forgot about flying when they could no longer breathe the sweet scent of Africa.

Narrator 2: Say the people who could fly kept their power, although they shed their wings. They kept their secret magic in the land of slavery. They looked the same as the other people from Africa who had been coming over, who had dark skin. Say you couldn’t tell anymore one who could fly from one who couldn’t. One such who could was an old man, call him Toby. And standing tall, yet afraid, was a young woman who once had wings. Call her Sarah. Now Sarah carried a babe tied to her back. She trembled to be so hard worked and scorned. The slaves labored in the fields from sunup to sundown. The owner of the slaves calling himself their Master. Say he was a hard lump of clay. A hard, glinty coal. A hard rock pile, wouldn’t be moved.

Narrator 3: His Overseer on horseback pointed out the slaves who were slowing down. So the one called Driver cracked his whip over the slow ones to make them move faster. That whip was a slice-open cut of pain. So they did move faster. Had to. Sarah hoed and chopped the row as the babe on her back slept. Say the child grew hungry. That babe started up bawling too loud. Sarah couldn’t stop to feed it. Couldn’t stop to soothe and quiet it down. She let it cry. She didn’t want to. She had no heart to croon to it.

Overseer:  “Keep that thing quiet.”

Narrator 4: The Overseer, he pointed his finger at the babe. The woman scrunched low. The Driver cracked his whip across the babe anyhow. The babe hollered like any hurt child, and the woman feel to the earth. The old man that was there, Toby, came and helped her to her feet.

Sarah: “I must go soon.”

Toby:  “Soon.”

Narrator 5:  Sarah couldn’t stand up straight any longer. She was too weak. The sun burned her face. The babe cried and cried.

Sarah: “Pity me, oh, pity me.” say it sounded like. Sarah was so sad and starving, she sat down in the row.

Overseer: “Get up, you black cow.” ”

Narrator 5: The Overseer pointed his hand, and the Driver’s whip snarled around Sarah’s legs. Her sack dress tore into rags. Her legs bled onto the earth. She couldn’t get up. Toby was there where there was no one to help her and the babe.

Sarah:  “Now, before it’s too late. Now, Father!”

Toby: “Yes, Daughter, the time is come. Go, as you know how to go!” (He raised his arms, holding them out to her. ) “Kumyali, kum buba tambe. Kumyali, kum buba tambe.”

Narrator 6: The young woman lifted one foot on the air. Then the other. She flew clumsily at first, with the child now held tightly in her arms. Then she felt the magic, the African mystery. Say she rose just as free as a bird. As light as a feather. The Overseer rode after her, hollering. Sarah flew over the fences. She flew over the woods. Tall trees could not snag her. Nor could the Overseer. She flew like an eagle now, until she was gone from sight. No one dared speak about it. Couldn’t believe it. But it was, because they that was there saw that it was.

Narrator 7: Say the next day was dead hot in the fields. A young man slave fell from the heat. The Driver come and whipped him. Toby come over and spoke words to the fallen one. The words of ancient Africa once heard are never remembered completely. The young man forgot them as soon as he heard them. They went way inside him. He got up and rolled over on the air. He rode it awhile. And he flew away. Another and another fell from the heat. Toby was there. He cried out to the fallen and reached his arms out to them.

Toby:Kum kunka yali, kum … tambe!

Narrator 8: And they too rose on the air. They rode the hot breezes. The ones flying were black and shining sticks, wheeling above the head of the Overseer. They crossed the rows, the fields, the fences, the streams, and were away.

Overseer: “Seize the old man! I heard him say the magic words. Seize him!”

Narrator 9: The one calling himself Master come running. The Driver got his whip ready to curl around old Toby and tie him up. The slaveowner took his hip gun from its place. He meant to kill old, black Toby. But Toby just laughed. Say he threw back his head.

Toby: “Hee, hee! Don’t you know who I am? Don’t you know some of us in this field? We are ones who fly!”

Narrator 10: And he sighed the ancient words that were a dark promise. He said them all around to the others in the field under the whip, “… buba yali … buba tambe …” There was a great outcrying. The bent backs straightened up. Old and young who were called slaves and could fly joined hands. Say like they would ring-sing. But they didn’t shuffle in a circle. They didn’t sing. They rose on the air. They flew in a flock that was black against the heavenly blue. Black crows or black shadows. It didn’t matter, they went so high. Way above the plantation, way over the slavery land. Say they flew away to Free-dom.

