Archive for February, 2009

Creating a slave Narrative

Slave Narrative Click Here to Listen to a screencast of this blog post

What is a a Narrative?

A Narrative is story told by a person in the first person (“I am a slave”, as opposed to “He was a slave”)

What is a first hand account?

A first hand account is a story by someone who actually witnessed an event. We call it a first hand account when some one “was there”.
For example 50 years from now someway may want to interview you about what it was like when America elected it’s first African American President. You were there, you will remember, you are a witness to this history and you can give an accurate account about what it was really like from your perspective.

The Assignment

Our job is to pretend that we were slaves. That we lived and witnessed slavery in the United States. The U.S. government is trying to preserve the voices of slaves who are still alive. To get their “first hand accounts” written down before they all die. They have sent a man to interview you.
The time: it is 50 years after slavery ended 1915, write an account and tell what it was like by answering some or all of the following questions:

  • where did you live, State,?
  • did you live in a slave cabin or in the Masters house?
  • what job did you do, tell how hard it was and what you did?
  • what was the food like?
  • how did you feel?
  • were you ever beaten?
  • were you always afraid?
  • were you angry?
  • did you try to run away?
  • Did you escape on the Underground railroad?
  • What was that like?
  • What do you think of Abraham Lincoln, Harriet Tubman etc….
  • How did you feel when you heard that all slaves were now free
  • Use details, talk about everyday details that create a picture of slavery.

Get into character in your writing: How old are you now? What do you do now? How important is freedom to you and your family?

Use your imagination to create your “first hand account” of what it was like to be a slave.

My Life and Escape From Slavery! 1870

Slaves on a Plantation Richmond, Virginia

Slaves on a Plantation Richmond, Virginia

Use the following Link to retell the story of Slavery Click here to research about live as a slave and escape on the Underground Railroad. After you finish researching tell what it was like to be a slave.

Tell the Story Imagine the year is 1870. You were once a slave who escaped on the Underground Railroad. You have been asked to share the story of your courageous journey and to describe the brave people who helped you along the way. Answer any or all of the questions below. To help you answer these questions, think about what you’ve learned in this online activity, from the background slideshows to the story of the slave who escaped from Kentucky. If you want to learn even more, read the “Slave Stories.” When you’re done, you can print out your story to share a hard copy with friends and family. Question 1 Tell me about your life as a slave. Where did you live? What kinds of work did you do? What were some of the hardest things about your life?

Question 2 Tell me about your escape from the South. Why did you decide to flee? How did you travel? How did you find your way? How did you survive? How did you feel?

Question 3 Tell me about the people you encountered on the Underground Railroad. What kinds of people did you come across? What are some of the different ways that they helped you? How did the abolitionists influence the Underground Railroad?

Question 4 Tell me about when what happened after you reached freedom. Where did you settle? Why did you choose that place? What kind of work did you do? What were some of the challenges you faced? How did you feel starting your new life?

Question 5 Tell me about the time around the Civil War. How did you feel when the southern states seceded? Did you or anyone you know fight in the war? Why? Explain your feelings about Abraham Lincoln. How did you feel when the war was over and slavery was abolished?

Harriet Tubman

Today we are beginning our Start to finish book on Harriet Tubman

Click on the picture of Harriet to hear a jingcast of this post

Harriet Tubman (1820-1913, March 10th)

Harriet Tubman (1820-1913, March 10th)

Harriet Tubman is perhaps the most well-known of all the Underground Railroad’s “conductors.” During a ten-year span she made 19 trips into the South underground_railroadand escorted over 300 slaves to freedom. And, as she once proudly pointed out to frederick_douglasFrederick Douglass, in all of her journeys she “never lost a single passenger.”

Tubman was born a slave in plaque11947889Maryland’s Dorchester County around 1820. At age five or six, she began to work as a house servant. Seven years later she was sent to work in the fields.

While she was still in her early teens, she suffered an injury that would follow her for the rest of her life. Always ready to stand up for someone else, Tubman blocked a doorway to protect another field hand from an angry overseer. The overseer picked up and threw a two-pound weight at the field hand. It fell short, striking Tubman on the head. She never fully recovered from the blow, which subjected her to spells in which she would fall into a deep sleep.

Around 1844 she married a free black named John Tubman and took his last name. (She was born Araminta Ross; she later changed her first name to Harriet, after her mother.) In 1849, in fear that she, along with the other slaves on the plantation, was to be sold, Tubman resolved to run away.

Underground Railroad safe house- Maryland

Underground Railroad safe house- Maryland

House on the Underground Railroad- Maryland

She set out one night on foot. With some assistance from a friendly white woman, Tubman was on her way.

North Star or Pole star led runaways slaves to freedom in the north.

North Star or Pole star led runaways slaves to freedom in the north.

She followed the North Star by night, making her way to

Harriet went from Maryland to Pennsylvania

Harriet went from Maryland to Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania and soon after to Philadelphia, where she found work and saved her money.

The following year she returned to Maryland and escorted her sister and her sister’s two children to freedom.

Harriet Tubman with members of her family she helped escape

Harriet Tubman with members of her family she helped escape

She made the dangerous trip back to the South soon after to rescue her brother and two other men. On her third return, she went after her husband, only to find he had taken another wife. Undeterred, she found other slaves seeking freedom and escorted them to the North.

