Media: [photo] James Hopkinson’s Plantation, Group going to field. 1862-3

Download 17.75 Kb.
Size17.75 Kb.
Visualizing Emancipation
Activity Worksheets: Activity #1

[photo] James Hopkinson’s Plantation, Group going to field. 1862-3.

Henry P. Moore

Grade Level: 9-12
Time Required: 2-3 class periods
Subject Areas:

History and Social Studies > Themes > Civil Rights

History and Social Studies > People > African American

History and Social Studies > U.S. > Civil War and Reconstruction


Critical analysis

Critical thinking


Evaluating arguments

Gathering, classifying and interpreting written, oral, and visual information

Geographic literacy

Historical analysis


Making inferences and drawing conclusions

Online research

Representing ideas and information orally, graphically, and in writing

Using primary sources

“…are, and henceforth shall be free”
Slavery in the United States South began to crumble as soon as the Civil War began but lasted in many places until after the war ended. In May 1861, before the first major battle, enslaved men rowed across the James River to the U.S. controlled Fort Monroe. These men and many others who entered lines after them were called “contraband of war” and were protected from their former masters’ claims of ownership. For these men, freedom began with their own incentive, was made possible by their proximity to U.S. soldiers, and was confirmed through policies set by military authorities, Congress, and the president. Without any of these factors these men would not have escaped slavery when they did.
The end of slavery in the U.S. Civil War came not simply through presidential or legislative decree but through the actions of enslaved people and soldiers in the field as well. These interactions and policies developed unevenly over time and space. By examining the maps in Visualizing Emancipation and the primary sources found there, students will uncover the factors that enabled men and women to escape slavery and the geographic patterns that marked emancipation.

Guiding Questions:
How did emancipation come to the American South? What combination of factors enabled enslaved men and women to become free?

Learning Objectives:
After completing this unit, students will be able to:

  • Describe the factors that enabled enslaved people to escape slavery during the American Civil War.

  • Identify some of the places where enslaved men, women, and children were likely to become free early in the war and places where they were likely to have remained enslaved.

  • Explain what the Emancipation Proclamation did—and did not do—to set enslaved people free during the American Civil War.

The end of slavery did not come about in an instant, with the Emancipation Proclamation. It began before shooting started and ended long after the last Confederate armies surrendered. It followed, in W.E.B. DuBois' words, as a "dark human cloud" at the rear of the Union's swift-marching columns. It could be found in the escape of fugitives, in Union and Confederate armies' conscription of enslaved men to work on fortifications, and in escaped slaves' offers to guide U.S. troops through southern wilds.
Opportunities for freedom could at times seem randomly distributed, as men and women participated in mass exodus on some plantations while others nearby were left enslaved. Yet emancipation proceeded in patterns, not as a chaotic, secular rapture, in which men and women became free without discernible sequence, rationale, or order. Enslaved people, legislators, and armies, in fits and starts, imprinted the end of slavery on the American South.
The legal extension of freedom proceeded in an orderly, if uneven, manner: those enslaved by Confederates and used against the U.S. army were given legal recourse in the First and Second Confiscation Acts. Slavery was abolished in the territories and in Washington, DC before the war’s second summer, setting the stage for more complete rollbacks of slaveholders’ rights under the Emancipation Proclamation. Slavery finally failed only with adoption of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, in December 1865.
The wartime erosion of legal slavery was far different from the escape of slaves. Enslaved men and women during this period were more likely to find freedom in some places than others. Freedom and Union arms pushed into the Confederacy by water and rail. Enslaved men and women living along the Atlantic seaboard-the coast and Sea Islands of South Carolina, within a day's walk of the North Carolina coast, and along Virginia's Chesapeake Bay-had the greatest and earliest opportunities to find freedom. Enslaved men and women living along the South's major rivers had a greater chance, too, especially those on the plantations of the Mississippi delta, along the Tennessee River in northern Alabama, and along the waterways of Virginia Tidewater.
This lesson allows students to explore the relationship between the legal end of slavery and the activities of slaves, citizens, and soldiers during the Civil War. It encourages them to see diversity in the experience of enslaved people living in different places in the South, to make sense of the complicated end of slavery.