Narrator 11: And the old man, old Toby, flew behind them, taking care of them. He wasn’t crying. He wasn’t laughing. He was the seer. His gaze fell on the plantation where the slaves who could not fly waited.

Class:  “Take us with you! Take us with you!”

Narrator 11: Their looks spoke it but they were afraid to shout it. Toby couldn’t take them with him. Hadn’t the time to teach them to fly. They must wait for a chance to run.

Toby: “Goodie-bye!”

Narrator 12: The old man called Toby spoke to them, poor souls! And he was flying gone. So they say. The Overseer told it. The one called Master said it was a lie, a trick of the light. The Driver kept his mouth shut. The enslaved Africans who could not fly told about the people who could fly to their children. When they were free. When they sat close before the fire in the free land, they told it. They did so love firelight and Free-dom, and telling. They say that the children of the ones who could not fly told their children. And now, me, I have told it to you.

Abolitionists Who Fought to End Slavery

Abolitionists fought to end slavery in the United States. Some were Black and some were white. Many were religious. Some were former slaves who had escaped from bondage. Some believed the country could change peaceably. Some believed it would not change without bloodshed. Some believed abolitionists should obey the law. Some believed abolitionists should break the law. Some wanted slavery to end at once. Some thought it could end over time. They all believed slavery in the United States was wrong and must end.

A) This early photograph records an anti-slavery meeting in August 1850 in Cazenovia, New York. Abolitionists gathered to protest against a proposed new federal Fugitive Slave Act. The act would permit federal marshals to arrest and return to slavery freedom seekers who had escaped to the North. It would also punish anyone accused to helping a fugitive by providing them with food, a place to stay, or a job.

B) Cazenovia was a small town in upstate New York near Auburn, Syracuse, and Utica and just south of the Erie Canal. Participants in the convention included Frederick Douglass, Gerrit Smith, about 50 fugitive slaves, and more than 2,000 other people.

C) In the photograph, Frederick Douglass is the African American man seated by the table. Behind him with his arm raised is Gerrit Smith, a leading white abolitionist. On either side of Smith are Mary and Emily Edmonson. They escaped from slavery in 1848 but were recaptured and sent to New Orleans to be sold. The girls’ free-born father raised money to buy their freedom. The Edmonson’s attended college in the North and became active abolitionists.

D) Frederick Douglass, who was a former fugitive slave, presided over the convention. The convention closed with a “Letter to the American Slaves” that offered advice and help to slaves planning to rebel in the South and freedom-seekers who escaped to the North. In the letter they wrote:

1. “While such would dissuade [convince] you from all violence toward the slaveholder, let it not be supposed that they regard it as guiltier than those strifes [fights] which even good men are wont to justify. If the American revolutionists had excuse for shedding but one drop of blood, then have the American slaves excuse for making blood to flow.”

2. “The Liberty Party, the Vigilance Committee of New York, individuals, and companies [groups] of individuals in various parts of the country, are doing all they can, and it is much, to afford you a safe and a cheap passage from slavery to liberty.

3. Brethren [brothers], our last word to you is to bid you be of good cheer and not to despair of your deliverance. Do not abandon yourselves, as have many thousands of American slaves, to the crime of suicide. Live! Live to escape from slavery! Live to serve God! Live till He shall Himself call you into eternity! Be prayerful — be brave — be hopeful. “Lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh.” [will be soon]

The Abolitionist Project

Instructions: Each team will study one of the leading abolitionists who fought against slavery. Start with the biography sheet for your abolitionist and conduct additional research online.

For your final project each team will create:

  1. PowerPoint with between five and ten slides about your abolitionist’s life and achievements. Your team will present this in class.
  2. A tee-shirt, poster, or three-dimensional display featuring the life of your abolitionist.
  3. A poem, letter, skit, rap, or song about your abolitionist.

Frederick Douglass: An Abolitionist Who Helped End Slavery in the United States

Social Reformer, Abolitionist, Orator, Writer

1818 – Born enslaved in Maryland

1838 – Escaped from slavery

1841 – Met William Lloyd Garrison and became an active abolitionist

1845 – Published first edition of biography 1845 – Traveled to Europe to avoid re-enslavement

1847 – Returned to the United States and began publication of the abolitionist North Star in Rochester, NY

1848 – Attended the Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, NY

1859 – Met with John Brown to plan slave rebellion. Fled to Europe to escape prosecution after Harpers Ferry.