Tubman returned to the South again and again. She devised clever techniques that helped make her “forays” successful, including

Harriet often used Master's Horse and buggy to bring slaves to freedom

Harriet often used Master's Horse and buggy to bring slaves to freedom

using the master’s horse and buggy for the first leg of the journey; leaving on a Saturday night, since runaway notices

A runaway slave reward notice

A runaway slave reward notice

couldn’t be placed in newspapers until Monday morning; turning about and heading south if she encountered possible slave hunters; and carrying a drug to use on a baby if its crying might put the fugitives in danger. Tubman even carried a gun which she used to threaten the fugitives if they became too tired or decided to turn back, telling them, “You’ll be free or die.”

By 1856, Tubman’s capture would have brought a $40,000 reward from the South. On one occasion, she overheard some men reading her wanted poster, which stated that she was illiterate. She promptly pulled out a book and feigned reading it. The ploy was enough to fool the men.

Tubman had made the perilous trip to slave country 19 times by 1860, including one especially challenging journey in which she rescued her 70-year-old parents.

Harriet Tubman was called Moses  because she led her people to Freedom

Harriet Tubman was called Moses because she led her people to Freedom

Of the famed heroine, who became known as “Moses,” Frederick Douglass said, “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 [Harriet Tubman].”
And John Brown, who conferred with “General Tubman” about his plans to raid Harpers Ferry, once said that she was “one of the bravest persons on this continent.”

Becoming friends with the leading abolitionists of the day, Tubman took part in antislavery meetings. On the way to such a meeting in Boston in 1860, in an incident in Troy, New York, she helped a fugitive slave who had been captured.

During the Civil War Harriet Tubman worked for the Union as a cook, a nurse, and even a spy. After the war she settled in Auburn, New York, where she would spend the rest of her long life. She died in 1913.

Abraham Lincoln

Click on Lincoln’s log-cabin to listen to a Jingcast of this post

Abraham Lincoln was born on charleston-illinois-abraham-lincoln-log-cabin-lincolniana-chicago-world-fair-expositionFebruary 12, 1809 in a one-room log cabin in Kentucky. His parents were both illiterate farmers and Abraham Lincoln was largely self-taught. PG1000He devoured books and studied American history, English history, and even Shakespeare. As a young man, he worked on the family’s farmlands and as a shopkeeper. young-lincoln-1There are many stories about Lincoln’s honesty—he once walked for miles just to give a woman six cents that he had overcharged her. Thus, he received the nickname “Honest Abe.”

At 22 years old, Lincoln left his family and set out to Illinois. There he taught himself about the law and was admitted to the Illinois Bar Association. 3-14He worked as a successful lawyer for several years and was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives. As a Representative, Lincoln spoke out against the war with Mexico and protested slavery.

Slavery the main focus of his presidency

Slavery the main focus of his presidency

Many historians argue about Lincoln’s stance on slavery. Some say that his personal views and the views he revealed to the larger public were at odds. As a politician, Lincoln addressed the issue of slavery delicately. Still, his opinions were known and worried southern states that supported slavery.

Lincoln debating Stephen Douglas. He won the presidency

Lincoln debating Stephen Douglas. He won the presidency

In 1860, Lincoln ran for president and won the election, becoming the first Republican president of the United States.

Lincoln's Inauguration

Lincoln's Inauguration

Before his inauguration, seven southern states declared their secession from the United States, forming the Confederate States of America.

13  states left the union (pictured in red)

13 states left the union (pictured in red)

Other southern states remained with the Union but showed their support for the Confederacy. Lincoln refused to recognize the Confederacy and promised the country that it would not be divided. Thus, the Civil War began.

In 1862, Congress passed the Second Confiscation Act, which freed slaves in territories not under Union control.

Emancipation Proclaimation freed the slaves.

Emancipation Proclaimation freed the slaves.

Lincoln enacted this law with his Emancipation Proclamation. Slaves were freed in the rebellious states and the Confederacy was weakened. However, slaves were not freed in the border states, whose support and loyalty Lincoln needed. Even though the Emancipation Proclamation did not free all slaves, it brought the problem of slavery to the forefront. Eventually, the 13th Amendment abolished slavery and all people were free.

Shortly after the end of the Civil War, President Lincoln went to the

Ford Theatre Where Lincoln was killed.

Ford Theatre Where Lincoln was killed.

Ford Theater to watch a play.

Theatre box(balcony) Lincoln sat in at the Ford Theatre

Theatre box(balcony) Lincoln sat in at the Ford Theatre

John Wilkes Booth, a Confederate spy, shot Lincoln in the head and fatally wounded him. Lincoln died in a house across the street from the theater.Lincoln John Wilkes Booth, the man who shot President Lincoln Booth escaped but the army tracked him down and shot him.

Timeline of his life

Classes timeline of Lincoln’s Life

Abe Lincoln From


Staten Island Chuck

Mayor Bloomberg visited Staten Ilsand Chuck  today below is a clip and article from the SI Advacne.pastedgraphic1

Click on the picture above to watch Mayor Bloomberg and Staten Island Chuck!

And the verdict is… an early spring!

Staten Island Chuck waddled out of his den this morning at the Staten Island Zoo and didn’t see his shadow, meaning warm weather is right around the corner. (Read the full story here.) The groundhog thrust himself into the spotlight with his bold prediction: Just about every other furry prognosticator in the nation called for more winter this morning. “Absolutely no shadow,” Mayor Bloomberg said at the Staten Island Zoo today, holding up a banner celebrating spring and warning that Chuck had better get it right because the City Council decides how much funding the Zoo will get. “If Chuck embarrasses us, this is going to be a very long winter for the Staten Island Zoo.”