Preparation Instructions:

  • Review the lesson plan, including the background information and lesson activities.

  • Familiarize yourself with how to control the map, legend, filters, and timeline in “Visualizing Emancipation.”

  • This lesson assumes some familiarity with the social and military history of the Civil War. Read the introduction for “Visualizing Emancipation.” You may want to supplement this reading with other sources.

  • Choose sites to assign your students as part of Activity 2. You may want to assign a wide geographic range of sites, including places along the Mississippi River, along the Atlantic seaboard, and in the upper South. Or, spend class time to allow your students to explore the map and choose their own regions.

Lesson Activities:

Activity 1: Responses to the Emancipation Proclamation: January 1863.

It is sometimes said that the Emancipation Proclamation did little immediately to free any slaves. After all, the Proclamation purposefully excluded places already under Union control from its provisions, only freeing them in places the Union army did not already occupy. Yet the Proclamation made an immediate difference in the actions of enslaved men and women, Union troops, and Confederates. What actually happened in the South in the month after the Proclamation went into effect? Use “Visualizing Emancipation,” to find out.

  1. Select January 1, 1863 using the timeline at the bottom of the screen, showing them the boundaries of legal slavery. Also have them read the text of the Emancipation Proclamation,

  1. Talk with students about the boundaries of slavery outlined in this document and laid out in the map. Why were some spaces excluded?

  1. Have students each investigate one or two “emancipation events” documented in Visualizing Emancipation that occurred in the month following the proclamation.

  1. What were Union soldiers writing about formerly enslaved people in the immediate aftermath of the proclamation? Did they have concerns?

  1. Did the proclamation seem to affect the way that enslaved people, Union soldiers, or Confederates were acting? Did those writing the documents believe that the Proclamation mattered for their immediate circumstances?

  1. Discuss as a class the ways that different groups reacted to the proclamation taking effect in January 1863.

  1. Based on your discussions of the documents you found, how did enslaved people become free? What actors were involved in the end of slavery, and what did they do?

Activity 2: Local emancipation.

African Americans were able to become free in some places quite early in the war, in other places only until after the war was over. Why was this the case? And how different were black people’s experiences in different places?

  1. Assign students a city or small region to research. Allow some class time for students to explore their place and its surrounding areas.

  1. What kinds of events were documented there, if any, early in the war? How do these documented events change over the course of the war?

  1. Discuss as a class the regional differences in the experience of formerly enslaved people as those are reflected in your students’ research.

  1. What was the role of Union troops in each district? When did they arrive? Did they stay or simply pass through?

  1. Do these regions have rivers or rails running through them? Do the events cluster around these transportation networks?

Extending the Lesson:

  • American Memory:


    • Emancipation Proclamation:

  • Freedmen and Southern Society Project

  • After Slavery,

  • HarpWeek: The End of Slavery: The Creation of the 13th Amendment,

  • Valley of the Shadow,

  • Making of America, Official Records of the War of the Rebellion,

  • DocSouth, Slave Narratives,

Directory: emancipation
emancipation -> Emancipation Timeline: 1772-1888
emancipation -> Abraham Lincoln on Slavery & Emancipation: Principles and Policies Lincoln’s First Public Statement on Slavery, March 3, 1837
emancipation -> Ousd 8th Grade U. S. History Writing Assessment- spring, 2012 Introduction On this assessment you will be asked to write a response to the following historical question
emancipation -> Emancipation proclamation
emancipation -> Black Soldiers in the Civil War
emancipation -> Read the following paragraphs about the events that led up to, and the effects of the Emancipation Proclamation and fill out the cause and effect chart
emancipation -> Read the following paragraphs about the events that led up to, and the effects of the Emancipation Proclamation and fill out the cause and effect chart
emancipation -> Affidavit of clarification of citizenship for security clearance
emancipation -> The Emancipation Edict of 1861 The condition of the Russian peasant

Download 17.75 Kb.

Share with your friends:

The database is protected by copyright © 2023
send message

    Main page