1863 – Convinced Lincoln to enlist Black troops in the Union Army

1872 – First African American nominated for Vice President of the United States

1889 – Appointed U.S. representative to Haiti

1895 – Died in Washington DC

Famous Speech: “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?”

Frederick Douglass was asked to address the citizens of Rochester at their Fourth of July celebration in 1852. This excerpt from his speech shows his great power as an orator and the strength of his opposition to slavery.

What to the American slave is your Fourth of July? I answer, a day that reveals to him more than all other days of the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass-fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are to him mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy-a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation of the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of these United States at this very hour. Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the Old World, travel through South America, search out every abuse and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the every-day practices of this nation, and you will say with me that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.

Henry Highland Garnet: An Abolitionist Who Helped End Slavery in the United States


Abolitionist, Minister, Educator and Orator

1815 – Born enslaved in Maryland

1824 – Escaped with his family to New Jersey

1825 – Family settled in New York where he attended the African Free School

1828 (?) – Slavecatchers force his family to flee Brooklyn. Garnet harbored in Smithtown, NY.

1830 – Suffered serious leg injury (later amputated)

1834 – Helped found an abolitionist society

1835 – Attended interracial Noyes Academy in Connecticut that was burned down by rioters

1839 – Graduated from Oneida Theological Institute and became a Presbyterian minister in Troy, NY

1843 – Called for slave rebellion in speech at the National Negro Convention

1849 – Called free Blacks to emigrate out of the U.S.

1852 – Moved to Jamaica as a Christian Missionary

1863 – Enlisted Blacks in the Union Army. Escaped from Draft Riots.

1865 – 1st African American to preach in Capital building

1882 – Died Monrovia, Liberia

Famous Speech: “An Address to the Slaves of the United States”

From August 21-24, 1843, a National Negro Convention was held in Buffalo, New York. Delegates included Frederick Douglass. Henry Highland Garnet delivered a very militant speech calling on enslaved Africans to revolt.

It is in your power so to torment the God-cursed slaveholders that they will be glad to let you go free. If the scale was turned, and black men were the masters and white men the slaves, every destructive agent and element would be employed to lay the oppressor low. Danger and death would hang over their heads day and night. Yes, the tyrants would meet with plagues more terrible than those of Pharaoh. But you are a patient people. You act as though, you were made for the special use of these devils. You act as though your daughters were born to pamper the lusts of your masters and overseers.

Let your motto be resistance! Resistance! RESISTANCE! No oppressed people have ever secured their liberty without resistance. What kind of resistance you had better make, you must decide by the circumstances that surround you, and according to the suggestion of expediency. Brethren, adieu! Trust in the living God. Labor for the peace of the human race, and remember that you are FOUR MILLIONS.

Gerrit Smith: An Abolitionist Who Helped End Slavery in the United States


Reformer, Abolitionist, Politician, Philanthropist

1797 – Born in Utica, NY

1818 – Graduated from Hamilton College

1819 – Managed family land-holdings in upstate NY

1828 – Became active in temperance movement

1835 – Became active as an abolitionist

1840 – Helped found anti-slavery Liberty Party

1846 – Gave land in the Adirondacks to free Blacks as homesteads

1848- His home became UGRR station

1848 – Liberty Party Candidate for President

1850s – Financially supported Frederick Douglass’ newspapers

1852 – Elected to Congress

1859 – Funded John Brown raid on Harpers Ferry

1865 – Advocated for mild treatment of the South after the Civil War

1874 – Died in New York City

Famous Speech: Statement on Slavery in Congress, April 6, 1854

Slavery is the baldest and biggest lie on earth. In reducing man to chattel, it denies, that God is God – for, in His image, made He man – the black man and the red man, as well as the white man. Distorted as our minds by prejudice, and shrivelled as are our souls by the spirit of caste, this essential equality of the varieties of the human family may not be apparent to us all.

The Constitution, the only law of the territories, is not in favor of slavery, and that slavery cannot be set up under it . . . I deny that there can be Constitutional slavery in any of the States of the American Union – future States, or present States – new or old. I hold, that the Constitution, not only authorizes no slavery, but permits no slavery; not only creates no slavery in any part of the land, but abolishes slavery in every part o the land. In other words, I hold, that there is no law for American slavery.

John Brown: An Abolitionist Who Helped End Slavery in the United States

John Brown

1800 – Born in Torrington, Connecticut

1837 – Brown commits his life to fighting to end slavery.

1849 – John Brown and his family moved to the Black community of North Elba in the Adirondack region of New York.

1855 – Brown and five of his sons organize a band of anti-slavery guerilla fighters in the Kansas territory.

1859 – John Brown and 21 other men attacked the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry. Brown was wounded, captured and convicted of treason. He was hanged on December 2, 1859.

John Brown is one of the most controversial [debated] figures in United States history. He was a conductor on the Underground Railroad and an anti-slavery guerilla fighter in Kansas. In 1859, Brown led an armed attack on a federal armory at Harpers Ferry, Virginia. His goal was to start a slave rebellion in the United States. Brown and his followers were defeated, tried and executed. While the rebellion failed, it led to the Civil War and the end of slavery in the United States.

Famous Speech:  John Brown to the Virginia Court on November 2, 1859

In the first place, I deny everything but what I have all along admitted, — the design on my part to free slaves . . . Had I so interfered in behalf of the rich, the powerful, the intelligent, the so-called great, or in behalf of any of their friends — either father, mother, sister, wife, or children, or any of that class — and suffered and sacrificed what I have in this interference, it would have been all right; and every man in this court would have deemed it an act worthy of reward rather than punishment.

The court acknowledges, as I suppose, the validity of the law of God . . . I believe that to have interfered as I have done — as I have always freely admitted I have done — in behalf of His despised poor, was not wrong, but right. Now if it is deemed necessary that I should forfeit my life for the furtherance of the ends of justice, and mingle [mix]  my blood further with the blood of my children and with the blood of millions in this slave country whose rights are disregarded by wicked, cruel, and unjust enactments. — I submit; so let it be done!

Harriet Tubman: An Abolitionist Who Helped End Slavery in the United States

Abolitionist, Political Activist, Nurse, Spy

1822 – Born enslaved in Maryland. Birth name Araminta “Minty” Ross

1834 (?) – Suffered severe head injury when she helped another slave who was being beaten

1849 – Escaped enslavement

1850s – Conductor on the UGRR

1858 – Helped John Brown plot Harpers Ferry

1859 – Establishes farm Auburn, NY

1861 – Served as a cook and nurse for Union Army

1863 – Became spy for the Union Army

1868 – Secured Civil War pension

1896 – Established an old age home

1913 – Died in Auburn, NY

Excerpt from her Biography by Sarah Bradford

Master Lincoln, he’s a great man, and I am a poor negro [African American]; but the negro can tell master Lincoln how to save the money and the young men. He can do it by setting the negro free. Suppose that was an awful big snake down there, on the floor. He bite you. Folks all scared, because you die. You send for a doctor to cut the bite; but the snake, he rolled up there, and while the doctor doing it, he bite you again. The doctor dug out that bite; but while the doctor doing it, the snake, he spring up and bite you again; so he keep doing it, till you kill him. That’s what master Lincoln ought to know.

Frederick Douglass Praises Harriet Tubman

The difference between us is very marked. Most that I have done and suffered in the service of our cause has been in public, and I have received much encouragement at every step of the way. You, on the other hand, have labored in a private way. I have wrought in the day—you in the night. … The midnight sky and the silent stars have been the witnesses of your devotion to freedom and of your heroism. Excepting John Brown—of sacred memory—I know of no one who has willingly encountered more perils and hardships to serve our enslaved people than you have.

Sojourner Truth: An Abolitionist Who Helped End Slavery in the United States

Abolitionist and Women’s Rights Activist

1797 – Born enslaved in Ulster County, NY. Her birth name was Isabella (Belle) Baumfree. She spoke Dutch before she spoke English.

1806 – Isabella was sold for the first time at age 9.

1826 – She escaped from slavery with her infant daughter.

1827 – Legally freed by New York Emancipation Act.

1828 – Sued in court to free her son who had be sold illegally to an owner in Alabama.

1843 – Isabella converted to Methodism, changed her name to Sojourner Truth, and became a travelling preacher and abolitionist.

1850 – William Lloyd Garrison published her memoir.

1851 – Sojourner Truth delivered her “Ain’t I a Woman” speech at an Ohio Women’s Rights Convention.

1850s – Spoke at many anti-slavery and women’s rights meetings

1860s – Recruited Black soldiers for the Union Army.

1870s – Campaigned for equal rights for former slaves.

1883 – Died in Battle Creek, Michigan

Famous Speech: “Ain’t I a Woman” (edited)

In May 1851, Sojourner Truth attended the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio. She delivered a speech where she demanded full and equal human rights for women and enslaved Africans. The text of the speech was written down and later published by Frances Gage, who organized the convention. In the published version of the speech Sojourner Truth referred to herself using a word that is not acceptable to use. This is an edited version of the speech.

Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter.  I think that between the Negroes [Blacks] of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon.  But what’s all this here talking about?

Then they talk about this thing in the head; what do they call it? [Intellect, someone whispers.]  That’s it, honey. What’s that got to do with women’s rights or Negro’s rights? If my cup won’t hold but a pint and yours holds a quart, wouldn’t you be mean not to let me have my little half-measure full?

Then that little man in black there, he says women can’t have as much rights as men, because Christ wasn’t a woman!  Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.

If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together . . . ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again!  And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.

David Ruggles: An Abolitionist Who Helped End Slavery in the United States

David Ruggles

1810 – Born in Lyme, Connecticut to free black parents

1815 – Attended Sabbath School for poor children in Norwich, Connecticut.

1826 – Moved to New York City and operated a grocery store.

1830 – Opened the first African-American bookstore.

1835 – Organized the New York Vigilance Committee.

1835 – A white anti-abolitionist mob assaulted Ruggles and burned his bookstore.

1838- Helped Frederick Douglass during his escape from slavery.

1842 – Became very ill and almost completely blind

1849 – Died in Northampton, Massachusetts

A Letter from David Ruggles

David Ruggles wrote this letter to the editor of a New York newspaper, Zion’s Watchman, It was reprinted in The Liberator by William Lloyd Garrison in October 1837. The New York Vigilance Committee helped enslaved Africans to escape and free Blacks arrested and accused of being runaway slaves.

I suppose, not one in a thousand of your readers can be aware of the extent to which slavery prevails even in the so-called free state of New York. Within the last four weeks, I have seen not less than eleven different persons who have recently been brought from the south, and who are now held as slaves by their masters in this state; as you know the laws of this state allow any slaveholder to do this, nine months at a time; so that when the slave has been here nine months, the master has only to take him out of the state, and then return with him immediately, and have him registered again, and so he may hold on to the slave as long as he lives. Some of the slaves whom I have recently seen are employed by their masters, some are loaned, and others hired out; and each of the holders of these slaves whom I have seen are professors of religion!!

Jermain Loguen: An Abolitionist Who Helped End Slavery in the United States

Abolitionist, UGRR Station Master, Bishop

1814 – Born enslaved in Tennessee. His biological father owned Jermain and his mother.

1834 – Escaped to Canada on the UGRR

1837 – Studied at the Oneida Institute

1840s – An AME Zion minister, he established schools for Black children in Syracuse and Utica. His home in Syracuse was UGRR station.

1850 – Speech denounced Fugitive Slave Law

1851 – Breaks the Fugitive Slave Law helping a freedom seeker escape from prison to Canada

1859 – Published his autobiography

1868 – Appointed Bishop in the AME Zion Church

1872 – Died in Syracuse, NY

Famous Speech: Reverend Jermain Loguen Denounces the Fugitive Slave Law (1850)

I was a slave; I knew the dangers I was exposed to. I had made up my mind as to the course I was to take. On that score I needed no counsel, nor did the colored citizens generally. They had taken their stand – they would not be taken back to slavery. If to shoot down their assailants should forfeit their lives, such result was the least of the evil. They will have their liberties or die in their defense.

I don’t respect this law – I don’t fear it – I won’t obey it! It outlaws me, and I outlaw it, and the men who attempt to enforce it on me. I place the governmental officials on the ground that they place me. I will not live a slave, and if force is employed to re-enslave me, I shall make preparations to meet the crisis as becomes a man. If you will stand by me- and believe you will do it, for your freedom and honor are involved as well as mine- it requires no microscope to see that- I say if you will stand with us in resistance to this measure, you will be the saviours (sic) of your country. Your decision tonight in favor of resistance will give vent to the spirit of liberty, and will break the bands of party, and shout for joy all over the North. Your example only is needed to be the type of public action in Auburn, and Rochester, and Utica, and Buffalo, and all the West, and eventually in the Atlantic cities. Heaven knows that this act of noble daring will break out somewhere- and may God grant that Syracuse be the honored spot, whence it shall send an earthquake voice through the land!

William Lloyd Garrison: An Abolitionist Who Helped End Slavery in the United States

Abolitionist, Journalist, Women’s Rights

1805 – Born in Massachusetts

1828 – Active in Temperance campaigns

1831 – Started publication of the anti-slavery newspaper The Liberator

1832- Organized the New England Anti-Slavery Society

1835 – Nearly lynched after speaking at an anti-slavery rally in Boston.

1840 – Demanded that women be allowed to participate in all abolitionist activities.

1841 – Starts working with Frederick Douglass after meeting at an anti-slavery rally.

1850 – Garrison and Douglass disagree whether slavery could be defeated through electoral means.

1854 – Garrison burned a copy of the Constitution calling it a pro-slavery document.

1870s – Garrison campaigns for full and equal rights for Blacks and women.

1879 – Died in New York City

Famous Essay: 1st Editorial in The Liberator

William Lloyd Garrison was a radical abolitionist who demanded an immediate end to slavery. This excerpt is from the initial editorial in The Liberator. It was published January 1, 1831.

I determined, at every hazard, to lift up the standard of emancipation in the eyes of the nation . . . That standard is now unfurled; and long may it float . . . till every chain be broken, and every bondman set free! Let southern oppressors tremble . . . let all the enemies of the persecuted blacks tremble. 

Assenting to the “self-evident truth” maintained in the American Declaration of Independence, “that all men are created equal, and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights — among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” I shall strenuously contend for the immediate enfranchisement of our slave population.

I am aware that many object to the severity of my language; but is there not cause for severity? I will be as harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject, I do not wish to think, or speak, or write, with moderation. No! No! Tell a man whose house is on fire to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hands of the ravisher; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen; — but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present. I am in earnest — I will not equivocate — I will not excuse — I will not retreat a single inch — and I will be heard.

Angelina Grimké Weld: An Abolitionist Who Helped End Slavery in the United States        

Abolitionist, Feminist, Educator

1805 – Born in Charleston, South Carolina. Her parents were major slaveholders.

1826 – Became a Sunday school teacher in the Presbyterian church..

1829 – Spoke against slavery at a church service and she was expelled from membership..

1835 – Joined the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society.

1836 – A letter published in The Liberator made her a well-known abolitionist.

1837 – Helped organize the Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women.

1838 – In Boston, she became the 1st woman in the United States to speak before a state legislature. Threatened by a mob when she spoke at a Philadelphia anti-slavery rally.

1838 – Married abolitionist Theodore Weld and together they operated schools in New Jersey

1879 – Died at Hyde Park, Massachusetts

“Appeal to the Christian Women of the South”

Angelina Grimké was a religious Christian. Her religious beliefs convinced her to become an abolitionist. In her 1836 letter published in The Liberator, she wrote that abolition was a “cause worth dying for.” In her writing and speeches she appealed to other Christians to join the anti-slavery campaign. In 1837, she published a pamphlet that urged Southern white women, in the name of their Christian beliefs, to help end slavery.

I appeal to you, my friends, as mothers; Are you willing to enslave your children? You start back with horror and indignation at such a question. But why, if slavery is no wrong to those upon whom it is imposed? Why, if as has often been said, slaves are happier than their masters, free from the cares and perplexities of providing for themselves and their families? Why not place your children in the way of being supported without your having the trouble to provide for them, or they for themselves? Do you not perceive that as soon as this golden rule of action is applied to yourselves that you involuntarily shrink from the test; as soon as your actions are weighed in this balance of the sanctuary that you are found wanting? Try yourselves by another of the Divine precepts, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Can we love a man as we love ourselves if we do, and continue to do unto him, what we would not wish any one to do to us?